Guests enter The DoSeum for the first time. Photo by Scott Ball.
Guests, including Councilman Ron Nirenberg (right) and his son Jonah, enter The DoSeum on opening day. Credit: Scott Ball / San Antonio Report

A U.S. Grant can buy your loved ones the Game of Thrones DVD set they’ve had their eyes set on for months, a couple of funky thrift shop T-shirts, or a restaurant gift card that is gone after that final sip of wine. OR you can take that $50 and choose a nonprofit organization that befits their philanthropic personality and allow them to soak in the benefits of a year-long membership that gives to many in this city.

A generous amount of nonprofits hover around the $50 mark for a year-long membership to their organization, granting individuals the opportunity to become a voice in the growth and fulfillment of their mission, and participate in monthly activities that familiarize them with the spirit and community gathering power of that particular organization.

Here is a look at alternative options for holiday gift giving this year – no lines, no hassle, and a guarantee that you’ll feel warm and fuzzy inside knowing your present will enrich not only the life of its recipient, but also those of countless others in San Antonio.

San Antonio Botanical Garden 

Don’t feel like putting in the work to start your own garden?  Dig in with this organization and let Mother Nature do all the work. Tucked away behind Mahncke Park off North New Braunfels Avenue and Funston Place, San Antonio Botanical Garden is an oasis in the midst of a bustling cross-section of our city. At the tail end of its ambitious expansion plans, the Botanical Garden’s new additions promise to contribute to its already impressive depth and design in 2017.

The organization is offering its annual membership for just $40 and you can supersize that by getting a plus-one membership to bring a friend with you anytime for only $60 per year. Perks include year-round access to the vast array of arboreal amigos, discounted tickets to children’s activities and special events such as Brews and Blooms, as well as free admission to annual events such as Flowers and Fireworks.

Musical Bridges "Indian Fusion" concert featuring Kathak dancer Urmi Samadar and Amie Maciszewski on sitar. Photo by Ken Mahnke.
Musical Bridges’ “Indian Fusion” concert featuring Kathak dancer Urmi Samadar and Amie Maciszewski on sitar. Credit: Courtesy / Ken Mahnke

Musical Bridges Around The World

With free and intimate experiences at San Fernando Cathedral, the Southwest School of Art, and the Empire Theatre, Musical Bridges Around the World brings quite literally some of the world’s greatest talents from oft-misunderstood countries such as Syria, Armenia, and Russia, as well as virtuosos from every continent save Antarctica, in order to create harmony and compassion between the artist and the audience.

The organization’s main event, the International Music Festival, is coming in February 2017, and for $60 you will receive VIP access to five main stage performances, which includes guaranteed front-tier seating and an invitation to the exclusive meet and greet with the artists following each performance. This and other festival options can be purchased here.

San Antonio Sound Garden 

If local music is more your flavor, San Antonio Sound Garden, which operates out of its recording studio and co-working space for musicians on North Alamo Street, may be a solid investment of your $50. The organization strives to unite and ignite the local music industry by providing resources, networking, and practical workshops to music industry entrepreneurs working to get a leg up in the business.

When you purchase this membership for a friend, chances are you’ll want to get one for yourself, so you can tag along to the seven annual showcase concerts featuring top local talent and vendors. You can get involved during SASG’s Capital Campaign season now, and receive a T-shirt with your membership when you donate here.


Students from Southwest School of Art work on a collaborative painting of bees and donuts. Photo by Kathryn Boyd-Batstone.
Students from Southwest School of Art work on a collaborative painting of bees and donuts during Artpace’s “Chalk It Up.” Credit: Kathryn Boyd-Batstone / San Antonio Report

Known for its rooftop parties and for harboring artists from across the world, Artpace prides itself in “nurturing the freedom to dream,” and the nuance of its exhibitions and programs is as vibrant and profound as the personalities that put them on.

For just $35-$50 a year, Artpace members can enjoy the benefit of exclusive access to the always inspiring artist conversations that complement the exhibitions, invitations to the rooftop parties with fellow nonprofit KRTU (also worth investing in if you’re a fan of jazz), and 10% off all Artpace merchandise. Find out more ways to soak in the imagination of this organization here.

The DoSeum

Already a favorite playground for the whimsy-filled youth of San Antonio and their families (as well as Millennials on special occasions), a membership to The DoSeum is an excellent way to bring joy not only to individuals, but also their entire family in 2017.

With access granted for two adults and two children, the Family 4-pack is $120 or only $30 per person – if you were to go twice a week year-round, it would only cost 33 cents per visit. The DoSeum ‘s exhibitions vary with the seasons, but it maintains the allure and creativity that engages San Antonians from all walks of life all year long. Full details on membership perks and options can be found here.

Non-Member Based Nonprofits

Children from the Martinez Street Women's Center (left to right) Esmeralda (12), Ellie (11), Ashlynn (12), Samantha (11), and Macayla (9). Photo by Scott Ball.
A group of young women from the Martinez Street Women’s Center (left to right) Esmeralda (12), Ellie (11), Ashlynn (12), Samantha (11), and Macayla (9). Credit: Scott Ball / San Antonio Report

If what you’re looking to give with your holiday gift is the knowledge that you’re helping a community less fortunate, consider making a donation to a non-member based nonprofit.

Organizations like The Rape Crisis Center, Martinez Street Women’s Center, and The Alzheimer’s Association reach a broad range of physical, social, and cultural issues that local families and their loved ones face. You can also help educational organizations like Say Sí continue their tuition-free programming for aspiring high school artists. If the imminent nature of international crises such as those in the Middle East, Northern Africa, and South America pull at your heartstrings, consider giving to RAICES or  The Center For Refugee Services, who provide employment services, legal services, English classes, shelter, food pantry support, and transportation assistance, all with a volunteer staff.

Giving never felt so good.

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Adam Tutor

Adam Tutor is a Trinity University graduate, a saxophonist who performs with local bands Soulzzafying, Odie & the Digs, and Volcan, and a freelance music contributor to the Rivard Report.