Overcoming A Tumultuous Journey

Area Foundation 2020 Digital Impact Report Looks at success through adversity

AN ANTONIO — Despite facing the challenge of a lifetime in the coronavirus pandemic, the San Antonio Area Foundation rose to the occasion as a community leader in helping raise and distribute nearly $72 million in grants and student scholarships in 2020.

The Area Foundation’s 2020 Digital Impact Report arrives as a good resource for reflection detailing the total numbers behind the organization’s role as San Antonio’s philanthropic anchor – as well as the stories behind the numbers, since at the end of the day the beneficiaries are hundreds of our community’s nonprofits, which in turn directly serve the neediest of our families and neighbors.

“In 2020, there was simply no way we could’ve have mobilized the financial resources and human capital to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and social justice without the collaboration of a multitude of philanthropic partners,” said Marjie French, CEO of the Area Foundation. “The generous spirit of the San Antonio community was on display during these tumultuous times and we are humbled and grateful to serve as a trusted advisor, supporter and collaborative partner in philanthropy.”

A distinct but equally impactful digital report examining in detail the Area Foundation’s work during the height of the pandemic will be separately released – featuring the rise and growth of the COVID-19 Response Fund, which provided more than $13 million in emergency grants to more than 200 local nonprofits.

“The San Antonio Area Foundation invites the community to use both our Digital Impact and Covid-19 Reports as a resource and as a positive reminder that through collaboration we can find hope and success in the face of adversity,” said Angel Zuniga Martinez, Vice President of Communications and Public Affairs at the Area Foundation.

The 2020 Impact Report showcases the impact of nearly $72 million in regular grantmaking the Area Foundation awarded for the year — $66 million to 2,342 nonprofits, $5 million in scholarships to dozens of students and $1 million in hardship grants. 

Additionally, our Learning & Development Department hustled to offer a robust slate of virtual professional development opportunities – in fact, for months fully free of charge – to the tune of 77 programs benefiting 2,016 participants.

None of these successes would’ve been possible without the Area Foundation’s growing volume of key agency partnerships. The 2020 Impact Report highlights many of these collaborations across our four unique grantmaking focus areas: Youth Success, Cultural Vibrancy, Livable and Resilient Communities and Successful Aging.

While the pandemic dominated the headlines in 2020, our country’s racial reckoning and struggle for social justice also came to a head following the horrible and tragic murder of George Floyd. As discussed in depth in our Impact Report, the Area Foundation, under the guidance and direction of then Chairman of the Board of Directors, Theodore “Theo” Guidry II, took swift and determined action.

Beyond an official agency statement and the formation of an internal racial equity committee, the Area Foundation worked primarily through its community outreach fund, the San Antonio Area African American Community Fund, to become part of the citywide conversation on equity and justice. Yet, as Guidry noted, much work remains to be done on this front.

“We simply cannot move forward without acknowledging the pain and suffering inflicted on the Black community – indeed, many communities of color – without doing the challenging work to change the systems that have ushered such palpable inequities,” said Guidry. “There is no better time than now to ask ourselves what we cand do to be part of the solution and how we can take ownership of our role as a community leader to address institutional racism and advance equity.”

From emergency community response to help dozens of nonprofits stay afloat to maintaining a steadfast flow of grants and scholarships in an economic down year, the San Antonio Area Foundation remained true to its mission while showing flexibility and a leadership role on eradicating racism and ensuring an equal community for all of us here in San Antonio.