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My Top 40 List of SA2020 Moments

By Molly Cox | Sep 11 2018

I’ve been with SA2020 since the jump, and since I’m turning 40 this year, I thought I’d make a list of the 40 things I think of when I think of SA2020. These are in alphabetical order, only ‘cause they are all my favorites…if that’s possible.

If you love these moments too, you can help me celebrate my birthday and support SA2020 at the same time. I’d love it if you’d consider making a donation to my birthday fundraiser to help make more of this work possible. (Plus, there’s some pretty cool SA2020-themed thank yous in it for you.)

1. 2018 All-America City: San Antonio’s alignment toward a shared community vision wins us awards, y’all.

2. Annual Reports on San Antonio’s Progress: From the word document of 2013 to the beautiful book of storytelling

3. Carmen Tafolla’s Poem: When San Antonio’s first Poet Laureate writes a poem called “Dream It, Map It, Do It”…it absolutely winds up on a list of top 40 moments. Thanks for capturing it, NOWCast.

4. CI:Now: “Y’all are the data people,” you say. “We are the data stoytellers,” we respond. Our data partner, CI: Now…? They are the data people. And I can’t tell you how happy I am to know that they exist.

5. College Signing Day: A day dedicated to celebrating seniors who are committed to going to and through college…? I’m so in.

6. College Signing Day with the added bonus of Michelle Obama: When First Lady Michelle Obama launched her national Reach Higher campaign, she did it in San Antonio, Texas because we were already committed to helping our students reach higher.

7. Enroll SA/Get Bexar Covered: A collaborative effort to give more people access to health insurance that becomes a national model for community-based healthcare engagement…? Only in San Antonio could we make that happen.

8. GOTV with MOVE SA (now MOVE Texas): In the 2017 municipal election cycle, we partnered with MOVE SA to talk local elections with over 1,000 UTSA students. Then, I was invited to what may have been the most ridiculously awesome event of the municipal election: The Youth Forum: San Antonio Night Live. Y’all, Ana Sandoval sang Como La Flor like she wrote it, and Ron Nirenberg walked away with the golden bananas. Everything I just wrote is real life.

9. Funders Group: With a collective investment of $153 million into 296 organizations, this group of 6 area funders has committed to align their work, maximizing their efforts to create greater impact on our community vision.

10. Hixon Properties: In 2013, Ashley Hixon said, “We want to give our dollars to SA2020 partners moving the needle in Education, Family Well-Being, and Downtown Development.” Six funding cycles and nearly $1 million later, they’ve helped move the needle on some serious results.

11. Human Services and Human Progress 2035: What happens when a group of futurists look at trending data through the year 2035 to give you scenarios for what could happen in your city…? A report on where exactly our city might be headed (coming soon). Even cooler…? Because we have created a community vision, our future already looks brighter than other cities.

12. ilovesanantonio.org: Back in the early ‘10s, Code for America San Antonio fellows started a website that allowed people to hashtag their love for our city. Then, they turned it over to us, and with the help of Claire Osburn – a former SA2020 team member turned amazing volunteer – we made it a one-stop resource for all things election related.

13. Julián Castro Photobombs: I have clearly always been super professional.

14. The Kresge Foundation: This national foundation has believed in our work even before we fully believed in our work. And in 2016, they re-upped their support, becoming one of our largest foundation supporters at $400,000 over two years. One year later, San Antonio Area Foundation not only matched these dollars, but became the first local funder to fully integrate their work to move the needle on SA2020 Community Results.

15. Mayor’s Housing Policy Task Force: Over 550 of your neighbors crafted recommendations to help make housing more affordable in our city.

16. MLK Youth Summit – My City, Our Community: Eddie, an 8th grader, stood up and asked, “How many of you want to go to college?” and the entire room of over 100 middle and high school students stood up.

17. Moving Day: We went from UTSA’s downtown campus (and the giant conference table and cardboard boxes as desks) to Geekdom (before the Rand Building when they were still at Weston Centre). Then, in 2015, we moved to our current home at St. Paul Square (otherwise known as the dorm room). There was, let’s say, a snafu with our movers that ended with a midnight move to a third floor office and a little crankiness.

18. Mister Rogers Events: We packed two movie theaters at Santikos Bijou for free screenings of Won’t You Be My Neighbor? and had honest conversations with over 50 teens all because a dude in a sweater reminded us that we can act with compassion.

