CAST Schools » Press » Foundation of the late theater chain owner John Santikos donates million

Foundation of the late theater chain owner John Santikos donates $3 million

Last year, Martin Romo read in a cubicle in the business lab at CAST Tech, an in-district charter school that received a $250,000 gift from the John L. Santikos Charitable Foundation on Thursday. The money will go toward renovating a second building that will house juniors and seniors next year.

A San Antonio in-district charter high school that aims to prepare students for careers in technology and business got closer to that goal Thursday, thanks to a $250,000 gift from late movie theater mogul John L. Santikos.

CAST Tech in the San Antonio Independent School District — it stands for the Centers for Applied Science and Technology — opened to freshmen last fall and will admit sophomores, starting Monday. The gift will go toward renovating a second, unused vocational building at Fox Tech High School to house juniors and seniors next fall, officials said.

“This type of partnership improves outcomes for students and creates a pipeline of future employees in San Antonio,” said CAST Tech Principal Melissa Alcala.

CAST was one of five nonprofits that received a “capital naming rights” gift from the John L. Santikos Charitable Foundation, which altogether distributed $3 million throughout this week.

That sort of gift happens every two years and goes to projects that involve building a facility that will bear the Santikos name in some form or fashion.

Santikos, who died in 2014, built Texas’ largest family-owned theater chain and invested in real estate. In his will, he donated the operating income from his movie theaters and other assets to the San Antonio Area Foundation, which manages the estate and makes the annual distributions.

This year, the total amount of funds from the Santikos estate available for gifts is $20 million, said Rebecca “Becca” Brune, president and chief operating officer of the area foundation.

The $17 million remaining will be distributed throughout the year to various nonprofits, projects, disaster relief and other charitable causes, she said.

The first naming rights funding took place in 2016, when $9 million was donated to various organizations. This year, the foundation received $96 million in requests from nonprofits hoping to be selected.

“So it’s quite an honor for those six to be selected,” Brune said. “It’s such a competitive process.”

The other recipients and projects were:

Texas Public Radio ($750,000), to help renovate a portion of the historic Alameda Theater to serve as its new headquarters, and to underwrite programming.

San Antonio Botanical Garden Society ($500,000), to construct an eight-foot -tall cascading fountain.

Boys & Girls Club ($500,000), to assist in transforming an underutilized baseball field next to the nonprofit’s Eastside Clubhouse into a youth development park.

Hill Country Daily Bread ($500,000), to help create an 8,000-square-foot training center, commercial kitchen and amphitheater.

San Antonio College’s Scobee Education Center ($500,000), to support the John L. Santikos Micronauts program, which encourages youth to pursue science, technology and other STEM-related fields.

The naming funds are used to leverage gifts from other donors in order to help complete a capital campaign, Brune said. Overall, Santikos’ donations tend to flow to causes that were close to his heart: Public parks, radio and TV; seniors; the arts and culture; mental health, medical research, education and more.

Melissa Fletcher Stoeltje is a staff writer in the San Antonio and Bexar County area. Read her on our free site,, and on our subscriber site, | | Twitter: @mstoeltje

Source: San Antonio Express-News By: Melissa Fletcher Stoeltje

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The Centers for Applied Science and Technology (CAST) Network is a tax-exempt organization as described in Section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Service code. CAST Schools are partnership schools with a focus on STEM careers, project based learning and work-based learning. Key partners include public school districts, higher education institutions, and local employers from target industries.