The genesis of what would become De Novo can be found in words spoken about 2,000 years ago: “For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall much be required” (Luke 12:48).
Those words made an indelible impression on Robert Ober and throughout much of his life, he has interceded to help those in need. Robert’s philanthropy is deeply rooted in his faith.
“From Social Services to Self-Sufficiency”
Over the years, Robert has worked to provide support and care to countless numbers of people in need. His efforts did not go unnoticed by his friends, family members, fellow parishioners or business associates. Encouraged by the idea of starting a non-profit, Robert contemplated the idea of providing next level care to people living below the poverty line.
Questions needed to be answered, such as:
- What could be done to help a person from becoming homeless?
- Could help be offered to a homeless person that might change his or her life in such a way that they would no longer be homeless and also live with stability?
- What could be done to help provide stability for someone who is newly emerging from homelessness?
- How to best find clients?
A foundation seemed the logical next step; a collaboration of experience and philanthropy that could help mitigate the risks of homelessness. The new foundation would be called “De Novo,” a Latin expression meaning “starting from the beginning; anew” and the tagline was crafted: “From Social Services to Self-Sufficiency.”
By April 2015, De Novo had its Executive Director and the process of building a viable non-profit was started. The first order of business was to define the opportunities for the new organization.
Approximately 20% of San Antonians live below the poverty level. For a city of roughly 1.6 million residents, that works out to about 320,000 people who are struggling to make ends meet. It would be unrealistic to think a small, new nonprofit could cure poverty, or even make a dent in the staggering statistics. A realistic goal would be to make a difference in one person’s life and then establish a model that could be replicated. De Novo did not want to duplicate any efforts that were being handled by other organizations. It was decided that we should be an extension of existing non-profits and provide help to those individuals that were already under the care of a caseworker.
We honor our partners and clients with respect, dignity, and encouragement. We serve dutifully with integrity, humility, and compassion.