Dear Friends and Colleagues,

As you are well aware there is much happening across the globe as communities prepare for the impact of the coronavirus. San Antonio is no exception as the Mayor declared a local public health emergency. As a result, Patricia Mejia and the Community Engagement and Impact team (CEI) have been monitoring the situation in the event that Disaster Relief funding needs to be activated to support local nonprofits. The CEI team has engaged with the City’s Department of Human Services and Metro Health to ensure a coordinated path forward, while listening closely to our nonprofit partners. Should Disaster Relief funding need to be activated, the John L. Santikos Committee of the Board of Directors will receive a recommendation for review and consideration. Our experienced team is well versed in managing grant requests for this type of funding.

The Development and Donor Services (DDS) team is also preparing to help corporations support their employees through the potential activation of disaster and hardship funds. The DDS team is researching options, and is prepared to serve our community on behalf of our corporate-advised funds.

As part of our internal planning process, the Area Foundation has prepared for the potential disruption that may occur with the coronavirus. Improvements include expanding Information Technology (IT) capacity so that employees may securely and with ease work from home if deemed necessary, along with expediting plans to implement video conferencing capabilities. The majority of Area Foundation staff had already been equipped to work from home if needed, and our inventory of available laptops has been increased to aid even more employees.

Human Resources has readily shared with employees that if they feel ill, they may utilize their paid time off (PTO), or we can accommodate a work from home option without impacting PTO to avoid spreading common viruses. Our goal is a healthy team at all times!

Exciting News!

  • I recently attended a large community foundation conference alongside board chair, Theo Guidry. My colleagues and I were very impressed with the conference topics and speakers. Eric Holder, the 82nd Attorney General of the United States, and Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor to President Obama were part of a dynamic conversation on the importance of voting. We also were able to visit the border wall in San Ysidro, California and hear directly from border patrol agents, the U.S. Consul General to Mexico, Sue Saarnio, and her counterpart, the Mexico Consult General to the U.S., Carlos Gutierrez. The panel provided a frank and balanced conversation, bringing great insight into the tough challenges we face at our southern border. Overall, the conference was a view into the power of collaboration and I very much enjoyed having the opportunity to learn more about our sister institutions, and getting to know the CEO’s that lead them.
  • Dr. Adena Loston, Area Foundation board member, traveled recently to Mississippi for a dedication of a historical marker in the name of her late father, Tommie Williams, Sr. Mr. Williams was a stalwart community civil rights activist who provided voice, leadership, mentoring, training, and social services for the needy and served as a community humanitarian. He was a voice for community at the national level with President Jimmy Carter, and at the state level with Mississippi Governor Ray Mabus. His service was recognized statewide, nationally, and by many agencies and organizations. Adena honors her father’s legacy in so many meaningful ways!
  • A final nonprofit info session will be hosted on Thursday, March 26 at 1:30 p.m. in the Wells Center. This session is part of a series offered to nonprofits as they apply for the first cycle of our 2020 annual responsive grantmaking process. Applications are already available, with a deadline of Sunday, April 5 for Cultural Vibrancy and Youth Success. Another cycle of grantmaking will open in the summer for Successful Aging and Livable and Resilient Communities.
Patricia Mejia
  • Graduation – Patricia Mejia, vice president of Community Engagement and Impact, recently graduated from the Executive Leadership Institute hosted by CF Leads. Patricia was one of seven vice presidents accepted into the program from community foundations across the nation.
Lorna Stafford
  • Staff on the move – Lorna Stafford, director of Communications, has transitioned into her new role as a facilitator with the Learning and Development team. Learning and Development team facilitators create and oversee nonprofit courses and cohorts at the Area Foundation as well as internal training for staff. Lorna has master’s degree in education and is also an adjunct lecturer at Texas State University, teaching media writing in the School of Journalism.

Staff in the Community

Many of our staff have been honored by recent board appointments! 

  • Rebecca Helterbrand, vice president of Marketing, Communications and Technology, has been elected to the board of the Oakes Club, a local women’s professional membership group.
  • Patty Russett, senior executive assistant, was also elected to the board of Executive Women International (EWI), a global women’s organization with a strong local chapter.
  • Lynda Cabell, CFO, has been named treasurer of the Masters Leadership Program (MLP) Alumni Association. Lynda will be graduating soon from the current MLP class.
From left Rebecca Helterbrand, Patty Russett, Lynda Cabell 

With gratitude,

Marjie headshot

Marjie M. French