December 2013

The New Mexico Community Foundation—30 Years


Jenny Parks, President and CEO


It is a special opportunity to be with New Mexico Community Foundation in our 30th year. Reflecting on our rich history, we are especially proud that we have remained steadfast and true to our mission serving the most rural and the most forgotten in our state. We are proud to serve Chaparral, Thoreau, Silver City, Jémez Pueblo, Magdalena and many more places and individuals. We are here to give hope and to fill gaps, and we plan to be here for many years to come.


This month in Santa Fe, we celebrate 30 years of statewide philanthropy More >

New Mexico Community Foundation Timeline


1983 NMCF Founded

1987 40K NEA grant for “Churches, Symbols of Community: Cornerstones”

1996 1st Luminarias event, attended by 500 people

Ford grants $500K

2001 Kellogg early childhood program at 6 sites throughout NM

2004 $5.2M Kellogg Youth Initiative

2008 Women Building Community program initiated

2009 $5M Kellogg Collaborative Leadership & Endowment Building grant

2011 Community Involvement Fund begins with $1M DOE grant

2012 NewMexicoWomen.Org and Native American Preparatory Scholars

2013 Chispa Awards and 30th Year Celebration



Give Grande New Mexico!


Get ready. May 6, 2014

In celebration of the 100th Anniversary of community foundations, the Community Foundation Coalition of New Mexico, made up of the Albuquerque, Taos, Southern New Mexico, New Mexico and Santa Fe Community Foundations, will be taking part in a national day of community giving. This event, called Give Grande New Mexico, will be part of a larger nationwide initiative, Give Local America, where over 100 communities across the US, with the help of their own community foundations, will host local giving events to support local causes and organizations.

Giving Days are powerful 24-hour online fundraising competitions that unite More >

Philanthropic First Responder: New Mexico Community Foundation Emergency Grants


Betul Ozmat


When a grandmother in northern New Mexico learned that she had been given custody of her four young grandchildren, she welcomed the opportunity with an open heart. But on her limited income, she was unable to purchase a bed for each child, as is required by state law.

Elsewhere, a young family was thriving until the father was paralyzed in a car accident. He could no longer work, and his wife reduced her work time to care for him, further jeopardizing the family’s financial stability.

And in another tragic twist of fate, a talented potter fell and broke both wrists. Though More >

Luminaria Awards – A Brief History

The Luminaria Awards are a proud NMCF tradition that pays tribute to outstanding individuals throughout the state who make a profound difference in their communities. Luminarias motivate, inspire, protect and support the dreams of others, promote diversity and equity and build community strength through their leadership and vision. Alongside these Luminarias, the NMCF shares a commitment to help build community, grow charitable assets and help those most in need.


In 1996, the NMCF Board of Directors conceived of the Luminaria awards. Jaune Evans, NMCF’s executive director at that time, initiated the first Luminaria event, which was celebrated in December of that year. Close More >

2013 Luminarias

Celebrating the Best of New Mexico



Carnell Chosa, Jémez Pueblo, NM

After four years as a planner for the New Mexico Office of Indian Affairs, Carnell Chosa, of Jémez Pueblo, assisted a friend with a business to create educational programs for Indian elders across the country. He co-founded and co-directs The Leadership Institute, housed at the Santa Fe Indian School. Created to serve as a convener think tank, the LI’s projects include the Summer Policy Academy, Brave Girls, Community Institutes, and the Pueblo Ph.D. Cohort.


Chosa was a founding board member of the Walatowa Charter High School in Jémez Pueblo. He currently More >

Luminarias, Fire and the Fire Within


Alejandro López


Winter is the time for fires in New Mexico. Before gas lanterns and electricity, people customarily built luminarias or bonfires to illuminate the plazas during winter processions, as they still do at Ohkay Owingeh or Taos Pueblo on Christmas Eve. Luminaria, therefore, is indeed an apt name for designating and celebrating those individuals in our communities who, through their devotion and service to others, light the way for many people as they make their way through an oftentimes difficult and bewildering world.

Frequently confused are the two terms, luminarias and farolitos, which translates as lanterns, or in northern New Mexico, a grocery bag with More >

Collaborative Leadership Program Initiative


Renee Villarreal


Over a six-year period, through the Collaborative Leadership Program initiative, the New Mexico Community Foundation has granted more than $773,000 to New Mexico nonprofits and organizations in support of programs and initiatives that promote positive development, health and well-being among marginalized children, families and communities of color.

The program, which began in 2007 and is generously funded through the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, emphasizes building the collaborative capacity of diverse community efforts. The development of strong, effective and sustainable networks across boundaries of race, class and culture in diverse communities addresses challenges and inequities in our state.

This year’s Collaborative Leadership More >

NMCF’s Intercultural Collaborative Leadership Program

Understanding NM’s Complex Cultural History


Alejandro López


Global culture, which American culture, politics, economics and technology have helped spawn, is a vast raging river that is pouring voluminously into the remote, expansive, rugged, ancient and (until recently) sparsely populated southwestern United States. This region has been the traditional homeland of Indigenous peoples for millennia and Mejicano/Hispano peoples for centuries. As a result of this longevity, an intricate mosaic of both sedentary and nomadic tribes, and later, primarily genizaro people (mixed Spanish and Indian) coexisted when they were not at odds with each other over land and resources. Life then, like now, was hard.

