Mission: Meals on Wheels San Antonio was founded in 1977. The organization provides services through two programs focused on nourishing lives, enabling independence and caring for the oldest residents in the community: Meals on Wheels and Grace Place Alzheimer's Activity Centers. Both programs enable the mission of providing services to seniors that allow them to age in place with dignity and independence. Meals are delivered to over 7,000 seniors and 140 seniors are served through Alzheimer's day centers, annually.
Meals on Wheels provides hot, healthy meals to homebound seniors unable to prepare a meal for themselves. Hundreds of dedicated volunteers travel across the city to deliver not only the hot meal but to also provide daily safety checks and opportunities for socialization.
Grace Place Alzheimer's Activity Centers provide services to seniors with Alzheimer's and other dementia-related diseases. Respite, on-going education, and support are provided to caregivers.

Meals on Wheels San Antonio is a 501(c)(3) organization, with an IRS ruling year of 1979, and donations are tax-deductible.

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Contact Information


 4306 North West Loop 410
San Antonio TX 78229 


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Star Rating System by Charity Navigator

Charity Navigator evaluates a nonprofit organization’s financial health including measures of stability, efficiency and sustainability. We also track accountability and transparency policies to ensure the good governance and integrity of the organization.


This charity's score is 89.65, earning it a 3-Star rating. Donors can "Give with Confidence" to this charity. 

This score is calculated from two sub-scores:

This score represents Form 990 data from 2019, the latest year published by the IRS.

This organization has issued a response to this ratingView this organization’s historical ratings.

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Star Rated Report

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Program Expense

Program Expense Ratio


The Program Expense Ratio is determined by Program Expenses divided by Total Expense (average of most recent three 990s).

This measure reflects the percent of its total expenses a charity spends on the programs and services it exists to deliver. Dividing a charity's average program expenses by its average total functional expenses yields this percentage. We calculate the charity's average expenses over its three most recent fiscal years.

Source: IRS Form 990

Administrative Expenses


As reported by charities on their IRS Form 990, this measure reflects what percent of its total budget a charity spends on overhead, administrative staff and associated costs, and organizational meetings. Dividing a charity's average administrative expenses by its average total functional expenses yields this percentage. We calculate the charity's average expenses over its three most recent fiscal years.

Source: IRS Form 990

Fundraising Expenses


This measure reflects what a charity spends to raise money. Fundraising expenses can include campaign printing, publicity, mailing, and staffing and costs incurred in soliciting donations, memberships, and grants. Dividing a charity's average fundraising expenses by its average total functional expenses yields this percentage. We calculate the charity's average expenses over its three most recent fiscal years.

Source: IRS Form 990

Liabilities to Assets Ratio


The Liabilities to Assets Ratio is determined by Total Liabilities divided by Total Assets (most recent 990).

Part of our goal in rating the financial performance of charities is to help donors assess the financial capacity and sustainability of a charity. As do organizations in other sectors, charities must be mindful of their management of total liabilites in relation to their total assets. This ratio is an indicator of an organization’s solvency and or long term sustainability. Dividing a charity's total liabilities by its total assets yields this percentage.

Source: IRS Form 990

Fundraising Efficiency


The amount spent to raise $1 in charitable contributions. To calculate a charity's fundraising efficiency, we divide its average fundraising expenses by the average total contributions it receives. We calculate the charity's average expenses and average contributions over its three most recent fiscal years.

Source: IRS Form 990

Working Capital Ratio

1.13 years

Determines how long a charity could sustain its level of spending using its net available assets, or working capital, as reported on its most recently filed Form 990. We include in a charity's working capital unrestricted and temporarily restricted net assets, and exclude permanently restricted net assets. Dividing these net available assets in the most recent year by a charity's average total expenses, yields the working capital ratio. We calculate the charity's average total expenses over its three most recent fiscal years.

