Whether helping families put food on the table during the government shutdown or aiding refugees who arrive in our community with little more than the clothes they wear, we’ve recently seen the tireless work San Antonio-area nonprofits do for our community.
Beyond providing aid to those in need, these agencies also raise awareness of important issues, provide education and create proactive programs to tackle some of the toughest crises we face. Many have been honored for the innovative projects they undertake.
To be sure, myriad nonprofits do great work in San Antonio, but these stand out for their lasting impact and their commitment to creating a positive change in our community. If you’re interested in devoting time or dollars to creating a better world, consider this a starting place to finding a nonprofit that matches your passion.
San Antonio Food Bank
The Food Bank works with hundreds of partner agencies to help feed 58,000 people in our community every week. In addition to covering their basic food needs, the agency provides nutritional education, farmer’s markets and even pet programs. It also operates with a low overhead, meaning 98 percent of donations go directly to the people it serves. safoodbank.org.
As Texas’ largest immigration legal services provider, the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services has been a frontline participant in the debate forced by the Trump administration’s immigration policies. In addition to its advocacy, the group offers consultations, direct legal service and representation to immigrant and refugee communities. In 2017, the organization’s staff closed 51,000 cases at no cost to its clients. RAICESTexas.org.
Animal Defense League
The Animal Defense League maintains a true no-kill shelter for abandoned, abused or neglected dogs and cats in San Antonio. The 84-year-old nonprofit strives to improve the quality of life for animals by providing medical care — including spaying and neutering — as well as food, shelter and compassion. adltexas.org.
Inner City Development
This community-based organization works to fulfill the emergency, educational and recreational needs of people living in the near West Side of San Antonio, specifically in the vicinity of the Alazan-Apache Public Housing Project. It’s been active in these neighborhoods — among Bexar County’s most economically deprived — since 1968. innercitydevelopment.org.
San Antonio AIDS Foundation
South Texas’ oldest and largest HIV/AIDS service organization provides free testing to around 6,000 people annually in and around San Antonio. Its 818 Grayson St. center also serves 2,000 people with HIV or AIDS yearly. Among its services, it helps clients with prescriptions, doctors’ appointments and applications for financial help. sanantonioaids.org.
San Antonio Humane Society
The Humane Society shelters and provides medical care and rehabilitation for thousands of dogs and cats annually. Since it does not euthanize dogs and cats to create more space at its shelter, every treatable pet remains in its care until it can find a home or place the animal with another no-kill organization. sahumane.org.
SAMM has been helping local families achieve financial self-sufficiency since the early 1980s. The ministry’s Homeless Prevention Services nips family crises in the bud by offering rental and utility assistance to people facing eviction or who have recently lost their homes. samm.org.
Big Brothers Big Sisters
Interaction with a supportive adult can help kids maintain stability and achieve their life goals. Big Brothers Big Sisters has spent a century pairing kids facing adversity with mentors who can work one-on-one to provide the inspiration and support needed as they move toward adulthood. bigmentor.org.
Embassy of Hope
Domestic violence, sexual abuse and human trafficking are present in every community, San Antonio included. Faith-based Embassy of Hope helps children, adults and families struggling to overcome the trauma of these social ills. embassyofhopecenter.org.
Meals on Wheels
Each weekday, Meals on Wheels prepares and delivers meals to nearly 4,000 homebound seniors in Bexar County. Beyond delivering nutritious food, volunteers provide the vital human contact that can help seniors stay independent and avoid nursing homes and hospitals. mowsatx.org.
The work of the Children’s Shelter goes well beyond offering beds for children in crisis. The organization helps locate foster care and operates a mental health clinic for traumatized kids. In addition, its educational programs guide families through periods of hardship, allowing children to grow up in a safe and loving environment. childrensshelter.org.
Interfaith Welcome Coalition
The Welcome Coalition works closely with RAICES to provide a helping hand to refugees, asylum seekers and at-risk immigrants, many of whom flee dangerous situations in their home countries with no money or resources. Beyond offering basic support to these new arrivals, the faith-based group advocates for better treatment of immigrants. interfaithwelcomecoalition.org.
The Rape Crisis Center
In addition to free and confidential counseling, the Rape Crisis Center provides 24-hour crisis intervention and a prevention education program designed to promote healthy relationships and positive social change. One of its key goals is to empower survivors to stop sexual violence. rapecrisis.com.
Healthy Futures of Texas
Each year, 35,000 young women in Texas become pregnant before they turn 20, and many enter adulthood with a burden for which they’re unprepared. Healthy Futures uses science-based approaches to develop educational programs to reduce unwanted pregnancies and empower teenagers to make smart family-planning choices. hf-tx.org.
Lone Star Justice Alliance
The Justice Alliance works to redirect youth and young adults out of Texas’ justice system and into community-based treatment programs that can break the school-to-prison pipeline and save them from a cycle of recidivism. The incarceration rates of young people of color is nine times that of their white counterparts, suggesting there’s plenty of work to be done. lonestarjusticealliance.org.