So More >

Youth Building the Future

 (with a Push from Artist-Social Organizer Lily Yeh)


Among the people the NMCF invited to work with its grantees and partner organization was Lily Yeh, founder of the nonprofit Barefoot Artists, Inc., in Philadelphia. This 70-something petite Chinese-American woman has received accolades from the Ford Foundation and many others for her ability to work a kind of transformative magic on distressed communities through the restorative power of grassroots, collectively built, large-scale community art and culture projects of overwhelming beauty. Yeh has organized youth programs, schools, gardens, parks, plazas and sanctuaries in any number of places—from Rwanda to the Palestinian Territory to More >

Challenges Facing Rural Villages in New Mexico


Juan Estévan Arellano


In comparison to other states, New Mexico, due to its vastness and diversity, does not have the resources or a big foundation to support the work that needs to be done in the rural villages. Three big challenges face the rural villages in New Mexico:


1) Availability of water

2) Lack of traditional seeds, both corn and chile, that are not genetically modified (GMO), in order to prevent the hunger low-income families are facing today

3) Involving more youth in agriculture


This is where community foundations such as the New Mexico Community Foundation can be instrumental in helping More >

Strengthening Communities through Humane Approaches


Laura Bonar and Lisa Jennings


Animal Protection of New Mexico (APNM) came to the New Mexico Community Foundation (NMCF) in 2009 with a problem: horses and other equines were suffering in every corner of the state, and there were very few resources for relief.


Despite a hardworking group of New Mexico horse rescue organizations that collectively shelter from 250-350 equines at any given time, these groups were struggling because they rely only on private contributions to care for every abandoned, abused and neglected horse they take in. Horses that go to shelters typically come from individuals and families who had cared More >

The Community Involvement Fund


Denise Gonzales


You don’t often hear of a federal government agency providing money to communities to help them make decisions on how the agencies operate, but in 2010 that is exactly what the Department of Energy (DOE) did. The DOE’s Office of Environmental Management has provided the New Mexico Community Foundation $1.5 million over three years to provide grants to communities across the nation who have federal facilities as neighbors.

The NMCF’s Community Involvement Fund was set up to give nonprofit organizations around nuclear facilities resources to inform and involve the public regarding operations and clean-up activities at these sites. NMCF More >

Follow Me


A prose poem by Valerie Martínez


Who hasn’t driven north, up and over La Bajada Hill in dark December, to see the lights of Santa Fe unfurl: colcha, snowflake, electric mosaic? And who hasn’t walked the evening streets just to trace the silhouettes of walkways, houses and hotels, counting farolitos? Hasn’t driven past the Christmas tree lot on Rodeo Road just to get a whiff of fir, pine and spruce through the dashboard heating ducts? Hasn’t heard the downtown sound of cathedral bells muffled in snow, wafting like wafers onto wrought iron and woolen elbows? Has not looked up from St. More >

Native American Funds and Programs at NMCF


Renee Villarreal


The New Mexico Community Foundation has a long history of working with Native communities, and has partnered on various programs and initiatives, with generous funding support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Ford Foundation, Tides Foundation and other national and local funders.

In 2013, NMCF has completed two multi-year programs that have supported Native American education and leadership. The SPARK program, led by the Pueblo of Jémez, focused on early childhood development, with special emphasis on home language retention and family and community engagement. The other program, Collaborative Leadership, began in 2007. It has supported collaboration and capacity building amongst More >

The SPARK Program

 Joining Hands at the Pueblo of Jémez


Rhiannon Toya


SPARK-Supporting Partnerships to Assure Ready Kids was an early-childhood program at the Pueblo of Jémez designed to increase family engagement and ease the transition from Head Start into kindergarten, with a focus on language and early-childhood development. The SPARK program, an initiative of New Mexico Community Foundation, began in 2009, and was part of a nationwide early-childhood program funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Special emphasis was made by the Pueblo of Jémez SPARK staff to sustain their Towa language with support from their Jémez Language Team and other community partners.

The Pueblo More >

A Teacher’s Perspective on a Small Navajo Town

Juliana Ko


I came out to New Mexico in 2008 in search of an adventure. I had never been to New Mexico before, and as I drove west from Albuquerque towards Gallup I was in awe of the natural beauty that shone through the red rocks and the way the sun danced off the faces of the mesas, lighting up the different colors of orange and red and setting the sky on fire. I didn’t know what to expect, but I was eager to find out more about the people and youth I would serve as a pre-algebra teacher at Thoreau More >

The Thoreau Community Center


Priscilla Manuelito


I have been blessed to be able to work in a place where I am helping my children. In the Navajo-Diné culture we have a clan system that ties us together and we use our clan to see how we are related. My grandparents and great-grandparents have lived in this area for generations, so I have many relatives in Thoreau, and many of their children are related to me.

When our community was going through the traumatic event of 15 youth suicides, it was very overwhelming for families, friends and our whole community. We couldn’t even grieve properly for the More >

NM Community Foundation Donor Profiles


Wise Words on Personal Wealth: Live and enjoy what you need. Be generous with the rest.


Bruce Rolstad

It was a windy summer day in Dusty, New Mexico, where Bruce Rolstad, a key founding member of NMCF in 1983, learned to play “cowchip poker.” “Well, you see, there were very few people and a lot of cattle in much of NM 30 years ago,” he says. “And so I guess it made sense to spend time placing wagers on just where a cow would place her next ‘chip’!” Rolstad also attributed that disproportionate ratio of livestock to citizens as a chief barrier More >

Four Ways to Give to New Mexico Community Foundation:

  1. Start a fund: The NMCF is home to more than 250 charitable funds and foundations created by generous individuals, families, business and organizations to support the causes they care about in New Mexico and beyond.
  2. Give to the New Mexico Matters Fund: This fund supports the NMCF’s innovative programs, publications and services that help philanthropists, nonprofits and others learn more about and address community needs.
  3. Plan ahead: If you are not able to make a substantial gift to charity now but want to leave something for New Mexico, consider including NMCF in your will or living trust. You can leave a stated dollar More >