Volunteers pull onions for donation. Photo by Scott Ball.
Volunteers pull onions for donation at the San Antonio Food Bank. Credit: Scott Ball / Rivard Report

On Tuesday, Dec. 13, the Baptist Health Foundation of San Antonio (BHFSA) will award $5.7 million in grant money to 88 area nonprofits that focus on health awareness, improvement, and education.

The Baptist Health Foundation of San Antonio focuses on improving health in the community by funding and fostering clinical, educational, spiritual, and scientific initiatives.

“The foundation formed about 12 years ago when the five Baptist hospitals in San Antonio were sold to a for-profit,” said BHFSA President and CEO Cody Knowlton. “The money from that sale founded this foundation. Our mission is to provide grants for health-related causes and we do it in the Lord’s name and through our Baptist heritage.”

Baptist Health Foundation of San Antonio logo.
Baptist Health Foundation of San Antonio logo.

The foundation will host an event from 4:30-6:30 p.m. to honor the awardees at the First Baptist Church, located at 515 McCullough Ave. Free parking and refreshments will be provided. Knowlton told the Rivard Report that the foundation has been hosting the ceremony for about 10 years.

“Coming from an organization of faith built on the Gospels of Christ, I think that what BHFSA does is truly wrapped in the spirit of faith and I think that they really embody that feeling of service by action and by deed,” said San Antonio Food Bank President and CEO Eric Cooper, in response to his organization being one of the grant recipients. “They are really carrying out their ministry.”

BHFSA grants are given to organizations in Atascosa, Bandera, Bexar, Comal, Guadalupe, Kendall, Medina, and Wilson counties.

For a full list of recipients, click here.

San Antonio Food Bank President Eric Cooper commends the trustees and culinary graduates on their accomplishments. Photo by Kathryn Boyd-Batstone.
San Antonio Food Bank President Eric Cooper Credit: Kathryn Boyd-Batstone / Rivard Report

“(BHFSA blesses) so many organizations throughout the counties that they serve and those that receive funds are transformed because of it,” Cooper said. “They really walk the walk and are a great example of charity and sharing and giving for us. It’s a privilege to partner with them and to work to meet basic needs. We couldn’t be more humbled and grateful and more excited about what we can do together to meet those basic needs.”

The Tuesday event also will serve to honor CentroMed CEO Ernesto Gomez with the 2016 Spirit of Health Award. Gomez has dedicated more than 40 years to improving health and wellness in underserved communities.

“(Gomez) has had a passion for helping the underserved since growing up on the Westside in the 1950s,” Knowlton said. “Thanks to a social worker and community activist that saved him from a disastrous past, he has now dedicated his life to serve others.”

Founded in 1973, CentroMed was created as a counseling program for the underserved, but then it transformed into a health care clinic for the underserved and uninsured, Knowlton said. It currently has 21 service sites which serve more than 78,000 people in San Antonio.

“It provides high quality health care to those in need, and many of those are children,” Knowlton said. “The Spirit of Health Award is given to someone in the community who exhibits leadership in improving the health of the community, and Gomez is the fifth recipient of that award.”

Although this year’s grant recipients have already been notified, Knowlton said, Tuesday will be an opportunity to formally issue the awards.

According to the BHFSA website, the foundation – in conjunction with the Baptist Health Services Foundation – has awarded 792 grants totaling $55,468,903 since 2005. In 2015 alone, BHFSA awarded 87 grants totaling $6,655,901. To view a list of past recipients, click here.

BHFSA Grants are limited to:
  • Health care clinics
  • Indigent care programs
  • Assisted living facilities
  • Mobile health and primary care facilities
  • Substance abuse programs
  • Behavioral health facilities
  • Health education scholarships
  • and other not-for-profit health care providers

To learn how to apply for a grant, visit the BHFSA website.

Rocío Guenther

Rocío Guenther

Rocío Guenther worked as a bilingual reporter and editorial assistant for the Rivard Report from June 2016 to October 2017. She is originally from Guadalajara, Mexico and holds a bachelor's in English...