Source: IRS Form 990

Program Expense Growth


We compute the average annual growth of program expenses using the following formula: [(Yn/Y0)(1/n)]-1, where Y0 is a charity's program expenses in the first year of the interval analyzed, Yn is the charity's program expenses in the most recent year, and n is the interval of years passed between Y0 and Yn.

Source: IRS Form 990


Charity Navigator looks to confirm on the Form 990 that the organization has these governance practices in place.

Sources Include: IRS Form 990

Independent Voting Board Members  ... (More)
No Material Diversion of Assets ... (More)

A diversion of assets – any unauthorized conversion or use of the organization's assets other than for the organization's authorized purposes, including but not limited to embezzlement or theft – can seriously call into question a charity's financial integrity. We check the charity's last two Forms 990 to see if the charity has reported any diversion of assets. If the charity does report a diversion, then we check to see if it complied with the Form 990 instructions by describing what happened and its corrective action. This metric will be assigned to one of the following categories:

  • Full Credit: There has been no diversion of assets within the last two years.

  • Partial Credit: There has been a diversion of assets within the last two years and the charity has used Schedule O on the Form 990 to explain: the nature of the diversion, the amount of money or property involved and the corrective action taken to address the matter. In this situation, we deduct 7 points from the charity's Accountability and Transparency score.
  • No Credit: There has been a diversion of assets within the last two years and the charity's explanation on Schedule O is either non-existent or not sufficient. In this case, we deduct 15 points from the charity's Accountability and Transparency score.
Audited Financials Prepared by Independent Accountant ... (More)

Audited financial statements provide important information about financial accountability and accuracy. They should be prepared by an independent accountant with oversight from an audit committee. (It is not necessary that the audit committee be a separate committee. Often at smaller charities, it falls within the responsibilities of the finance committee or the executive committee.) The committee provides an important oversight layer between the management of the organization, which is responsible for the financial information reported, and the independent accountant, who reviews the financials and issues an opinion based on its findings. We check the charity's Form 990 reporting to see if it meets this criteria.

  • Full Credit: The charity's audited financials were prepared by an independent accountant with an audit oversight committee.

  • Partial Credit: The charity's audited financials were prepared by an independent accountant, but it did not have an audit oversight committee. In this case, we deduct 7 points from the charity's Accountability and Transparency score.
  • No Credit: The charity did not have its audited financials prepared by an independent accountant. In this case, we deduct 15 points from the charity's Accountability and Transparency score.
Does Not Provide Loan(s) to or Receive Loan(s) From Related Parties ... (More)
Documents Board Meeting Minutes ... (More)
Distributes 990 to Board Before Filing ... (More)
Compensates Board ... (More)


Charity Navigator looks to confirm on the Form 990, or for some metrics on the charity's website, that the organization has these policies in place.

Sources Include: IRS Form 990 and organization's website

Conflict of Interest  ... (More)
Whistleblower ... (More)
Records Retention and Destruction ... (More)
CEO Compensation Process ... (More)
Donor Privacy ... (More)

Donors have expressed extreme concern about the use of their personal information by charities and the desire to have this information kept confidential. The exchanging and sale of lists for telemarketing and the mass distribution of "junk mail," among other things, can be minimized if the charity assures the privacy of its donors. Privacy policies are assigned to one of the following categories:

  • Yes: This charity has a written donor privacy policy published on its website, which states unambiguously that (1) it will not share or sell a donor's personal information with anyone else, nor send donor mailings on behalf of other organizations or (2) it will only share or sell personal information once the donor has given the charity specific permission to do so.

  • Opt-out: The charity has a written privacy policy published on its website which enables donors to tell the charity to remove their names and contact information from lists the charity shares or sells. How a donor can have themselves removed from a list differs from one charity to the next, but any and all opt-out policies require donors to take specific action to protect their privacy.
  • No: This charity either does not have a written donor privacy policy in place to protect their contributors' personal information, or the existing policy does not meet our criteria.

