Giving Back: A Cordillera Tradition

By Julie Catalano

The residents of Cordillera Ranch contribute year round to a variety of worthy causes, giving of their time and resources to help make life a little better for others. Here are two recent examples of their generosity.

Cancer Therapy & Research Center (CTRC)

Last May, Jan and Frank Newton and Diane and Phil Pfeiffer hosted a dinner at Cordillera Ranch where fellow residents could learn the latest in research and treatments. The emphasis was on the CTRC’s ambitious goal to obtain two Specialized Programs of Research Excellence (SPORE) grants from the National Cancer Institute that could in turn lead to federal funding of up to $12.5 million for each SPORE.

That evening, Cordillera residents stepped up and joined a Research Circle at CTRC that provided $100,000 to seed this vital initiative — a move that amazed Ian M. Thompson, Jr., M.D., CTRC’s director at the time, and other cancer center physicians and scientists in attendance. With the CTRC matching each donation dollar for dollar for the SPORE initiative, the final tally was a stunning $200,000.

“We feel so blessed to have such a wonderful institution as the CTRC so close to our Cordillera neighborhood,” says Jan Newton, “where many Cordillera friends have supported the CTRC in many other ways as well.”

Fellow host Phil Pfeiffer adds that it wasn’t surprising to see such a community show of support. “Many of our friends and neighbors have directly benefited from the care provided by this world class cancer center.”

“I always purchase tables to the CTRC big annual fundraisers,” says Debbie Pepper, director of membership for The Clubs of Cordillera Ranch and former trustee board member of the CTRC Council.

Special thanks for information contained in this article to Sheri Ortiz, senior director of development, Cancer Therapy & Research Center, part of The University of Texas Health Science Center, now known as UT Health San Antonio™.


210.450.1000  ::

Haven for Hope

Out of the mouths of babes can come a great idea for doing good. For Haven for Hope, a San Antonio-based charity addressing the problem of homelessness in Bexar County, that great idea was in the form of unused soap and shampoo that can help to give a fresh start to those in need.

It all began at a family dinner conversation at the home of Justin Pawl, chief investment officer at Covenant. The theme was giving back to the community, and “as we had hoped, the topic resonated with Savannah, 11, and Gavin, 8,” says Pawl. A brainstorming session ultimately landed on collecting soap and other toiletries for the Haven for Hope campus, where the homeless can come for a shower, meal and safe sleeping place for the night. “I can’t remember which one of them hit on the idea of collecting toiletries,” says Pawl, “but that is what they decided on, and Soap4Hope was born.”

Bill Greehey, founder and chairman of Haven for Hope explains, “Most of us take a bar of soap or a bottle of shampoo for granted, but many at Haven for Hope have lost everything, and they are so appreciative of even the most basic things in life. Providing showers is an important first step in helping the chronically homeless regain their self-esteem. And that’s when the magic begins! We have 93 partners providing 150 different social services on campus — everything from legal services, mental health services and ID recovery to GED, financial literacy and parenting classes to daycare, medical, dental and eye care — Haven for Hope provides the transformative services to help these individuals and families to go on to live happy, independent lives. And it is amazing to see such caring young people like Savannah and Gavin getting involved and doing their part to help those who are less fortunate than themselves. With a $16 million budget and serving approximately 1500 men, women and children every day, I can assure you that every contribution helps.”

Cordillera Ranch and UTSA are the biggest and most regular contributors to the Soap4Hope program. In the Cordillera community, residents Ben and Terry Smith spearhead the collection process of any size of soap, shampoo and other toiletries, including those personal-size amenities brought back from residents’ travels. “I was so impressed with these two young people giving of their time to make the lives of those less fortunate a little brighter,” says Terry Smith.

Adds Pawl: “I think it is every parent’s dream to see their children recognize how blessed they are and in turn, volunteer their own time and energy to help those who are less fortunate. Although it is a relatively small contribution to all of the wonderful services that Haven for Hope provides to the community, the children are thrilled to be a part of it.”

Haven For Hope

210.220.2100  ::


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