December 2013

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 grants focus on supporting existing programs and efforts of organizations that bring together community partners to enhance intercultural leadership and collaborative capacity. The work, grounded in social and economic justice, includes the following areas of focus:

  • Native American Leadership and Education
  • Food Security, Hunger, and Health
  • Immigrant Leadership
  • Women and Girls’ Leadership
  • Positive Youth Development


2013 Collaborative Leadership Grants

Casa de Salud (Bernalillo County, South Valley)

The Familia project provides support for immigrant and youth leadership and for the prevention and self-care of chronic diseases, particularly diabetes and depression. It assists individuals and their families who are being served by Casa de Salud and Centro Savila. The project facilitates the development of healthy eating, active living and stress reduction among immigrant families in the South Valley area of Bernalillo County through informal, monthly, family-centered meetings.


Encuentro (Bernalillo County)

The Collaborative to Advance Opportunities for Immigrant Families shares organizational strengths with Enlace Comunitario, the New Mexico Immigrant Law Center, and El Centro de Igualdad y Derechos, in the areas of violence prevention, immigrant legal services, adult education and rights organizing. These partners are building their own and the Collaborative’s organizational capacity to engage with Latino immigrants, including adults and youth in leadership development and activities that assist immigrant families in our state and across the country.


Enlace Comunitario (Bernalillo County)

Engaging Immigrant Men as Leaders is a grassroots community-based project that engages Latino immigrant men in proactive domestic violence prevention. Enlace is building on the project’s success by continuing classes that build leadership and recognize the role that men can play in ending violence against women.


Leadership Institute at Santa Fe Indian School (Tribal Communities Statewide)

The Brave Girls Program promotes positive change in high-school-age young women. Based on the framework of the Leadership Institute (LI), the young women follow a similar model in their development as leaders. Through this program, the LI is convening a second Women’s Institute Series to bring together an intergenerational group of Pueblo women to have open and honest discussions on the roles of Pueblo women in their communities.


Littleglobe (Cibola County—Ramah Navajo)

Dovetailing with the culmination of Ramah Navajo Continuing Education’s three-year Oral History Project and the first year of formalized classes within the Pine Hill School’s Language and Culture Program, the Ramah Navajo Student Cultural Leadership Filmmaking Program is exploring personal and family histories and the power of the Ramah Navajo language in the lives of each student and their family members. In a large-scale community event, students will share their resulting short film and co-lead a “community conversation” exploring issues of identity and culture. The Cultural Leadership Filmmaking Program is a collaboration with the Ramah Navajo School Board, Ramah Navajo Continuing Education Department, Ramah Navajo Oral History Project, Pine Hill School’s Parent Involvement Advisory Committee, Littleglobe, and the Center for Creative Community Engagement (3CE). 


OLÉ Education Fund (Bernalillo County)

The Urban Conservation Project campaign uses a series of storytelling workshops called the River Writers to help the predominantly Latino membership engage with tangible, urban conservation issues that are visibly impacting their communities. Members gather, tell their stories, voice their concerns and connections to the Río Grande, the Bosque, and New Mexico’s drought, and develop plans to impact local conservation policy. OLÉ is expanding the young River Writers to reach more youth and provide paid internships to select graduates of the program. These interns then sow the seeds of a more diverse conservation community, launching professional careers or lifelong interests in volunteering to protect Albuquerque’s land and water.


Somos Un Pueblo Unido (Santa Fe, Río Arriba, McKinley, San Juan, Taos, Chavez, Curry, Lea, Valencia, and Socorro counties)

The Statewide Immigrant Leadership Network initiative is expanding and strengthening the capacity of a network of church, student and community groups and allies that are working together for immigrant rights and racial justice. Somos improves communication with and between several Somos-affiliated community groups in 10 New Mexico counties, providing leadership-development training and opportunities for Latino immigrant leaders in rural and semi-rural communities and building their organizational capacity to engage in local, state and national campaigns.


Thoreau Community Center (McKinley County)

The Íína naas noseel or “Progressing in Life” project fosters local leadership, particularly of Navajo women, to continue their collaborative work at the Center to support positive youth development in Thoreau and surrounding rural communities including Navajo Nation chapters. This project focuses on Food Security and Hunger by expanding their community garden, incorporating more youth leadership and management, and increasing resiliency factors by extending after school snacks and meals. There is also an emphasis on Women’s Leadership by building and developing capacity to collaborate and respond to community needs.


The Wellness Coalition (Catron, Grant, Hidalgo, Luna, and Sierra counties)

The Southwest New Mexico Young Leaders Program connects young people ages 18 to 25 with activities, resources and training designed to empower them to work with younger teens and adolescents, ages 11 to 17, in a positive youth-development framework that celebrates youth as community and cultural assets. The Wellness Coalition utilizes its existing collaborative network of AmeriCorps Members and Service Sites to create a regional cadre of young leaders. Members serve in a variety of rural settings, from community gardens to health care to early childhood programs and conservation crews.


WESST (Mora, Taos and Río Arriba counties)

The Rural Women/Global Marketplace project builds upon existing collaborative relationships in several northern New Mexico rural communities, including Peñasco, Truchas, Chamisal, Mora, Villanueva and Ribera, to promote and develop entrepreneurial talent among both youth and women as a means to sustainable economic livelihoods. This project trains participants to use new skill sets to generate quality products, provides business skills training and helps participants generate earned income by pricing and selling their products at a profit. This project also provides seed money combined with zero-interest loans to sustain growth and development in these economically challenged communities.




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