History & Mission

Our History

In 1954, a small group of women led by Mrs. Dorothy Fair saw children in their community suffering and in need. Inspired by Mrs. Fair and her philosophy of “Wrap the big hand around the little hand,” this group of women sprang to action to help children, especially those with special needs and families disrupted by violence or financial hardship. They committed to devoting their hard work and resources to supporting struggling children’s agencies and charities, many of which did not receive funding from the Community Chest (now the United Way), especially for desperately needed “bricks and mortar” projects. With 114 founding members, they sponsored one of the very first fundraising balls in the country on October 28, 1954, and all of the proceeds ($25,000) went to Sunshine Cottage and Boysville — enabling both to expand their facilities and serve more children. Thus, The Chrysanthemum Ball was born!

The following year, the group was organized formally as The Charity Ball Association of San Antonio, Inc. with a Board of Directors that included eight women and eight men from the community. This original structure of the organization remains essentially the same today. The Association consists of up to 140 active members called Sponsors and is governed by an expanded 25-member Board, including 11 officers, who are elected annually.

Over the years The CBA has introduced additional fundraising projects, including the Rotogravure, the Children’s Book, Patron Contributions, Ball Prize Ticket Sales, and an Online Auction.

Our Mission

The mission of the Charity Ball Association of San Antonio, Inc. is to support and enhance the quality of life for children of Bexar County.

Dorothy Fair photo

Our Work

The primary work of The CBA comprises producing its fundraising projects each year, reviewing and performing due diligence for the grant requests from children’s charities, selecting the recipients of the grants, and monitoring and ensuring the proper use of funds. Every Chrysanthemum Ball is the culmination of an entire year’s work. All of the work is performed by volunteers from The Charity Ball Association.

Every year The CBA invites agencies serving children in Bexar County to submit a grant proposal. Some of the charities are small and unrecognized, but valuable to the children in that area of the county. The CBA members visit many agency applicants in person to observe them firsthand and evaluate the children’s needs in relation to the grant proposal. As part of the grant process, CBA members make follow-up visits to grantees to ensure funds have been spent properly. Retaining its original objectives and methods, when appropriate, it works closely to mesh its grants with other funders’ resources in the defined geographic areas, thus leveraging efforts in ways that can be measured.

CBA’s legacy of compassion and efficiency ensures that CHILDREN BENEFIT ALWAYS.