McCune Charitable Foundation: New Mexico Grants

OVERVIEW: The McCune Charitable Foundation is exclusive to the state of New Mexico and recently redefined its grantmaking priorities to focus on economic development and stability and innovation in education and the local food industry. McCune grants typically range between $5,000 and $25,000, and the Santa Fe-based funder gives out about $5 million each year.

FUNDING AREAS: Economic development, food industry development, early childhood education, urban planning, rural environments, natural resources, arts & culture

IP TAKE: Economic development and financial stability for families is now a top priority for the McCune Charitable Foundation. The foundation is looking for programs that feature crucial links, such as linking the local food industry to healthcare and linking arts and culture activities to economic progress.

PROFILE: Marshall L. McCune was born to a banker and an oil company heiress in Pittsburgh in 1908. After serving in World War II and traveling in the West and Southwest, he settled in Santa Fe, New Mexico. That’s where he met his wife, Perrine C. Dixon McCune, a New Orleans native, and they became a significant figures in the artistic and cultural life of Santa Fe. As quiet and humble philanthropists, the McCunes were the principal supporters of the Santa Fe Opera, the Maternal and Child Health Center, the School of American Research, the Santa Fe Boys and Girls Club, and other charitable causes.

After Marshall passed away, Perrine established this family foundation in 1989 to further the couple’s philanthropic legacy. Since Perrine passed away two years later, the McCune Charitable Foundation has continued their tradition of giving through a broad mandate. Since that time, the Marshall L. and Perrine D. McCune Charitable Foundation has established nine key grantmaking priorities to improve health, education, environment, and culture in New Mexico.

McCune is a big name in the world of philanthropy, and meanwhile, other relatives are running the $348 million McCune Foundation in Pittsburgh and the $130 million John R. McCune Charitable Trust. Grants from Marshall and Perrine’s foundation typically range between $5,000 and $25,000, with the average grant about $15,000. The Santa Fe-based foundation gives out about $5 million each year to organizations based in New Mexico. At the end of a recent year, the Marshall L. and Perrine D. McCune Charitable Foundation reported over $125 million in assets.

These are the McCune Charitable Foundation’s current priorities:

  • Capacity Building in the Non-Profit Sector
  • Economic Development and Family Asset Building
  • Education Transformation and Early Childhood Development
  • Leveraging Opportunities in Health Care
  • Local Food Industry Development
  • Building Links between Arts and Community Engagement
  • Stewardship of Natural Resources
  • Influencing Urban Planning and Built Environments
  • Strategies for Rural Development

In mid-2014, the Albuquerque Journal published an article titled, “McCune Foundation’s New Direction.” That new direction emphasizes economic development an innovation across the state. The board decided that the foundation’s original mandate was too broad and needed to be adjusted to guide grantseekers more effectively.

“Economic development seemed to be key in terms of impact on the state,” Executive Director Wendy Lewis said. “In the past we tended to look at things in program areas, which were very broad.”

These are the things that Lewis revealed that her staff is looking for in new grantees:

  • Innovative approaches to education that have been home grown in New Mexico
  • Market-based alternatives in the state’s food industry that also help produce better health outcomes
  • Efforts that build and diversify the audience for the arts and culture and treat artists as entrepreneurs that drive economic development
  • Programs that develop a more stable economic base for families

McCune welcomes unsolicited online applications for community-based projects within the state of New Mexico that are related to these refined priorities. Public schools, government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and federally recognized Native American tribes are eligible to apply. The open application cycle typically opens up in the fall season of each year.

As a general rule, funding is not divided equally among the nine grantmaking priorities, but instead, allocations are based on the merit of applications received. McCune prefers to award single-year grants, but multi-year funding is considered on a case-by-case basis. An extensive list of recent grantees can be found on the Grant Recipients section of the foundation website.

And finally, any general questions can be directed to the foundation staff at 505-983-8300 or by email at Grantseekers will be relieved to know that McCune is an accessible foundation to work with.


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