2020 Friends Alliance
Awards Recipients

For Civic Engagement:
Friends of Casa Navarro

Casa Navarro is a small 1850’s adobe and limestone house in downtown San Antonio in what was once known as the “Laredito” or “Little Laredo” neighborhood. It is the former home of José Antonio Navarro—an advocate of Tejano civil rights, a signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence, and a writer of the Texas State Constitution.

The Friends of Casa Navarro was organized in 2006 by Sylvia Navarro, a descendent of José Navarro. Today, the core group consists largely of Navarro descendants and others connected to San Antonio’s history.

Since its founding, the group has promoted the site as an important historical asset. They have created city-wide recognition with programs like their college scholarship competition; statewide recognition with a cenotaph of Navarro that stands in the Texas State Cemetery; and even international recognition, when members of the group exchanged visits with dignitaries from the island of Corsica to recognize the ancestral homeland of José Navarro.

In 2017, the Friends of Casa Navarro initiated the site’s designation as a National Historic Landmark and publicized it with a day-long celebration featuring elected officials, television personalities, a local youth choir, over 300 attendees, and plenty of media.

Then, in 2018, the Friends of Casa Navarro worked with the San Antonio Tricentennial Commission to make Casa Navarro the site of an official San Antonio 300 Event, featuring Navarro’s birthday celebration and a special appearance by a Corsica dignitary.

Of the group’s notable civic engagements over the past several years, one of the most critical is its tireless, ongoing efforts to advocate for the site to the City of San Antonio and Bexar County to maintain the significance of Casa Navarro while it stands surrounded by redevelopment projects.

Due to the Friends of Casa Navarro’s persistent advocacy, this small historic house—nestled deep in a vast and growing city—is well-positioned for continued recognition and even greater prominence in its connection to public access. That is no small feat.

For Friendraising:
Friends of Caddo Mounds

Caddo Mounds is the East Texas archeological site of a Caddo Indian village built more than 1,200 years ago. Today, among the Pineywoods landscape, visitors learn about the Caddo people and their history where earthen mounds stand as evidence of the ancient civilization.

The Friends of Caddo Mounds was formed less than seven years ago by a dedicated group of individuals passionate about the site’s archeology and who share a deep respect for Native American culture. The group has since grown from a fledgling collection of founding members and has more than tripled its membership with an extensive action-oriented volunteer network.

While the group’s core members are from the surrounding communities of Lufkin, Nacogdoches, Jacksonville, and Crockett, members will arrive from as far away as San Antonio, Dallas, and Houston when there’s a project that needs extra volunteers. Some drive more than 5 hours to reach the site.

In addition to its network, the Friends of Caddo Mounds has made it their mission to connect with and include Oklahoma Caddo Tribal members when planning activities and interpreting the history and culture of the site.

Through deep connections with the community, the group has raised significant funds to support cultural projects at Caddo Mounds, including building—by hand—a traditional Caddo grass house under the guidance of Caddo Nation leadership.

In April of 2019, a devastating tornado struck the site during the Caddo Cultural Day event, destroying the Visitors Center and Grass House. The tornado also personally impacted onsite Friends Group members and staff.

Only months later, however, the Friends of Caddo Mounds drew upon its collective optimism to organize and raise funds for a community healing workshop at the site. The workshop included Oklahoma Caddo members, East Texas teachers, and residents affected by the storm.

Today, the Friends Group continues its organizing and fundraising efforts and is poised to lend unwavering support as Caddo Mounds looks to rebuild.

For Stewardship:
Friends of Fulton Mansion

The Fulton Mansion is an 1870’s Second French Empire home known for its noteworthy style, unique construction methods, and advanced mechanical systems. It stands overlooking the bay in the coastal town of Rockport, where George and Harriet Fulton built and lived in the house for 16 years while operating an important ranching business in the region.

The Friends of Fulton Mansion, organized in 1993, comprises eight core board members and numerous volunteers who share great pride in the site as an icon of their region’s history. They were nominated for their faithful stewardship of the mansion over many years but, particularly, for their dedication over the two years after Hurricane Harvey damaged the site.

Since the group’s founding, it has consistently provided supplemental fundraising and support for capital campaigns, ongoing maintenance, programming, restoration needs, and part-time staff for the site.

Their support allows the site to keep its doors open for tours and programs six days a week in a tourist town. Some of the events they assist with include Music at the Mansion, the Fall Lecture Series, annual Easter, Halloween and holiday events, and other workshops and programs throughout the year.

The Friends Group continued their dedication in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, even as they tended to their severely impacted community and personal properties. While the Mansion was closed for repairs, they provided volunteers and fundraising that allowed state staff to focus on the mansion’s restoration and outreach.

Today, the Fulton Mansion is restored to its former glory. It re-opened in December 2019 to supporters’ cheers throughout the Rockport region, due in no small part to the Friends of Fulton Mansion.