Southwest Key Programs

(Community Matters) Sothwest Keys sent the AAS this response (see earlier post below) from SW Key special projects director Layla Fry;

In response to a previous entry in your blog about Southwest Key’s charter middle school, please be advised that Southwest Key’s CEO does not receive any money from its subsidiaries or affiliates. Southwest Key has formed several subsidiary social enterprises and none of them are privately owned by Dr. Sanchez or any other individual. Those organizations are solely owned by the nonprofit Southwest Key Programs, Inc. They have no shareholders—no one makes money from these businesses – all revenue goes back to support the nonprofit mission. These subsidiaries pay rent and a management fee to the nonprofit parent company for administrative services, a standard practice of good organizational operations.

Southwest Key’s CEO salary information and financial information are all public and can be downloaded from the 990s at, and the organization’s audit statements and annual reports are published on Southwest Key’s website at . The Austin Business Journal’s Book of Philanthropy (pub. 2/29/08 – see attached) lists Southwest Key as the 4th largest nonprofit in Austin with an operating budget of $56.8 million. Southwest Key’s CEO compensation is $200,471, which is lower than the other nonprofits of comparable size in Austin and much lower than the social service industry standard.

Southwest Key’s charter school application was unanimously approved by the State Board of Education. It received the highest score of all applicants in the entire state in TEA’s extremely thorough review process.

Southwest Key has been recognized for its transparency and recently received a near perfect score and an official designation of accreditation from the national independent Council on Accreditation (COA: ). COA accreditation attests that an organization meets the highest national standards of best practice and is delivering the best quality services to the community it serves. The COA accreditation process involves a detailed review and analysis of an organization’s administrative operations and service delivery against national standards of best practice, with a significant emphasis on transparency and ethics. All of Southwest Key’s programs for which COA has a service standard were subject to review as COA reviews and accredits the entire organization, not specific programs. Southwest Key was one of only three nonprofits in Austin to become COA certified.

All of the facts related to Southwest Key’s finances and governance are readily available and posted for public review on Guidestar and the organization’s website, so there is no need to rely on “unconfirmed reports” or intuition about “things not feeling right”.

The reality is that there is a dire need for quality education in East Austin. This neighborhood needs leaders from greater Austin to seek to truly understand the grassroots work going on here and be willing to lend their support to improve the quality of life for those who will be the ultimate beneficiaries – our children.


I am delighted to hear there isn’t an issue. And, I’m confused by the earlier response from SWK’s superintendent of educational programs, “Southwest Key CEO Juan Sanchez does in fact lead several for-profit businesses affiliated with Southwest Key, including a cafe, a landscaping business, and a real estate holding company that IRS filings show has done hundreds of thousands of dollars of business with the Southwest Key non-profit.”

Just ask that this be discussed, disclosed and dealt with. Again, the last time I toured they ran good programs. Imagine they still do. Posted from my blackberry

One response to “Southwest Key Programs

  1. Pingback: More on East Austin College Prep & Southwest Key | Community Matters

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