The privacy policy must be specific to donor information. A general website policy which references "visitor" or "user" personal information will not suffice. A policy that refers to donor information collected on the website is also not sufficient as the policy must be comprehensive and applicable to both online and offline donors. The existence of a privacy policy of any type does not prohibit the charity itself from contacting the donor for informational, educational, or solicitation purposes.



Charity Navigator looks to confirm on the Form 990, or for some metrics on the charity's website, that the organization makes this information easily accessible.

Sources Include: IRS Form 990 and organization's website

CEO Salary Listed on 990 ... (More)
Board of Directors Listed on Website ... (More)
Key Staff Listed on Website ... (More)
Audited Financial Statements on Website ... (More)
Form 990 Available on Website ... (More)

Additional Information


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Total Revenue and Expenses

Total Revenue and Expenses

This chart displays the trend of revenue and expenses over the past several years for this organization, as reported on their IRS Form 990.

Salary of Key Persons

Presented here are this organizations key compensated staff members as identified by our analysts. This compensation data includes salary, cash bonuses and expense accounts and is displayed exactly how it is reported to the IRS. The amounts do not include nontaxable benefits, deferred compensation, or other amounts not reported on W-2. In some cases, these amounts may include compensation from related organizations. Read the IRS policies for compensation reporting

Vinsen Faris, CEO

$122,633 (1.57% of Total Expenses)

Source: IRS Form 990 (page 7), filing year 2020

Business Master File Data

Below are some key data points from the Exempt Organization IRS Business Master File (BMF) for this organization. Learn more about the BMF on the IRS website


Services for the aged (see also 153 ad 382) (BMF activity code: 575)

Foundation Status:

Organization which receives a substantial part of its support from a governmental unit or the general public   170(b)(1)(A)(vi) (BMF foundation code: 15)


Independent - the organization is an independent organization or an independent auxiliary (i.e., not affiliated with a National, Regional, or Geographic grouping of organizations). (BMF affiliation code: 3)

Data Sources: IRS Forms 990

The Form 990 is a document that nonprofit organizations file with the IRS annually. We leverage finance and accountability data from it to form Encompass ratings. Click here to view this organization's Forms 990 on the IRS website (if any are available).

