Welcome to Baptist Health Foundation of San Antonio’s new blog! For our inaugural post, we invite you to take a closer look at the Foundation itself: its history, current operations, and future goals.
Baptist Health Foundation of San Antonio, or BHFSA, was founded in 2004 after the sale of the nonprofit Baptist Health System to Vanguard Health Systems, a for-profit system (now Tenet Healthcare). The funds from that sale were used to form a foundation, BHFSA, enabling the Baptist community to continue its good work in improving healthcare in Bexar county and seven contiguous counties.
The Foundation operates independently from Tenet Healthcare and the Baptist Health System, but the two organizations maintain a close relationship and collaborate on a number of projects, including the Baptist Health System Clinical Pastoral Education program.
Who we are:
As of 2021, BHFSA has a team of 28 trustees and 5 staff members.
Our trustees are a diverse group of men and women chosen to represent the Baptist community in Bexar, Atascosa, Bandera, Comal, Guadalupe, Kendall, Medina, and Wilson counties. These individuals have a broad range of knowledge and expertise across a number of fields, including healthcare, education, finance, and religion. At BHFSA, trustees are involved and engaged with every step of the grant process.
Our staff is a small team of facilitators, working to bring trustees and nonprofits in our area together. Like our trustees, the staff comes from a broad range of professional backgrounds and strengths.
How we give:
Over the course of a yearly cycle, we give away approximately 100 grants to local nonprofit organizations. These grants vary in size, from $2,500 to $1 million. Grant dollars are used to fund a wide variety of projects, all related to improving the physical, spiritual, mental and community health of our area.
BHFSA’s grantmaking cycle is one calendar year. This lets us give due attention to multiple concurrent processes with varying deadlines and requirements. The staff prepares the grantmaking infrastructure, researches community health issues, and converses with applicants throughout the year. Our dedicated committees of trustees gather together frequently to review submitted grant applications. The trustees and staff usually visit the site where the grant will be used, in order to better understand the project. At the end of the year, grants are awarded and grantees are invited to celebrate with BHFSA in some way.
Even after grants have been awarded, BHFSA continues to communicate with grantees. Part of this communication is practical—we ask for a final report on how the granted project or program went. However, we communicate on a relational level as well. We value connection with nonprofits and are always happy to help, encourage, and pray for them.
Last year’s giving:
In 2020, BHFSA awarded 111 grants totaling $8,159,718. This included grants to local food banks and health clinics, autism support centers and schools for children with disabilities, community gardens and equitherapy centers, and a $1 million grant to UT Health for their research in childhood obesity and diabetes.
Obviously, 2020 presented a unique set of challenges. Many nonprofits were forced to address problems they could never have predicted. Loss of their volunteer force, an amplified reluctance to attend programming, limited social distancing spaces, an increased demand for goods—almost all nonprofits felt these changes in their own way.
Here at BHFSA, we faced our own set of difficulties as well. All trustee meetings took place virtually, and so did many site visits. We did attend some site visits in person, sitting with 3 or 4 other people in a conference room designed for thirty, bumping elbows or waving instead of shaking hands or hugging, and having our temperatures taken up to 3 times in a day. Throughout all of this, we were impressed by the grace and competence of our grantees.
The heart of BHFSA:
Everything BHFSA does is accomplished through and for the glory of God. This is the heart of our mission and fuels every decision made by the trustees. Every meeting involves prayer and thoughtful contemplation of what God would have us do. We love our community and want to serve our neighbors as we were instructed in Galatians 5:14: “For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
We hope that this blog can become a window into our Foundation. Often, charitable funders are perceived as distant or unreachable. Baptist Health Foundation of San Antonio hopes to avoid that image — we are called to be known for our humility, compassion, generosity and love. Because of this, we look forward to sharing with our readers some insight into our Foundation and its world. Please feel free to email us with any questions you might have, or reach out to us on social media.