Students and staff of Adult & Teen Challenge of Texas pray together at at the organization's annual retreat in Leakey. Credit: Courtesy / Emily Canupp, Adult & Teen Challenge of Texas

A 108-acre campus in South San Antonio is home for up to 43 women recovering from alcohol and drug addiction. For a one-time fee of $1,500, women can enroll in a yearlong residential recovery program; after seven months in a large shared house, they can move into a different house on campus and look for jobs, paying $140 a week for board and saving money for when they finish the program.

On Tuesday, the Adult & Teen Challenge of Texas received $50,000 from the Baptist Health Foundation of San Antonio to expand its women’s program and add space for pregnant women and moms struggling with addiction.

In all, the Baptist Health Foundation distributed $7.2 million to 90 area nonprofits during its annual grant awards ceremony Tuesday. The foundation has given more than $75 million to health-related initiatives since 2005.

Of the award recipients, 30 received small grants of $14,000 or less, while 22 received grants of more than $100,000. The foundation’s largest award of $1 million went to the state convention of Texas Baptists to support pastors across Texas, foundation president and CEO Cody Knowlton said. The money would go toward three areas of focus, he explained: hiring a mentor to work with pastors with mental health issues, supporting a fund to help pastors in financial distress, and funding retreats and conferences.

“The key with that grant is that if our pastors are healthy, then our churches are healthy,” he said. “And if our churches are healthy, then our communities are healthy.”

Many of the award recipients offer faith-based health care options, but the foundation does not specifically look for that trait in applicants, Knowlton said.

“We are Christ-centered, and God and Jesus are in our mission, and that is important to us,” Knowlton said. “But when it comes to the granting, it’s based on need and the organization – whether its secular or faith-based.”

The list of award recipients includes the Hemisfair Conservancy, San Antonio Lighthouse for the Blind and Vision Impaired, SAMMinistries, Haven for Hope, more than a dozen colleges, and the Mayor’s Fitness Council.

The latter received $150,000.

“That’s money that supports students to go into their local schools and focus on health initiatives,” Knowlton said. “They have to come up with projects that make their schools more healthy. It’s cool to see students in high school dreaming up ideas to make their schools and community healthy.”

Many of this year’s recipients have received grants before, but the foundation discovers new nonprofits with every grant application cycle, Knowlton said.

“Just when you think you know everyone, someone else comes out of the woodwork,” he said.

The Adult & Teen Challenge of Texas is one of those newcomers. The organization offers faith-based programs for men, women, and teens struggling with addiction. The nonprofit is a mission branch of the Assemblies of God, a Pentecostal Christian denomination. Sarah Baughman, the center’s director of development, went through the addiction program after several unsuccessful stints in rehab. Though unable to pay the fee, she was accepted into the program per the organization’s pledge to not turn anyone away. She graduated 10 years ago and stayed on to work for the organization.

“When I came here, I was 19 and was a heroin addict, had been in and out of jail, and had been to lots of 30-day secular rehab programs,” she said. “None of those worked for me. When my mom heard about Teen Challenge, she brought me here, and it transformed my life.”

Baughman said the organization will use its grant money to start a residential addiction recovery program for pregnant women and women with children.

“Recent statistics have shown that Bexar County has the highest rate of babies born withdrawing from drugs,” she said. “We have the highest rate in Texas, and it’s higher than Houston and Dallas combined. San Antonio needs more places where a woman can go if she’s pregnant or has had her baby and needs residential care for addiction.”

The grant will go toward building a new women’s dormitory to house residents without children, and the building that currently houses them will be transformed into a living space for women and children, Baughman said.

For a full list of grant recipients, click here.

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Jackie Wang

Jackie Wang covered local government for the San Antonio Report.