During Artpace's Chalk It Up, an SA2020 Haiku was born. Photo courtesy of SA2020.
During Artpace's Chalk It Up, an SA2020 Haiku was born. Photo courtesy of SA2020.

The Big Give SA is coming up on May 5 – a day when the entire city comes together to celebrate local nonprofits and give money to organizations making a difference right here in our community.

Since we know a little bit about people working together as a community, this year SA2020 has decided to raise money a little differently for The Big Give SA. We’re asking people to #Give2020 – for every $20 donated to SA2020, we want people to find an SA2020 partner whose work impacts the areas they’re passionate about, and give $20 to them as well.

We truly believe that working together is the only way our city will reach our SA2020 goals, and that is the entire mission of our organization.

As a nonprofit, SA2020 serves as the caretaker of the enormous set of “what if?” statements created by several thousands of you back in 2010 to describe what our community would look like as a world-class city.

For example, what if by the year 2020…

  • San Antonio residents were among the healthiest people in the U.S.?
  • San Antonio had the greatest turnaround in education in the nation?
  • San Antonio was the safest big city in the country?
  • San Antonio led the world as a creative community?

These are just some of the eleven “what if” statements that make up the SA2020 community vision. You can see all of them on our dashboard.

Our goal as an organization is not to answer the “what if?” for only some community members – but to help create and support strategies and action plans that answer the “what ifs?” for all.

Through the work of SA2020, our partners, and community efforts, we believe that our collective vision will be achieved by 2020. We have seen that big progress happens when we combine our efforts and work together to achieve a goal.

For example: Health.

The SA2020 Health Dividend shows us that if we reduce San Antonio’s diabetic population by 1% (or just 1,700 people), the San Antonio metro region could save $16.1 million in medical and other expenses.

SA2020 HealthDividend (2014)

But we’re not going to make that happen with a simple “Let’s Stamp Out Diabetes” Campaign. Changing health outcomes needs a jumpstart at the beginning, which requires a collaborative effort from folks in all areas of the health spectrum – hospitals, grassroots social service organizations, local government, nonprofits – and that’s just what our city has done.

In 2013, SA2020 joined an impressive coalition of community health groups and organizations that banded together to make healthcare and insurance a reality for San Antonio’s uninsured population. EnrollSA/Get Bexar Covered conducted an outreach campaign landing nearly three million impressions about the importance of insurance and basic healthcare. The group also hosted a series of free, community-wide enrollment events.

Members of the EnrollSA coalition answer WOAI viewer questions. Photo courtesy of SA2020.
Members of the EnrollSA coalition answer WOAI viewer questions. Photo courtesy of SA2020.

The collective work of this coalition resulted in more than 110,000 enrollments with more than 40 organizations working together to give more people access to healthcare, and succeeding.

This is just one example of the impressive collective work happening across our city.

And this is what The Big Give SA is all about, and why we’re doing #Give2020.

SA2020 knows the importance of civic engagement. In fact, the vision we set for ourselves was bold: “In 2020, San Antonio’s citizens are deeply engaged as elected leaders, business leaders, volunteers, and voters in the process of making government more responsive and accountable to San Antonians.”

We measure this through voter turnout, diversity of elected officials, volunteerism, and philanthropic giving.

Here is what we know: giving to nonprofit organizations across the United States was up last year, and the majority of the $335.17 billion came from individuals (Source: Charity Navigator). In San Antonio, however, we aren’t fairing as well. (Or, at the very least, we’re not tracking it as well.)

Last year, The Big Give SA launched, raising more than $2 million for 467 participating nonprofit agencies in Bexar County. And coming up on May 5, you have the opportunity to participate in this giant giving party, again. Or for the first time. And we know that it takes individual participation to change a city’s philanthropic giving. As a friend of mine recently said, “Philanthropy ain’t just for old, rich, white guys anymore. You, too, can be a philanthropist!”

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This year, more than 850 organizations are participating from Bexar and surrounding counties. And with hundreds of local nonprofits participating, there is certainly a cause to fit your passion.

While there are multiple goals of The Big Give S.A., the one that stands out most to us at SA2020 is the goal of increasing public awareness of the impact local nonprofits make in addressing our community’s social challenges. As I mentioned, SA2020 knows the power of the collective. We know when we work together, we move farther, faster. That’s why we’ve decided to promote the amazing work of our SA2020 partners. Besides, with more than 850 agencies in the mix, we want to highlight those we work with and are committed to outcomes-driven work that moves the needle on SA2020 goals.

Join SA2020 on our quest to #Give2020. During our 24-hour expedition across our city, we’ll highlight the progress (and some areas that need work) our city is making towards our SA2020 goals and feature various SA2020 partners, asking you to give to SA2020, (‘cause we’re a nonprofit and depend on that support), but match that with a donation to one of our partners.

Each of these companies is offering a percent of proceeds to SA2020 during The Big Give S.A.
Each of these companies is offering a percent of proceeds to SA2020 during The Big Give S.A.

I encourage you to follow along on our journey on Facebook and Twitter. It’s going to be a long, super-awesome day, hitting highlights all over the city.

You can get a jumpstart on which organization you might want to donate to by visiting SA2020.org/give2020. Every organization listed is working towards SA2020 goals. Each is moving the needle on the areas you said were important to you. You could even hang out with us at a few different locations and meet some partners who will join in, as well.

Nonprofits are vehicles for change. At SA2020, we believe that wholeheartedly. The progress you have seen in our city – decreased teen pregnancy rates, decreased obesity rates, increased access to healthcare, increased high school graduation rates – is attributed to people working tirelessly to make change happen. On May 5, we ask you to join us. Together, we can turn what if into what is.

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The Big Give SA: More Than an Annual Fundraiser

Molly Cox

After a decade with SA2020, Molly Cox founded Molly Cox Consulting in March 2021. She is in the current cohort of The University of Texas at Austin LBJ Women’s Campaign School.