Official Charity Response

Meals on Wheels San Antonio appreciates the opportunity to share additional information regarding our change in charity rating.  After being rated four stars for several years, our ranking dropped to three stars because of three ratio changes: fund efficiency, program growth, and liabilities to assets. The first and last of these were due to the organization entering a capital campaign and building project right at the end of fiscal year 2019.  Program growth declined for two main reasons - the implementation of FASB 2016-14 and the decision not to renew a federal contract for the Senior Companion Program. Below, please find a more detailed explanation of each of the scores impacting the agency rating.  FUND EFFICIENCY Our fundraising metric increased because our fundraising expenses were higher than prior years ($597,666 in FY18 to $899,585 in FY19 while revenues in part VIII of the 990 were largely flat, going from $6,186,592 in FY18 to $6,361,476).  The fundraising ratio shifted because in FY19 the agency entered the planning phase for a capital campaign to construct a new commercial kitchen.  In particular, the organization engaged a marketing consultant. The total expenses of the capital campaign in FY19 were $123,549. In addition, because of the effort put into the capital campaign and the building project, significantly more staff time was allocated to administrative and fundraising costs than in prior years. Among the leadership team, over $120,000 more was allocated to fundraising which would have been program expense in prior years.  In addition, the development team hired a full-time grant writer in large part to support the capital campaign. All together, these costs represent over $280,000 of the increase in fundraising expenses between FY18 and FY19.  The official capital campaign was launched by the Board of Trustees on June 24, 2019, just six days before the end of the fiscal year.  So, by the end of the fiscal year, there were only $97,000 of revenues that was recorded in FY19; the remainder of the capital campaign revenues have all been record in FY20.  We feel that the FY19 fundraising number is distorted because significant campaign expenses were incurred in FY19, but the revenues they generated were by and large not recorded until FY20.  Without the campaign expenses and revenues, the FY19 ratio is quite consistent with prior years.  When the revenues and expenses are matched, the fundraising ratio improves because the capital campaign expenses have been more efficient than our operating fundraising efforts in generating support.  LIABILITIES TO ASSETS In addition, the capital campaign caused the change in the liabilities to assets ratio. In March 2019, the Board of Trustees authorized the purchase of 5.5 acres of land which will be the home of Meals on Wheels San Antonio's new commercial kitchen.  The board used existing reserves to purchase the land - in Part X, lines 10-11 of the 2019 990, fixed assets increased the investments decreased by the roughly $2 million purchase price. Having then spent internal resources, the Board authorized a line of credit to be utilized for additional preconstruction costs by the engineering and architectural firms hired to design the facility.  The balance on the line of credit was $250,000 as of June 30, 2019. Because of the success of the capital campaign so far, the credit balance will be $0 on the June 20, 2020 financial statements.  PROGRAM GROWTH There were two main factors that caused the decline in program spending from FY18 ($7,118,055) to FY19 ($6,180,000). In FY19, the agency implemented FASB Accounting Standard 2016-14, which provided greater clarity to the allocation of costs in the statement of functional expenses, both in the financial statements and on the 990. In previous years, the organization has used the methodology used in negotiating the unit rate for services with the agency that provides funding under the Older American's Act, which is Meals on Wheels San Antonio's largest single funding source and accepted by the auditors, as well as all other organization funders. The result of the reallocation of salaries based on 2016-14 resulted in nearly $377,000 increase in salaries assigned to administrative and fundraising expenses instead of program expenses.  With payroll taxes and benefits, the total transfer from programs to administration and fundraising was over $450,000. The standard did not require a restatement of prior years, so this implementation had a dramatic impact on the reporting while the actual size of the expense of the relevant staff were comparable from FY18 to FY19.  In addition, at the end of FY18, Meals on Wheels San Antonio decided to terminate its contract with the Corporation for National and Community Service for the Senior Companion program. Management decided that the additional requirements imposed on volunteers and clients to be counted made the program less impactful to the clients and more difficult to manage. Instead, the Senior Companion program was replaced with the Friendly Visitor program, with a similar mission to reduce social isolation for homebound seniors but with a realistic volunteer commitment. In FY18, the Senior Companion program generated $280,969 of revenue on the Schedule of Expenditure of Federal Awards, and had total expenses of $464,223 for the year.  By reducing the overhead and compliance costs, in FY19 the organization was able to reduce program expenses to just under $50,000 while delivering companionship services in a way that maximizes volunteer and client engagement.   

Historical Ratings

Date PublishedForm 990 FYEOverall ScoreOverall Rating
Rating Version: 2.1
6/1/20202019 89.65
8/1/20192018 96.35
6/1/20192018 95.38

This organization received multiple star ratings within this fiscal year, due to an update to it's Accountability and Transparency data and/or the receipt of an amended Form 990.

6/1/20182017 94.70
8/1/20172016 96.81
6/1/20162015 96.64
Rating Version: 2.0
4/1/20162015 91.71
9/1/20152014 92.27
2/1/20142013 93.06
5/1/20132012 94.17

...   Impact & Results

This score estimates the actual impact a nonprofit has on the lives of those it serves, and determines whether it is making good use of donor resources to achieve that impact.

Impact & Results Score

Not Currently Scored

Meals on Wheels San Antonio cannot currently be evaluated by our Encompass Rating Impact & Results methodology because either (A) it is eligible, but we have not yet received data; (B) we have not yet developed an algorithm to estimate its programmatic impact; (C) its programs are not direct services; or (D) it is not heavily reliant on contributions from individual donors.

Note: The absence of a score does not indicate a positive or negative assessment, it only indicates that we have not yet evaluated the organization.

