San Antonio, Texas

This success story was originally published as a 2018 All-America City Award project description and is reprinted courtesy of the National Civic League. Learn more about the award program here.

The San Antonio Office of Equity, in partnership with SA2020, applied an equity impact assessment to seven high-impact City initiatives, including street maintenance, civic engagement to inform the city’s budget, and boards and commissions. One assessment resulted in new outreach strategies, such as  SA Speak Up, which reduced the gap between white and Latino respondents by attracting 200 people to its first Spanish-language Community Night, a family-friendly event held in a park with food, activities, and health screenings.

Three project examples showing how this community leverages civic engagement, collaboration, inclusiveness and innovation to successfully address local issues:

1.  Enroll SA
As part of San Antonio’s visioning project, SA2020, residents identified healthy lifestyles as an important part of life in the city. Although 75 percent of Bexar County residents under age 65 had health insurance in 2010, the community set the goal of increasing the number of insured people to 85 percent by 2020.

In 2013, a collaborative working group of every major local hospital, the County, the City, and multiple community-based organizations, began working together to determine the best way to increase enrollment in health insurance throughout the community.

EnrollSA, Get Bexar Covered,” an outreach campaign and website, were launched in February 2014. The coalition worked to educate the public about the Affordable Care Act (ACA), including eligibility and deadlines, and provided individual enrollment assistance during large, public events and through appointments citywide.

During each ACA enrollment period, the coalition used data and community partnerships to boost the number of people enrolled. The coalition targeted zip codes with the greatest needs. Examples of partnerships included: Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, a public service organization of mostly African-American women, called people who needed help, and Univision had a phone bank with volunteer Spanish speakers to boost Latinx enrollment. The coalition also used an existing 211 phone service to connect individuals to navigators.

In 2016, 81.6% of residents under 65 had health insurance. Members of the EnrollSA coalition are still working collaboratively to assist residents not only during open enrollment periods, but year-round – continuing their role in ensuring 85% of San Antonians under age 65 are insured

2.  San Antonio Teen Pregnancy Collaborative
Teen pregnancy has been a major problem in Bexar County, with 2010 rates among the highest in the United States. That distinction didn’t sit well, so the San Antonio Teen Pregnancy Prevention Collaborative (SATPPC) was formed to reduce the teen birth rate among females ages 15 to 19.

The SATPPC included an impressive list of cross-sector organizations, including:

  • Public entities,
  • Community-based organizations, as well as
  • Faith-based and secular institutions.

While the numbers still show that Bexar County has one of the highest rates, the collaborative has reduced teen pregnancy steadily since it began its work.

The collaborative has been hitting its targets before the group’s self-imposed deadlines. In 2012, for example, the teen pregnancy rate was down 15 percent, its 2020 goal. By 2014, the rate fell by 25 percent, its revised 2020 goal. So far, the teen pregnancy rate is on track to meet its latest target—a 50 percent cut—by 2020. Between 2010 to 2015, the rates have fallen for ages 15 to 19 among Latina teens, from 65.4 per 1,000 to 39.0, and among African American teens, from 45.6 per 1,000 to 25.3.

This collaborative identified a need to shore up evidence-based programs that focus on behavioral risk factors and to address other determinants of teen behaviors such as the level of parents’ education, access to medically-accurate information, and teens’ knowledge of factual medically-based information.

The collaborative also identified five intervention areas:

  1. Community mobilization,
  2. Stakeholder education,
  3. Evidence-based programs,
  4. Youth support and development, and
  5. Quality adolescent health care.

3.  Upgrade

Launched in April 2017, Upgrade is managed by the non-profit San Antonio Education Partnership, in collaboration with several organizations including the city, the county, SA2020, the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, and SA Works, an industry-led strategic workforce development organization aligning education providers with private sector demand to promote economic mobility.

The program targets adults who want to finish their degrees. Upgrade’s advisers work with individuals and employers seeking to upskill their employees by

  • helping them explore options for the right college and program;
  • providing guidance about financial aid, college transfers, and transcript evaluation; and
  • connecting potential students to community resources such as childcare and financial planning.

In the first eight months, 641 adults have inquired, with 512 completing the intake form. Of those who inquired, 69% identify as Latino/a, 7% as African American, 9% as White, 4% as multi-racial, and 11% did not identify.

Upgrade is part of a 22-city network supporting adult learners; San Antonio is the first in Texas. Upgrade stems from the work of SA2020’s Talent Pipeline Task Force, which addressed workforce and attainment through a coalition of employers, workforce development leaders, chambers of commerce, and postsecondary education and social service providers.

The task force developed a plan to better connect education and training to three industries:

  • Healthcare and Biosciences;
  • Information Technology and Cybersecurity; and
  • Advanced Manufacturing, with a specific focus on Transportation Manufacturing, or Automotive and Aerospace.

The task force believed focusing on adult learners could shift economic and educational outcomes.

Additional Resources

Meet the Manager


Sheryl L. Sculley

City Manager
Sheryl Sculley is the city manager of San Antonio, Texas, the chief executive officer of the municipal corporation of 12,000 employees, an annual operating and capital budget of $2.7 billion, assets of $24 billion, and a city population of 1.5 million residents. With more than 30 years of executive management experience, Sculley was recruited to lead the municipal corporation of the city of San Antonio in 2005. Sheryl was recruited more than a decade ago to San Antonio to overhaul an underperforming city organization. During her tenure, she has replaced the city’s executive staff with some of the nation’s best management talent; increased financial reserves from 3% to 10% of the annual budget; completed more than $2 billion in infrastructure improvements; reduced the property tax rate four times; streamlined city business systems and eliminated 1,600 civilian positions; improved customer service; and elevated the professionalism of city management. One of Sculley’s primary responsibilities is financial management of the City of San Antonio. She has successfully balanced 12 city budgets while elevating the financial standing of the city. The city’s general obligation (G.O.) bond rating by Standard and Poor’s, Moody’s, and Fitch rating services is AAA, a first for the City of San Antonio in 2008 under Sculley’s leadership. Of the top ten largest cities in the U.S., only San Antonio has a G.O. bond rating of AAA from all three major rating agencies. The AAA ratings have been reaffirmed for eight consecutive years. Excerpted from the San Antonio, Texas, website: