American Sunrise


Students who are not reading well in third grade are three times more likely to drop out of school before high school graduation.

61% of lower income families have no reading materials available for their children to pick up and read, or pretend to read, in their homes.

American Sunrise Gala



American Sunrise was founded in 2001 by Henry and Mary Alice Cisneros to create communities where working families find housing, economic, and educational opportunities in the neighborhoods where they reside in order to achieve an adequate and equitable standard of living.

They chose to model American Sunrise after a successful program in New York City known as the Children’s Harlem Zone. The idea is to take one square mile and infuse positive energy, programs, and funds into that targeted area in order to make measurable and visibly significant differences and improvements. The one square mile area targeted by American Sunrise includes some of the poorest Census Tracts in the Westside of San Antonio.

This neighborhood is known as Prospect Hill and has always been home for Henry and Mary Alice. They were born, reared, educated, married, and are still proud residents of Prospect Hill and their childhood parish, Sacred Heart Church. This unique model affords Henry and Mary Alice the opportunity to interact with the students and their parents, taking a hands-on approach that radiates hope and success.

Henry & Mary Alice Cisneros
Founders of American Sunrise

80% of students from below poverty level households read below their grade level

Reading early in a child's life is a critical factor in a student's success.