Peer Learning Cohorts

Select nonprofits work together for 36 months to become more efficient and effective leaders so their organizations operate at peak performance.

What we do

Each year, our Capacity Building Program forms a Peer Learning Cohort consisting of select nonprofits that agree to work together for 36 months at becoming more efficient, effective, and cooperative. They dig deep on leadership development, continuous learning processes, managing, planning, oversight, and generating resources. The goal: to help vital nonprofits operate at peak performance.

The organizations involved represent a breadth of services being offered in San Antonio, from after-school activities to distressed housing restoration to mental health support and more. Each nonprofit is provided with an external assessment using the Impact Capacity Assessment Tool (iCAT), which helps orient them to the work ahead. In the first year, cohort members meet on five occasions, connecting through peer learning opportunities, and creating the potential for lasting collaborations that can benefit communities for years to come.

⭐️ Cohort Spotlight ⭐️

A series of emails that began last year featuring the amazing work of our partner organizations and those they serve. A list of all the partners can be found here.

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2021-2022 Cohort

American Indians in Texas at the Spanish Colonial Missions | Website

The mission of the American Indians in Texas (AIT) at the Spanish Colonial Missions is to work for the preservation and protection of the culture and traditions of the Tap Pilam Coahuiltecan Nation and other indigenous people of the Spanish Colonial Missions in South Texas and Northern Mexico through education, research, community outreach, economic development projects, and legislative initiatives. Family wellness programs include our San Antonio Fatherhood Campaign, counseling, restorative practices programming for youth, as well as other educational programs and events.

San Anto Cultural Arts | Website

San Anto Cultural Arts was founded in 1993 with the mission to foster human and community development through community-based arts. A focus on art through community engagement led to the creation of our community-based arts programs: the Community Mural Program, El Placazo Community Newspaper, and our After School Arts Program. These dynamic programs engage residents and foster the talents of youth by educating them on the history and techniques of public art while documenting and preserving the rich history of San Antonio’s Westside.

Healthy Futures of Texas | Website

Healthy Futures of Texas is a statewide nonprofit organization that works to reduce unplanned and teen pregnancies through science-based education and advocacy that empower youth, women, and families to make the best decisions for their futures. Our vision is that every youth has access to evidence-based sexual health education, and access to the health care they need to protect their health and avoid an unplanned pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV.

  • In 2006, we began dissemination of Big Decisions, an evidence-informed sex ed curriculum, throughout Texas, which is now approved for use in more than 40 Texas districts.
  • In 2012 we formed the Texas Women’s Healthcare Coalition, which advocates for preventative healthcare access for women and families across Texas. In 2014, a group of students we served wanted to advocate for more resources and medically accurate sex ed and formed our Youth Advocacy Council.
  • In 2015, we began BAE-B-SAFE, our outreach strategy at four Alamo Community Colleges that provides sex ed and clinical referrals. In 2021, we expanded BAE-B-SAFE to two Austin Community Colleges campuses.
Maestro Entrepreneur Center | Website

The mission of Maestro Entrepreneur Center is to grow small, minority, woman, and veteran-owned businesses beyond the $1 million mark in revenue to promote economic mobility. Their programs include a 12-week cohort program for small businesses; support groups for cohort entrepreneurs; a women in leadership panel; and a one-week youth program introducing the spirit of entrepreneurship and leadership skills to the next generation of entrepreneurs that they are working to expand over a longer period of time.

Prosper West | Website

Prosper West is a nonprofit organization that includes a coalition of community members and area partners working together to make the Westside of San Antonio a more prosperous place for families and businesses through our “Big Six” model which includes housing and real estate, small businesses, cultural preservation, community engagement, promotion and marketing, and placemaking and activation. Prosper West aims to implement planning and economic development initiatives that promote growth, revitalization, and economic opportunities while also preserving existing residents and businesses, enhancing our local culture and history, and creating a viable, sustainable, and thriving urban community.

San Antonio Education Partnership | Website

For more than 30 years, the San Antonio Education Partnership (SAEP) has been a pillar in the San Antonio community. Originally founded in 1989, SAEP’s mission is to create college opportunities, access, and success for our community. We provide students, no matter their place in life, the opportunity to access higher education through our four programs: Cafécollege is a centrally-located “one-stop-shop” dedicated to providing college access information, resources, and opportunities to students of all ages:

  • the Road to Success (R2S) program serves students at 35 high schools from 10 school districts across San Antonio and Bexar County. Advisors provide direction in achieving college access and success;
  • The SAEP Scholarship is offered to all graduating seniors at 34 partnering high schools, awarding $2.1 each year; and
  • The Upgrade program utilizes a case-management approach to assist adult students who have previously stopped out of school to return and complete an undergraduate credential.

Previous Cohorts

Cohort 4 (2020-2021)
Cohort 3 (2019-2020)
Cohort 2 (2018-2019)
Cohort 1 (2017-2018)

Contact

Capacity Building is based out of our San Antonio office at 153 Treeline Park, Suite 330, San Antonio, TX 78209. For inquiries, please contact María Fernández.


Capacity Building Program Director

MARÍA A. FERNÁNDEZ

mfernandez@hebfdn.org | 830-315-9316

María joined the H. E. Butt Foundation after serving for four years as the Senior Director of Diversity and Equity Leadership Development for a national nonprofit developing teachers as policy, elected, and community organizing leaders. Over her 22-year career, she has led a variety of initiatives in California and Texas, including spearheading cross-sector initiatives at the John W. Gardner Center for Youth and their Communities at Stanford University. Fully bilingual and biliterate in Spanish and English, María also ran her own translation and interpretation business for over 10 years.

Prior to launching her career, María earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Relations from Stanford University and a Master of Education degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. María also earned her Certificate in Diversity and Inclusion from Cornell University in 2019. She lives in San Antonio with her husband, a bilingual-bicultural studies university professor, and her two bilingual children.

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