Southwest Key is committed to keeping kids out of institutions and home with their families, in their communities. We do this through three areas of programming: youth justice alternatives, immigrant children's shelters, and education.
Southwest Key also seeks to create opportunities for families to become self-sufficient by offering programming in adult education, community building and workforce development. The inspiring kids and families we work with are seeking the American dream—equality, education, and a healthier quality of life. At Southwest Key, we simply open the doors to opportunity so they can achieve these dreams.
Statement from Southwest Key Programs
"Southwest Key Programs does not support separating families at the border. For 30 years, our work in offering youth justice alternatives, immigrant children's shelters, and education has served to improve the lives of thousands of young people. We believe keeping families together is better for the children, parents and our communities, and we remain committed to providing compassionate care and reunification. For every child who has come through our shelter doors, we start on day one to reunite them with their parents or a family sponsor and to provide the kind of service that will help them thrive. This has been our priority for decades."
FAQs: Frequently Asked Questions
Southwest Key is a national nonprofit organization founded in 1987 to improve the lives of children and their families.
Southwest Key is here to provide quality education, safe shelter and alternatives to incarceration for thousands of youth each day, while helping families become economically self-sufficient.
Southwest Key contracts with government agencies and private foundations to operate three types of programs throughout the country: youth justice programs, charter schools for kids in underserved neighborhoods, and shelters for immigrant youth. Additionally, Southwest Key started a holding company called Southwest Key Enterprises with a portfolio of several small social enterprise businesses. These social enterprises are solely owned by Southwest Key, a non-profit, which means they have no shareholders, and all profits go back to support the Southwest Key mission.
Southwest Key was founded by our current CEO Dr. Juan Sanchez who began by providing services for adolescents, mostly youth of color, who were involved in the youth justice system in Texas. Southwest Key eventually expanded throughout the country, pioneering innovative program models based on the belief that young people are best served in their communities, not institutions. Today, Southwest Key is a national leader in youth program development and replication.
We operate programs in 7 states: Texas, Arizona, California, Georgia, New York, Wisconsin and Florida. Our national headquarters is located in Austin, Texas, home to East Austin College Prep (a free, pubic school for which Southwest Key wrote the charter), and the East Austin Children's Promise initiative.
The inspiring youth and parents we work with are seeking the American dream: equality, education, and a higher quality of life. At Southwest Key, we simply open the doors to opportunity so they can achieve these dreams.
Because of Southwest Key, thousands of youth have been diverted from prisons, jails, and institutions. Immigrant children have been reunified with their families. Children at risk of dropping out have stayed in school. And adults have been equipped to provide for their families.
We individualize our approach to each client and develop flexible service plans in partnership with them. We use data to make decisions and improve our services, which are delivered by persons knowledgeable of cultural, language, and ethnic differences. We build on the strengths of each client to develop their capacity to succeed, keeping their family closely involved whenever possible.
Our budget is drawn primarily from government contracts for youth programs, with additional support from foundations, corporations, special events and private contributions. We are taking innovative steps to become self-sufficient by operating a growing portfolio of social enterprises — businesses which serve a double bottom line: to create good jobs for low income residents while bringing in funds to support our nonprofit mission.
Southwest Key is one of only three nonprofits in Austin to be accredited by the Council on Accreditation, the nation's leading human service accrediting body. We employ creative staff members across the country who represent the cultures of the youth we serve. Southwest Key was recently ranked #4 among the Top 25 Hispanic Nonprofits in America by Hispanic Business Magazine.