Bequest Changes San Antonio’s Future

When John Santikos decided to leave the bulk of his estate to the San Antonio Area Foundation, the region’s school students, senior citizens, victims of domestic abuse, and families recovering from natural disasters had no idea they would soon have access to new and expanded services from countless invigorated nonprofits. But the $605 million gift is already having an impact and the eight Texas counties Santikos sought to benefit are looking ahead to a much brighter future.

At the time of the gift, Dennis E. Noll, President and CEO of the San Antonio Area Foundation, said, “this truly is a transformative gift from our dear friend John Santikos. The Area Foundation is humbled and grateful to have the tremendous responsibility in continuing his legacy. He led a quiet, private life, but his final acts in life to prepare for the future of others speak loudly upon his legacy and showcase the visionary that he was, both in business and civic-minded matters.”

Mr. Santikos passed in 2014 and, in keeping with his request, funding from the John L. Santikos Charitable Foundation will go toward the following areas in eight Texas counties:

  • People in need (seniors, special needs, victims of child abuse and disaster relief)
  • Youth and education (K-12 and higher education)
  • Public libraries, parks and museums
  • Arts and culture
  • Medicine, healthcare and medical research

According to the Area Foundation, approximately $6.6M in memorial gifts went out in 2015. The sum was broken down in 141 grants to 113 agencies, four of which will honor the late entrepreneur with naming rights (San Antonio’s Southwest School of Art, the largest grant recipient, announced the renaming of the Navarro Campus building to the John L. Santikos Building).

Now in 2016, the Area Foundation plans to grant another $12 million in line with Mr. Santkos’s stated philanthropic goals.

Although the size of Mr. Santikos’s gift is remarkable – it was the largest charitable gift in the United States in 2015 – the way in which the San Antonio Area Foundation is honoring his charitable intent is, in fact, the practice of community foundations across the country.

At the Community Foundation of New Jersey, we work with individuals to plan their philanthropic legacies – often through Legacy Funds.  This fund type enables charitable New Jerseyans to support programs, causes, and communities they are passionate about, for generations to come. And by leveraging the Community Foundation’s awareness and expertise, dollars will go to the most promising or effective programs.

Families who contribute to or establish Legacy Funds enable the Community Foundation to respond quickly and nimbly to ever-changing community needs. Because of the contemporaneous and local stewardship of these funds, they are often timeless in terms of impact.

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