The San Antonio Area Foundation is in the Pearl.
In a letter emailed to nonprofit organizations the San Antonio Area Foundation is pausing most charitable contributions from the John L. Santikos Charitable Foundation which the San Antonio Area Foundation is in charge of. Credit: Bonnie Arbittier / San Antonio Report

Imagine San Antonio without the impact of nonprofits – from hospitals, to youth centers, to cultural institutions, or universities, and places of faith. The very fabric of San Antonio’s tapestry of success as a city is richly woven by the work of the nonprofit sector.

For more than half a century, the San Antonio Area Foundation has supported the nonprofit ecosystem through training, a wide array of funding opportunities, and more. Some nonprofits join the Area Foundation’s umbrella of infrastructure support as they nurture their mission and leave the back-office functions to our talented staff.

Additionally, the Area Foundation seeks to continually convene community in developing solutions and serve as a thought partner in the process. All of this is made possible through the philanthropic gifts of individuals, families, and corporations known as our family of donors and fund advisors.

Although nonprofits are fully aware and appreciative of the funding these donors contribute, those outside of the nonprofit ecosystem are not as familiar. As part of national Community Foundation Week, it’s our imperative to change that paradigm.

This system of integrated support to nonprofits began in 1964 when Richard Goldsmith and his uncle decided to honor Richard’s father, Nat, by creating a memorial in his name. That initial gift created the Area Foundation, the San Antonio area’s only community foundation. As a nonprofit, donors make tax-exempt gifts to the Area Foundation, which ultimately benefit the greater good of the community.

Nat’s legacy has grown to include more than 500 funds under management at the Area Foundation. Your local community foundation is now in the Top 20 of all community foundations in the nation based on asset size.

Other caring philanthropists followed over the years, like Semp Russ, whose multimillion bequest in 1978 changed the trajectory of giving at the Area Foundation by placing it on the map as a major source of grant funding for nonprofits.

Over the years, other fund advisors have made an impact, such as the Ruth Lang Charitable Fund; Gaynelle and Gene Rankin Endowment Trust; Warm Springs Foundation; the Anna, Pierre, Ephraim Block Scholarship Fund; Friends of the Carver Academy; John L. Santikos Charitable Foundation, and Harvey E. Najim.

These and other caring philanthropists created an opportunity for the Area Foundation to develop, sustain, and grow needed community programs and services in partnership with community.

So how does this funding relate to you? Because of these donors, quality after-school programs for children are available; hundreds of local high school seniors receive college scholarships annually; major arts and culture venues and programs in your community are abundant; programs and facilities for our seniors have been improved or created; and numerous social services supporting your community are accessible. Even in times of disaster, our donors respond to the immense need.

As we look to the future, the Area Foundation is focused on further aligning its efforts to that of the city’s community vision created by SA2020. As part of that endeavor, our organization is asking critical questions to ensure we are meeting community need through the lens of diversity, equity, and inclusion. This is imperative to breaking down the economically segregated areas of our community.

I invite you to visit the San Antonio Area Foundation to see how our family of donors and fund advisors are making a difference in the community. Reach out to us at, visit our website, or follow us on social media. The Area Foundation is where giving and community connect.

Rebecca Brune

Rebecca Brune

Rebecca Brune serves as president and chief operating officer of the San Antonio Area Foundation where she guides strategic direction for the community foundation that is among the Top 20 in the U.S. For...