According to Census Bureau data, 75% of low-income families move above the federal poverty line within four years, but half the households slip back under within five years. The Family Independence Initiative is a national organization that addresses this challenge using their UpTogether technology platform to make cash transfers to families within small groups that helps leverage social capital. We partnered with FII to expand their work into San Antonio. Today, FII is supported by the City of San Antonio and a range of local funders, including Methodist Health Ministries and the San Antonio Area Foundation, in addition to support from Google.org.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 53% of people struggling with anxiety, depression, and other issues associated with mental wellness will reach out to a pastor for help rather than to a psychiatrist or a doctor. We have prepared two reports on this topic and continue to partner with Pathways to Hope. Our first report partnered with the Meadows Foundation to explore the role of faith-based organizations in mental health in San Antonio. Then, in the fall of 2018, the Foundation partnered with 13 San Antonio-area Christian congregations and a research team at the University of Texas-San Antonio to study how churches respond to members of their congregations who might be experiencing mental health problems.
The Foundation forms partnerships and and strategies for new approaches to reducing mental health stigma, pre-crisis interventions, and shifting traditional youth serving institutions toward a climate that promotes mental wellness. We are currently a part of a collaborative pilot known as BaseCampus with Communities in Schools—San Antonio and Clarity Child Guidance Center. The project is designed to test the validity of hands-on in person and virtual coaching with teachers and administrators coupled with an online coaching tool that provides professional training and self care to improve classroom climate and the overall student wellbeing.