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President POV

San Antonio Strong
by Jenna Saucedo-Herrera

The start of 2020 signaled a new beginning for communities across the United States. But now, a few short months in, we are facing an unprecedented challenge that will alter everything from how we run our businesses to how we shop for groceries. The national and global response to the COVID-19 pandemic is impressive and empowering. And it will continue to be critical for our nation to strike the right balance in our response to preserve our public and economic health. In these uncertain times, I am further encouraged by the strength our San Antonio community is showing - led by our anchor businesses helping our most vulnerable and affecting positive change.

We all know and love our H-E-B, one of San Antonio’s largest headquarters, and the team that is working around the clock to keep shelves stocked with essentials as our region prepares to stay home. H-E-B is currently hiring temporary positions at their San Antonio area stores to help provide our essentials and keep Texans working. H-E-B also committed $3 million in support of statewide organizations fighting COVID-19 and food banks supporting our most vulnerable citizens.

Valero is another San Antonio staple that is leading efforts to keep us safe. The company donated $1.8 million to help the communities most affected by COVID-19, with particular focus on the San Antonio Blood and Tissue Center, Meals on Wheels, and the Family Service Association, to name a few.

San Antonio giant, USAA, proved once again that they “know what it means to serve” by donating $1 million to help local nonprofits provide food, housing, blood, and other vital support as they help local families manage through the pandemic. The San Antonio Area Foundation has also partnered with United Way to provide grant funding to nonprofits in the region who are helping. Our corporate community has proven to be compassionate and generous in times of need.

Spurs Sports & Entertainment is acting rapidly to mitigate the negative impacts on their team members while the NBA league season has been postponed. In addition to continuing to pay part-time staff, they are also providing online modules so that each employee can continue to enhance his or her education and professional development during this time.

Our hospitality industry has already been hit hard and we know the continued effects will be felt by the thousands of workers in that field. Unprecedented collaboration among educators, workforce and economic developers, and industry is working on low-or-no-cost ways for hospitality workers to reskill or upskill into careers as coders, developers, graphic designers, and more.

San Antonio is strong. We have a resilient economy and I’m confident we’ll weather this storm together. It’s because of that unity, we’ll not only survive, but thrive on the other side. Our strength is captured by our partners at SA2020, the nonprofit that holds us all accountable to the Community Vision. The organization is compiling and highlighting incredible acts of support and solidarity on a landing page: WeIsGreater.org. Thinking about the big picture, beyond thinking about ourselves, is how we will overcome.

During this time more than ever, SAEDF is a resource for San Antonio businesses. The entire community has prioritized safety, with business continuity close behind. SAEDF is working to connect businesses and the workforce with new and existing resources to help navigate the challenges in front of us.

While 2020 won’t be the year we planned for, we’ll continue to work together. I’m proud of our community and look forward to the brighter days we all have ahead of us.