80/20 Foundation Donates $600K for New San Antonio Tech High School

San Antonio—The San Antonio nonprofit 80/20 Foundation is giving Tech Bloc a $600,000 grant for an effort to construct a new high school focused on technology and entrepreneurship, called CAST Tech.

Tech Bloc, a San Antonio tech-focused advocacy group, plans to seek a dollar-for-dollar match for the grant. It’s starting a foundation that will work to raise the funding from local businesses and the public, called TechBloc-4-TechEd Foundation.

In June, Texas grocer H-E-B and its CEO Charles Butt announced plans to spend $3.6 million to create a system of charter high schools, starting with one that will focus on technology and entrepreneurship. That funding is separate from the new 80/20 Foundation grant. H-E-B plans to provide money to each of the schools when they open, according to a press release.

The new school will have a typical core curriculum, along with teaching skills in specializations such as cybersecurity, coding, or video game development, as well as business practices, Tech Bloc’s volunteer CEO David Heard said in June. (Heard is a marketing executive at San Antonio tech firm SecureLogix.)

“We cannot think of an initiative more catalytic than the new CAST Tech High School,” Lorenzo Gomez, the executive director of the 80/20 Foundation, said in a press release. The school “will serve as a model for cities across the country on how to build a world-class talent engine.”

The school, which is scheduled to open in 2017 with an incoming class of 150 freshmen, is located in downtown San Antonio near the city’s startup hubs, such as Geekdom and the San Antonio Entrepreneur Center. The school’s organizers are considering potential internships or other programs in partnership with the local startup community.

The 80/20 Foundation was founded by Rackspace chairman and co-founder Graham Weston with the goal of investing in “the 20 percent of initiatives that will have 80 percent of the impact in San Antonio,” Gomez said in the statement. Gomez is also the director of Geekdom.

In 2014, Gomez, Heard, and investor Lew Moorman, along with a few others, first developed the idea for Tech Bloc, a 501(c)(6) nonprofit designed to promote business, as a way to bolster the San Antonio economy, in particular the tech sector.

David Holley is Xconomy's national correspondent based in Austin, TX. You can reach him at dholley@xconomy.com Follow @xconholley

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