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Celebrating our Progress—and Committing to Do Even More

By Molly Cox | Jan 13 2017

By now, you’ve heard that the SA2020 Annual Progress Report is out, and what a celebration we had at the release luncheon.

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We have to thank our Board of Directors, the fantastic volunteers from SA2020 Partner, Clarity Child Guidance Center, and a very special shoutout to SA2020 Board Member, Melissa Burnett, who donated her time and talent to create the design and layout for the report itself.

Additionally, Hixon Properties, Humana, VIA, and Visionworks showed their investment in our community by supporting particular Cause Areas and Frost Bank was an event sponsor. Our table sponsors are amazing, as well! They all made the event possible. And we were glad to celebrate with some of our elected officials, including Mayor Ivy Taylor, Councilman Rey Saldaña, and Commissioner Tommy Calvert.

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You can see the report here, and you can see a snapshot of our community indicators here. Or…if you’re super passionate about a particular Cause Area, jump directly to our dashboard and see how you’re doing.

You’re going to see some indicators that aren’t moving in the direction we need. And, in some instances, you’ll see some indicators that slipped backwards after making progress. Such is the case with complex community indicators. We are doing hard work in San Antonio to make sure the entire community has opportunity and prosperity.

But here’s something to note: 41% of our community indicators are either met or exceeded or are on track to be met by 2020. That’s worth celebration.

The data is important, (and we are lucky to have a fantastic partner in CI:Now to help us track and analyze it all). Having an objective, measurable way to track our progress gives us a very real and transparent means to hold ourselves accountable, to see successes and challenges. But the data represent people, and it is the people of our community that are collaborating in ways that will ultimately impact the data.

In 2016, the SA2020 office fielded calls from Tennessee, Arizona, Oklahoma, Washington DC, Washington state, and even England. We are consistently asked to share how we turned a community vision into a nonprofit organization that reports on community indicators data, supports Partner nonprofits, and shows the public where they can get involved. And beyond the strategic stuff — grandiose terminology like “collective impact” — we tell them that we are lucky to be part of a collaborative and thoughtful community.

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San Antonio is filled with dreamers, but beyond that, it is also filled with doers. It’s who we are as people. In 2010, we set our sights on having the greatest turnaround in education in the nation, being the fittest and safest city in America. We said we wanted connected neighborhoods that celebrated our culture and showed off our creativity. We wanted a downtown that was everyone’s neighborhood and a transportation system that was efficient and environmentally friendly. We wanted families to thrive, students to have opportunity, and our people to have economic prosperity.

And we wanted to do all of this in one decade.

In community indicators projects across the country what we see is the beginning and the end. Those are the best parts, really. The beginning – when it’s shiny and fun and new and creative – and the end – when it’s celebratory and provides closure and maybe there’s a party. But in San Antonio, we’re sitting in the middle when the hard work is happening. We’re aligning and connecting and doing.

And so…there’s really only one thing that we at SA2020 can ask for…and that’s more. With just over 40% of our indicators either met or exceeded or on track to be met, we are asking you for more. Already volunteer? Volunteer more. Already give? Give more. I, of course, will ask you to start with SA2020 Partners – they can connect their programs to your community indicators, so start with them at SA2020.org/partners.

At yesterday’s luncheon, we asked everyone to commit to do more in 2017. So, we ask you to do the same. And because you said that increasing voter turnout, volunteerism and philanthropic giving was important, will you commit to 1) vote in the municipal election in 2017; 2) volunteer more; and/or 3) give more? Or…commit to doing all of the above, which is exactly what more than 70% of our luncheon attendees did.

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Yesterday, we also announced a fantastic new partnership and incredible investment of $400,000 from The Kresge Foundation. Sandra Ambrozy, senior program officer for the Human Services Program at Kresge, explained, “SA2020’s approach to building networks of support driven by human services organizations has the potential to advance both social and economic mobility for the residents of San Antonio.” We’re looking forward to leveraging this funding to better align, support, and connect organizations in our community that are moving the needle. In fact, we hope to double our partnerships in the next 2 years, from 145 to over 300.

If you believe that San Antonio needs an organization that connects and aligns the community towards common goals. If you believe it is important that an organization transparently reports our community progress as a means by which to hold ourselves accountable. If you believe that we need an organization to drive our energy towards outcomes that benefit the entire community, then I’m asking you to continue your support of SA2020. Thank you for proving why San Antonio is a City on the Rise, a City of Dreamers and Doers, a city I am proud to call “home.”

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Molly Cox

Molly grew up in Corpus Christi, TX where she spent the majority of her adult life as a radio “personality.” She received her BA in theatre from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, then went on to get her master’s degree in political science from UTSA. Molly worked as the Director of UTSA’s Center for Policy Studies, where she led the Nonprofit Management and American Humanics Programs. Her focus in nonprofit capacity building grew to include her own consulting business, Nonprofit Fancy Pants. In March 2013, she joined SA2020 as the Chief of Engagement and in early 2015 became President & CEO of SA2020.

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