Learn more about Impact & Results.

Do you work at Meals on Wheels San Antonio? Join the waitlist for an updated Impact & Results score.

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Additional Information


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Largest Programs

Largest Programs

Meals on Wheels San Antonio reported its two largest programs on its FY 2020 Form 990 as:


Spent in most recent FY


Percent of program expenses



Spent in most recent FY


Percent of program expenses


...   Leadership & Adaptability

This score provides an assessment of the organization's leadership capacity, strategic thinking and planning, and ability to innovate or respond to changes in constituent demand/need or other relevant social and economic conditions to achieve the organization's mission.

Leadership & Adaptability Score

Not Currently Scored

Meals on Wheels San Antonio is currently not eligible for a Leadership & Adaptability score because we have not received its L&A survey responses.

Note: The absence of a score does not indicate a positive or negative assessment, it only indicates that the organization has not yet submitted data for evaluation.

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...   Culture & Community

This score provides an assessment of the organization's engagement with the constituents it serves, a practice we term Constituent Feedback. When organizations listen to constituents, they are able to better deliver on programs and meet the needs of stakeholders. A future version of this Beacon will also assess an organization's people operations and its Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) metrics.

Culture & Community Score


out of 100

The score earned by Meals on Wheels San Antonio is a passing score.

Encompass Rating V4 provides an evaluation of an organization's Culture and Community by measuring its Constituent Feedback practices (see report below). Constituent Feedback data provides 100% of the basis for the initial evaluation of the Culture & Community Beacon.

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Culture & Community Report


of 100 points

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Constituent Feedback

Constituent Feedback

Full Credit

This organization reported that it is collecting feedback.

Here's how this organization is listening and learning from the people they serve:

How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), Focus groups or interviews (by phone or in person), Paper surveys

How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, Other means

With whom does your organization share the feedback you got from the people you serve?

The people we serve, Our staff, Our board, Our funders, Our community partners

What challenges does your organization face in collecting feedback from the people you serve?

It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback, We don't have the right technology to collect and aggregate feedback efficiently

Briefly describe a recent change that your organization made in response to feedback from the people you serve.

Clients suggested we include more protein in our breakfast meals. We agreed and the menu was updated. A critical component of the Meals on Wheels service is a safety check and a brief friendly visit. We ask our clients if they feel less isolated being on the Meals on Wheels Program? We expect 95% of our clients to answer positively to the question. Last year, we only achieved 81% so we re-trained drivers to spend a little more time with a client when it was appropriate. We hope that outcomes improve over the next year.


Charity Navigator believes nonprofit organizations that engage in inclusive practices, such as collecting feedback from the people and communities they serve, may be more effective. We've partnered with GuideStar by Candid to survey organizations about their feedback practices. Nonprofit organizations can fill out the How We Listen section of their Candid profile to receive a rating.

Charity Navigator awards full credit for this Beacon to every nonprofit that is eligible for an Encompass Rating that completes the survey, in recognition of their willingness to publicly share this information with the nonprofit and philanthropic communities. This data is not evaluated for quality at this time. Validation will be added in future iterations of this Beacon.

Analysis and Research

Like the overall Encompass Rating System, the Culture & Community Beacon is designed to evolve as metrics are developed and ready for integration. Our partnership with Feedback Labs and Guidestar by Candid, and other partners including Fund for Shared Insight, GlobalGiving, and Keystone Accountability, enables us to launch the first version of this beacon with Constituent Feedback information collected on Candid's site.

Feedback practices have been shown to support better Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion outcomes, an essential area of assessment that we intend to further expand and develop in the future. Feedback Labs has documented several studies which indicate that beyond achieving organizational goals, nonprofits that are attentive and responsive to concerns and ideas raised by beneficiaries establish stronger relationships with the people they serve, promote greater equity, and empower constituents in ways that can help to ensure better long-term outcomes. You can find resources to help nonprofits improve their feedback practices here.

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