Last week was a big week for SA2020 – not only the organization, but the vision we actively work to achieve.
Our organization is charged with serving as the catalyst for the collective goals we set for San Antonio in 2010. Unlike other communities, we didn’t just set the vision and walk away, we created an organization who oversees progress on that vision, transparently reporting on 59 community indicators, aligning efforts towards community outcomes, and engaging the public in thoughtful, deliberate action. We do this with a team of four staff members and eight board members, so we rely heavily on collaborative partnerships and you.
Over this past week, we focused very heavily on 3 community goals:
This year, May 4th wasn’t merely an opportunity to reference Star Wars. Over 600 area nonprofits participated in The Big Give, a 24-hour online day of giving. Coordinated by The Nonprofit Council and San Antonio Area Foundation, this year, The Big Give raised more than $4.6 million from 31,433 donors. (SA2020 surpassed our goal of $5,000 and raised $8,148 dollars from 151 donors, which also won us a prize of $1,000.) A special thank you to Alamo Beer for hosting our celebration, and to KENS 5 for covering the fun!
Philanthropic giving in San Antonio isn’t doing so well. The latest numbers show we are off track in reaching our 2020 goal. So, campaigns like The Big Give allow us an opportunity to give back. The organizations you are giving to provide needed services to the community you care so much about. We hope that you continue your support throughout the year!
College Enrollment & Attainment
In its sixth year, College Signing Day, on May 5, saw 1,300 students from 27 high schools being celebrated. This collaborative effort between the San Antonio Education Partnership and café college, UT-Outreach San Antonio, UTSA G-Force, Trinity University’s College Advising Corps, and SA2020 not only celebrates students, but shows them that we are invested in their success. In 2010, our community came together and set a bold vision for the future: By 2020, San Antonio has orchestrated one of the greatest turnarounds in education in the United States. It continued: San Antonio provides access to quality education for all students no matter where they live in our city.
While our high school graduation rates are up, our college attainment numbers and professional certifications remain relatively flat. We need to do a better job of encouraging students to go to and through college. College Signing Day is a day for celebrating opportunity. In 2014, First Lady Michelle Obama came to our city to launch Reach Higher, a national campaign to encourage students to go beyond high school. San Antonio helped launch College Signing Days across the United States, and this year in hundreds of cities across the nation, high school seniors were celebrated. San Antonio doesn’t just dream big in our own city, we inspire others to dream big.
May 6th was Election Day in San Antonio, and more than 116,000 people turned out to vote. This was a dip in percentage of voters because so many of you registered for the presidential election, but we saw a dramatic increase in the number of voters. In fact, we haven’t seen numbers like this since 2005. This is progress. Can we do better? Absolutely. In fact, we’re counting on it. The runoff election takes place on Saturday, June 10 with early voting between May 30 and June 6. At that time, you have an opportunity to select your Mayor and Council Representatives in Districts 1, 2, 6, 8, 9, and 10. And you can vote in the runoff even if you didn’t vote in the first election! There are so many organizations working to increase voter turnout, but the ultimate responsibility rests with you. Let’s shoot for 200,000 voters. Get your friends and family in on the action. Don’t sit on the sidelines for this one. Remember, you said that, “in 2020, San Antonio’s citizens are deeply engaged as elected leaders, business leaders, volunteers, and voters in the process of making government more responsive and accountable to San Antonians.” Visit ilovesanantonio.org for information on the runoff.
So…what’s your place in all this?
1. Find a nonprofit organization that is doing the work that is important to you and give back year round. You can start with a handy list of SA2020 Partners here.
2. Pat a student on the back. We’re in graduation season and students need encouragement to not only go to, but complete their higher education degrees and certificates. And, if you started, but didn’t finish your degree or certificate, check out Upgrade for your opportunity.
3. VOTE! No excuses. Take a friend with you to the polls. Get it done early, then go celebrate. You have the chance to craft the council that will make decisions that affect our city for years to come. Do it!
As always, we are data-driven at SA2020, but most importantly, we are people-powered. Help us continue doing this work by donating here.