How the Santikos Legacy is Changing the Face of San Antonio

It was about a year ago that we highlighted the largest charitable gift ever made in San Antonio’s history. When Texas movie theater mogul John L. Santikos passed away, he left behind a $605 million gift that tripled the size of the San Antonio Area Foundation.

That gift is a great example of the new wealth flowing into philanthropy in the Southwest, affecting nonprofits in every state and major city in the region. 

Since the Santikos gift was announced, we've been wondering when the new grant money will start flowing and how the foundation’s new board would set up the operating principles to guide it.  

Related: John L. Santikos Left $605 Million to the San Antonio Area Foundation. Where’s That Money Headed?

Back in February, the John L. Santikos Charitable Foundation, which is part of the San Antonio Area Foundation, announced that it would be nearly doubling the amount of funding for local nonprofits. With $12 million up for grabs, the Area Foundation hosted monthly information seminars at its offices to fill nonprofits in on the details. In those discussions, leaders shared that competitive grantmaking would soon be expanding to include libraries, public radio and television, public parks, and higher education programs. And out of that $12 million, $1.8 million was added to the Area Foundation’s existing responsive grantmaking opportunities: arts & culture, children & youth, community-at-large, medicine & healthcare, and seniors.

It's important to distinguish that John L. Santikos Charitable Foundation and San Antonio Area Foundation are separate but related, and that their grant commitments are unique but overlapping. Let’s dig in.

New Santikos Charitable Foundation Grants

In early November, we learned that the John L. Santikos Charitable Foundation awarded $9.3 million to eight nonprofits for capital projects. This was an interesting grant commitment because each and every grant went towards capital support. But don’t expect this to be the only way that Santikos grants always play out in the future.

The focus on capital grants was basically a strategy to honor the late donor with naming rights opportunities. Eight new structures, including San Antonio Sports parks and a children’s trauma services program at Santa Rosa Children’s Hospital, will soon bear Santikos’ name. The Area Foundation, which administers this donor fund, received an unprecedented 92 grant requests asking for a combined total of over $70 million.

Given the tremendous interest in this type of funding opportunity, Santikos capital project naming rights grantmaking will become a bi-annual process that opens again for applications in 2018. So expect to see a whole lot more things named after this donor around town in the near future.

New Area Foundation Grantmaking

Even more recently, the San Antonio Area Foundation has announced that it awarded grants totaling more than $3.2 million during this calendar year. Although the dollar amounts pale in comparison to the Santikos grants, this type of funding is regularly awarded in two cycles as part of the Area Foundation’s “Annual Responsive” grants process.

New grants were awarded in the areas of animal services ($569,228), arts and culture ($735,635), the community at large ($442,132), seniors ($402,531), children and youth ($521,050), and medicine and health care ($529,763). This was the second cycle of grantmaking for the year and these grants went to 76 programs in November. In the summer, $531,050 was awarded through 24 grants to children and youth and $529,763 across 19 grants for health and medicine.

With this opportunity, you won’t have to wait until 2018. The next grant cycle opens up in January with a deadline of February. Also, take a look at the foundation’s calendar for workshops and learning events to attend as the new year kicks off.