Officials from a group of Bexar County partner organizations gathered Nov. 28 to celebrate receiving $114 million to further the group’s goal—called its North Star—of increasing the percentage of high school graduates enrolling in a postsecondary degree or credential program to 70% by 2030.

The framework

The organizations, which include Bexar County, the city of San Antonio, UP Partnership, the H. E. Butt Foundation, Communities in Schools, United Way, the San Antonio Area Foundation and others, are working together on a shared set of goals meant to level the playing field of education.

Those goals have been laid out in a strategic plan called the Future Ready Bexar County plan, according to information on the UP Partnership’s website.

What happened

Local anchor partners and national philanthropic investor Blue Meridian Partners received the $114 million in funding, which officials plan to use to deepen community efforts to achieve the North Star, according to a news release.

“This is a monumental investment in Bexar County’s children and youth, which will, no doubt, have a positive impact on our region’s future,” UP Partnership board Chair Elaine Mendoza said. “This private investment in Bexar County’s young people is geared toward strategic efforts of Future Ready Bexar County partners who are working together to increase San Antonio’s economic well-being.”

The background

The Future Ready Bexar County Plan launched in 2022, setting up the shared vision, language, goals, metrics and support needed to pursue the plan’s North Star. At that early stage, more than 90 organizations committed to the work and identified three focus areas for advancing equity: healing, access and voice for young people.

“Through its equity pillars of healing, access and voice, the Future Ready Bexar County Plan is a national model for how we can strengthen every aspect of our city to better support children and youth,” San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg said.

Breaking it down

The $114 million is funding from a combination of sources, with $64 million in private capital coming from partner institutions, including United Way of San Antonio and Bexar County, the Charles Butt Foundation, the H. E. Butt Foundation, and the San Antonio Area Foundation, according to the news release. Additional funding was provided by USAA, the Greater Texas Foundation and the Methodist Healthcare Ministries of South Texas Inc., according to the news release.

What’s next

The San Antonio Department of Human Services will work with youth-serving delegate agency partners to contribute to Future Ready Bexar County outcomes. The next phase of the plan could include up to $330 million in public resources through 2030, which includes federal Pell grants; college, career and military readiness state funds; and other public money, according to the news release. Blue Meridian Partners has also pledged an investment of $50 million.

“We believe that Future Ready Bexar County is poised to uproot multiple difficult challenges confronting youth and families in poverty in the San Antonio area,” said Othello Meadows, a managing director at Blue Meridian. “The vision set by UP Partnership and its dozens of committed community partners exemplifies why we invest in place-based partnerships through our Place Matters portfolio.