SA2020 CEO Molly Cox gives opening remarks during the 2018 Impact Report.
SA2020 CEO Molly Cox has announced her departure from the organization. Credit: Scott Ball / San Antonio Report

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SA2020 President and CEO Molly Cox said Friday she will step down from her long-held position leading the nonprofit that tracks San Antonio’s progress on such issues such as poverty, education, and transportation.

The announcement of Cox’s Feb. 16 departure was made during a videoconference with some of SA2020’s partner organizations. Cox will be succeeded by Kiran Kaur Bains, the organization’s director of community impact.

“I think Kenny Rogers is a prophet,” Cox said in announcing her move. “You need to know when to hold them and when to fold them and when to walk away. … Are you singing this with me?”

After giving 10 years to SA2020, she said, “a new decade of progress absolutely needs a new leader. I have been so honored to lead this organization for the last five years. I’ve been with the organization since I was a volunteer in 2010, which is why I’m crying – because I’m exhausted.”

Because she works directly with SA2020 partner organizations in her current role, Bains said she expects a smooth transition.

“San Antonio is my hometown … so to be able to have this opportunity and this leadership position I think is unparalleled to be able to effect change in this way and be responsible for this organization that has this unique bird’s eye view of San Antonio,” she said. “SA2020 would not be where it is today without the leadership [and] the incredible mind and heart of Molly.”

The nonprofit also revealed its new logo, a play on “20/20 vision” as the SA2020 continues to promote change towards a shared community vision.

SA2020 revealed its new logo on Friday, Jan. 15. Credit: Courtesy / SA2020

Cox told the San Antonio Report that she will remain available to SA2020 as a consultant so she can complete a few unfinished SA2020 initiatives.

“I’ll stick around as a consultant just to finalize those projects,” she said.

“Then I’m going to take a nap,” she added in jest. “I consider myself very fortunate that I don’t have to immediately take another job, which would be difficult I think anyway after a job like this. So I’m going to take a minute to figure out what’s next.”

Bains has the right skills and experience to take over, Cox said. Bains served as the City of San Antonio’s first chief equity officer, joining SA2020 in 2018 to help deepen the organization’s work on racial equity and recruiting new partners.

“I feel very good about where I’m leaving this organization,” Cox said. “As we move more and more into really helping advance racial equity and disaggregating data and helping with targeted interventions … Kiran is obviously way smarter and more experienced than I am. It’s such a no-brainer.”

Kiran Kaur Bains, incoming CEO of SA2020. Credit: Courtesy / Vanessa Velazquez

Established as a community initiative in 2010, the nonprofit releases an annual report that serves as a report card on the San Antonio area’s progress in categories that measure community well-being and economic growth such as education, environment, health, culture, and transportation. It works with more than 170 community partners across Bexar County to align efforts and improve progress indicators. SA2020 became an independent nonprofit in 2012 with president and CEO Daryl Byrd at the helm.

But as it rebrands and looks to establish goals for 2030, SA2020 also is recalibrating how it will measure progress and shift its categories of focus. For example, it currently has 11 areas of community well-being and economic growth, but the new website and community vision that will be launched on Jan. 29 will include nine.

After a yearlong listening tour and survey of its partners, the organization is in the process of finalizing 2020’s report card and 10-year review.

“This is a moment of celebration for us,” Bains said. “To celebrate [Cox’s] leadership and to celebrate the impact of the organization over the last decade.”

Iris Dimmick

Senior Reporter Iris Dimmick covers public policy pertaining to social issues, ranging from affordable housing and economic disparity to policing reform and workforce development. Contact her at iris@sareport.org