The San Antonio Area Foundation awarded $1.5 million to more than four dozen local nonprofits in its first round of new three-year grants.

A total of 51 nonprofits in the Area Foundation’s principal impact areas of Cultural Vibrancy and Youth Success were selected for three-year grants (2023-2025). Starting in 2020, the Area Foundation updated its grantmaking process from annual funding to three-year cycles.

This fall, the Area Foundation will announce additional three-year grants for nonprofits in the organization’s other two main impact areas – Successful Aging and Livable and Resilient Communities.

“As our region’s most trusted and impactful philanthropic partner, we’re humbled by the growing number and diversity of nonprofits that look to us for support and partnership,” said Patricia Mejia, the Area Foundation’s Vice President of Community Engagement and Impact. “It’s a great sign to see a significant increase in engagement, from organizations both small and large, each playing their role in meeting our vision of working to close opportunity gaps for those in our community who need it most.” 

The 2023-2025 first round grant cycle had a total of 187 applicants – a 27 percent increase from the previous 2020-2022 funding period. Additionally, current grantmaking is more reflective of the Area Foundation’s significant mission shift toward being more intentional in helping our low-income neighbors. Toward this end, 88 percent of 2023-2025 first round grantees serve residents in San Antonio’s poorest zip codes. 

Efforts to diversify the applicant pool proved fruitful – nearly one in five new grantees are either first-time recipients or received Area Foundation funding for the first time in five years. The count of smaller nonprofits being funded is also growing – 33 percent of new grantees have a total annual budget of $250,000 or less.

No matter their size, new grantees – many still reeling from the devastating economic hit from the pandemic – shared that the new funding will help their work and mission, from operational costs to expanding programs and services.

“We are deeply grateful for the foundation’s trust in our organization and their recognition of the vital role that garden education plays in fostering positive change,” said Stephen Lucke, CEO of Gardopia Gardens, a first-time grantee. 

“We will be able to invest in improved resilient and sustainable garden infrastructures, develop innovative educational materials and collaborate with like-minded organizations to strengthen our impact. This support empowers us to dream bigger and explore new avenues for expanding our initiatives,” Lucke added, noting they will now serve nearly 40 schools across seven districts in the area. 

San Antonio literary stalwart Gemini Ink has served the community for more than three decades. New grant funding from the Area Foundation will help the cultural arts nonprofit reach for its ultimate goal of helping 12,000 aspiring writers by 2024.

“This operational grant plays such a reassuring role in our ability to strategically grow our reach and impact as San Antonio’s writing arts center,” said Executive Director Alexandra van de Kamp. “More than ever, telling our stories, processing trauma and making our voices heard is a pivotal tool and life resource the writing arts can provide San Antonians as we face growing challenges daily.”

Grantmaking decisions are made by Community Advisory Committees, made up of community volunteers. They work in close collaboration with the Area Foundation’s Community Engagement and Impact team, which provides committee members recommendations from which to select grant recipients.  

Here are all 2023-2025 first-round Area Foundation grantees (Cultural Vibrancy and Youth Success impact areas):

Agarita Chamber Players
American Indians In Texas At The Spanish Colonial Missions
Anuja SA, Inc
Artpace Inc.
Carver Development Board
Centro Cultural Aztlan
Conjunto Heritage Taller, Inc.
Esperanza Peace And Justice Center
Gemini Series Inc.
Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center
Hearts Need Art
Heritage Festivals of San Antonio
Jump-Start Performance Company
Magik Children’s Theatre Inc. 
Musical Bridges Around the World, Inc.
National Association of Latino Arts and Culture
Pride Center San Antonio Fiscal Sponsor
San Anto Cultural Arts
San Antonio African American Community Archive and Museum 
San Antonio Black International Film Festival
San Antonio Choral Society, Inc.
San Antonio Festival of Books, Inc. 
San Antonio River Foundation
URBAN-15 Group
Aid the Silent
Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Texas Inc. – San Antonio
Boy With a Ball San Antonio 
Brighton Center
Celebrate Dyslexia
Child Advocates San Antonio
Children’s Bereavement Center of South Texas
City Year Inc.
Communities In Schools of San Antonio
Dee Howard Foundation
Gardopia Gardens
Girl Scouts of Southwest Texas
Girls on the Run of Bexar County
Guardian House
H.I.S. BridgeBuilders – San Antonio
Healy-Murphy Center
High Voltage Music
Leaders Readers Network
Roy Maas Youth Alternatives Inc.
Sporti Transforming Lives
Texas A&M San Antonio Foundation – Institute for Autism and Related Disorders
TRL Productions
YMCA of Greater San Antonio
Young Women’s Christian Association YWCA – San Antonio
Youth Center of Texas, Inc.