December 2013

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 diverse communities.

The Foundation currently holds nine endowments for Native entities. These include: Earth Circle/Wings of America, Institute of American Indian Arts, Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, Pueblo of Jémez Endowment, Laguna Pueblo Rainbow Fund and Laguna Education Foundation.

Another initiative supporting Native education is through NMCF’s Native American Preparatory Scholars Fund, which was created is to increase the number of New Mexico Native American students who aspire to, are prepared for and graduate from the nation’s colleges and universities. Funding targets include Native student support programs at the secondary, pre-collegiate level, as well as programs to support students during college years. The Foundation is also seeking greater impact in this area by growing an endowment, building capacity within Native communities and working with tribes to come up with solutions to increase the number of students who graduate from college.

NMCF’s non-permanent funds that support a variety of initiatives in Native communities include: The Laguna Rainbow Non-Permanent Fund, the Santa Clara Pueblo Tree Fund, the Santa Clara Pueblo Fund, the NM Native American Scholars Athlete Fund and Laguna Community Foundation.

NMCF also acts as the fiscal sponsor for the Native American Community Academy in Albuquerque, Keres Children’s Learning Center at Cochiti Pueblo, Laguna Community Foundation at Laguna Pueblo, and the Community Learning Exchange, a  3-year program that emphasizes reclaiming cultural wisdom and collective leadership as a source of community well-being to better address critical social issues.

NMCF’s NewMexicoWomen.Org program has also provided grants to various nonprofits serving Native women and girls.



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