19. Nonprofit Partners: From the giant ones you know about to the tiny ones you’ve never heard of, there is not a more dedicated group of humans than those who work in our community-based organizations. This year, we’ll even highlight their collective work in our Impact Report. Mark your calendars for January 22, 2019!

20. Operation Opportunity: We had an honest conversation with five teenagers about what they needed from adults to reach their full potential.

21. Original Public Meetings: Unless you were there, it’s hard to describe, but I’ll try. Sitting at a table with people from different walks of life and experiences and sides of town, coming to a consensus about things that needed to change/areas for growth in our city is a highlight of my life, not just my work at SA2020. When we work together on common goals, positive change happens. At SA2020, we don’t just believe this, we prove it.

22. Parking Day: It doesn’t have to be a parking spot, it could be a beautiful garden! And maybe you’ll win a giant golden parking meter when it’s all over.

23. PechaKucha Vol. 20: A group of humans just talking about how they’re making our community better. In one of the most beautiful locations in our city – The Majestic. Then… the power almost went out on the computer.

24. Resolutions Leaders: I apologize now for being the people who unleashed Patti Radle’s obsession with limiting the use of plastic water bottles. Or do I…?

25. SA2020.org: From its original launch in 2012 where Sweb Development helped create a match.com meets Netflix meets Groupon, but for volunteers, to the dashboard to the blog…our website has given us an opportunity to share even more of our community stories and connect people to the organizations that are doing the work on the ground. Stay tuned for the next iteration. Coming soon to a screen near you!

26. SA2020 Board: From the startup to now, I have met some of the most dedicated human beings I have ever known.

27. SA2020 Dividends: CEOs for Cities showed us what it might look like if San Antonio increased college attainment by 1% or decreased travel by 1 mile. Bite-sized goals, easily achieved.

28. SA2020 Interns: I hate to go all Whitney Houston on you, but the children really are our future. Get yourself an intern and let them lead the way. In the meantime, they’ll show you why Star Wars is so important, how to exercise in your office, and even why the lemon might be the best emoji.

29. SA2020 Logo Redos: We’ve added a birthday hat, celebrated the holidays, and even said thanks to Manu—all with a logo made up of two letters and some repetitive numbers.

30. SA2020 Luncheon: Otherwise known as the annual opportunity to watch me cry on stage. Save the date for January 22, 2019. We will celebrate successes and highlight challenges, and I will definitely cry…again. Overwhelmtion is real, y’all.

31. SA2020 Music Videos & Photo Shoots: There was a moment there where we were making a lot of music videos and doing the most ridiculous photo shoots. We may not be models or musicians, but we definitely fake it when the camera is on.

32. SA2020 Team: I have made some of my best friends working at SA2020. Full stop.

33. SA2020 Does SXSW: We’ve traveled to Austin two different times to share our work. Each time, it is overwhelming how excited other cities are by what we’re doing in San Antonio. A highlight may have been when I convinced a volunteer to give me his t-shirt.

34. Sharnsky: Yes, it was at SA2020 where I met my wife. So…thanks, SA2020.

35. Talent Pipeline Task Force: Industry, higher ed, and community-based organization leaders coming together for one purpose – increase employment for our local workforce. The fact that SA Works and Upgrade sprung from this makes it even better.

36. Teen Pregnancy Prevention Collaborative: “Reduce our teen pregnancy rate by 15%,” you said. “Done,” they said. “15%, then 25%. Now…to 50%.”

37. The Big Give: We once did a full 24-hours of stuff. No, seriously. You ain’t seen nothin’ until you are doing a ride-along with SAPD at 3AM, nodding off in the front seat, thinking about the Whataburger coffee and taquito you’re gonna get at 5AM. (We switched to live videos in the non-witching hours after that.)

38. TPR: The Source – SA2020 Series: Five episodes diving deeper into areas and results, elevating calls-to-action. Count us in.

39. Volunteer Times: We’ve pulled weeds, helped people find their inner haikus, worked with students on their homework, and helped auction a lot of sausage.

40. VoteSA: Doris Palmero turned her UIW classroom into a service-learning opportunity where her students developed a brand for consolidating voter turnout efforts in our city.

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.

View all posts by Molly Cox

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