Making a Difference.
One Square Mile at a Time.

American Sunrise has served as a catalyst in the revitalization of neighborhoods by providing educational and economic opportunities that improve the lives of children and working families since 2001.

American Sunrise serves students and parents in the San Antonio Independent School District. These students and parents, and specifically those parents in the Census Tract where the Learning Center is located, come from economically distressed families.

According to the US Census Bureau, in the targeted geographic area served, 41% of adults 25 years or older did not graduate from high school, and 27% of residents live below the poverty line. Ninety-two percent (92%) of students are economically disadvantaged and 70% are at risk academically.


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 Cisneros served as HUD Secretary and Mayor of San Antonio. He is currently Chairman of the Executive Committee and a Principal of Siebert, Brandford, Shank & Co., LLC and Founder & Chairman of CityView. Mary Alice served as City Councilwoman for San Antonio’s downtown District and as a Trustee for the San Antonio Independent School District. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for the San Antonio Women’s Hall of Fame, Project Quest and the National Council of La Raza. Both are active Board Members and Founders of American Sunrise.