Meet our members!  AFN’s greatest asset is our members—a diverse network of national, regional, and community-based foundations, financial institutions, and grantmakers—investing in advancing equitable wealth building and economic mobility. Check back each month and meet your peers!   

1: What is the mission of your organization and how is advancing equitable wealth building and economic mobility incorporated into the work?

The San Antonio Area Foundation serves as your most trusted and impactful philanthropic advisor. Our vision is to close the opportunity gaps for those who need it most. As a foundation, we are working to lay out the data to all and illustrate the extreme inequities that exist. That allows others to join us in supporting equitable wealth-building and economic mobility. We invest in ways that recognize there is no simple solution. The Foundation invests in wealth-building programs, advocating and supporting collaboration to make economic mobility for families in San Antonio.


2: How does your organization currently or plan to explicitly and intentionally include and empower people of color in the design of your policies and strategies to close the racial wealth gap?

This is a huge question! The easiest answer is it is a journey, and we have been on it for years. We are looking at everything from internal policies to grant scoring that acknowledges the racial wealth gap and prioritizes closing that. I am very proud of what we have done thus far but know we have a long way to go. One of the many ways we’ve done this is by diversifying our grant selection committee members. The board voted unanimously to create an open application process for anyone across the community. Our new system ensures we look at the city council districts, ages, income, and other demographics to ensure it is representative of our incredible community. We know what a privilege it is to support our community with these funds, so we are intentional about who is at the table to guide those decisions.


3: Where are we lacking investments as a sector that will result in greater economic equity, and how can we address the gap?

That is simple. Asset Building! It is no secret that for some, the ‘traditional’ program giving is what we know. Sometimes we call that downstream approach – helping after the families experience the problems that lack of economic equity can create. Investing in asset building may require a little more socializing and/or explanation, but I believe the possibilities are endless once we can get past that barrier. 

That is why one of the things I am most excited about is the San Antonio Area Foundation’s new role in being a voice for policy change. We live in a city where there have been incredible initiatives focused on economic mobility that have been voted on by our community. We just passed a program called Ready to Work that is funded largely by tax dollars. Ready to Work helps people learn new skills and train for jobs that will provide a livable wage and essential benefits to help build economic mobility.

I am so excited that nonprofits are now looking to us to lend our voice to push economic mobility or asset-building programs and really help to change the trajectory for families. 

Those of us who have been in this work for a while can assume that people know what economic mobility or asset development for low-income families means. We want to help change the narrative so that initiatives like Ready to Work allow our community to see economic mobility as essential for our regional prosperity. 


4: Share a question you would like to raise to your funder colleagues.

This work is a marathon – what do you do to keep that perspective?  How are you connecting on a consistent basis with those we serve?  Proximity to our challenges is most critical!


5: What have been some of the biggest benefits of being part of the Asset Funders Network?

The network with a laser focus on recognizing that asset development is the driving force behind creating the change we all desire.


6: What TV show are you watching and what do you like about it? 

Succession:  It is a great reminder of how ‘power’ moves.  It is critical to remind ourselves of the perspectives of others while we are trying to create equitable opportunities.  It is so radically different from my daily life!


About Patricia Mejia, Vice President of Community Engagement and Impact, San Antonio Area Foundation.

The San Antonio Area Foundation invests in collective impact, capacity building, and strategic initiatives intended to build organizational and community capacity to close the opportunity gaps in the San Antonio area.  We know that talent is universal, opportunity is not, and we see ourselves as a catalyst to create a community where ALL can thrive.

Patricia Mejia, Vice president of Community Engagement and Impact at the San Antonio Area Foundation, focuses on targeted investments to create more equitable communities. Patricia’s 20-plus years as an executive in the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors allow her to use her community voice to lead her team to implement trust-based philanthropic practices and authentic community engagement. She has an MA and BA, both cum laude, from St. Mary’s University, San Antonio, Texas, and completed the Executive Leadership Program at Harvard.