New Mexico Community Foundation: New Mexico Grants

OVERVIEW: The New Mexico Community Foundation was established in 1983 and is the only statewide community funder in the state. NMCF focuses grantmaking on rural and Native American areas, and also puts a high priority on women’s causes, education, health, cultural preservation, and the environment.

FUNDING AREAS: Rural development, native philanthropy and entrepreneurship, women, children and families, environment and animals, leadership and civic involvement, education, cultural preservation, health and wellness

IP TAKE: Although the New Mexico Community Foundation doesn’t actually accept unsolicited grant applications, it does encourage grantseekers to reach out with an introduction and to describe their funding needs. Interested nonprofits in New Mexico can fill out the foundation’s nonprofit information form on an annual basis. If funding is available for what you need, the staff will contact you.

PROFILE: The New Mexico Community Foundation has been dedicated to supporting statewide communities for the past 30 years. It was established in 1983 by a small group of volunteers that put in their own donations to establish grantmaking programs for the state of New Mexico. NMCF has awarded more than $55 million in grants and attracted about $50 million more in public and private funding. The New Mexico Community Foundation is one of the top giving foundations in the state. At the end of a recent year, the foundation reported over $26 million in total assets.

Unlike many grantmakers that we have covered on Inside Philanthropy, NMCF emphasizes rural communities. But that’s mostly because this 121,000-square-mile state only has about two million residents, largely scattered across small towns and vast landscapes. This is a foundation that prides itself for reaching far-flung rural communities and Native communities, and responding to pressing community needs. It’s also a signatory to Philanthropy's Promise, an initiative of the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy whereby grantmakers commit to allocating the majority of their grantmaking dollars to marginalized communities and at least 25 percent to social justice strategies like advocacy, community organizing, and civic engagement. Although there are at least seven community foundations in New Mexico, NMCF is the only one that practices statewide giving.

NMCF’s grantmaking focus areas are Rural Development, Native Philanthropy and Entrepreneurship, Women, Children and Families, Environment and Animals, Leadership and Civic Involvement, Education, Cultural Preservation, and Health and Wellness. Over the last five years, the bulk of NMCF money has gone toward education ($15 million). Around $4.5 million has gone to scholarships, $2.6 million to environment and animals, $1.5 to emergency assistance and $1 million to women and girls over the last five years.

One focus of education funding is on early childhood education, including the New Mexico Spark program for Native American communities statewide. Many of NMCF’s environmental initiatives encourage community involvement in policy making and public education on issues such as contamination from nuclear waste, human treatment of wild and domestic animals, and providing emergency hay for horses whose owners are struggling financially. Health funding is centered on access to care, behavioral health, preventative services, access to nutritious foods, engaging the elderly population, and stopping community violence. NMCF’s program focuses on the health, economics, the environment and social justice issues that affect the lives of women of color.

The foundation provides strategic grants for capacity building, technical assistance, leadership development, and collaboration and convening opportunities with other nonprofits, donors, and community leaders. NMCF also provides scholarships, fiscal scholarships, and management services for nonprofits as well as traditional grants.

In a recent year, for example, NMCF awarded nearly $5.8 million in grants and scholarships to nonprofits and students in New Mexico. That year, the foundation gave the most to the southeast quadrant of New Mexico, followed by the central Rio Grande Corridor, and then the southwest quadrant. The northern half of the state received considerably less funding than the southern half, and $317,022 went to out-of-state causes. A list of recent grants can be found on the foundation website. Most of these grants ranged between $5,000 and $25,000.

Internal shifts have occurred at NMCF because President Jennifer Parks left the foundation to become the next CEO at the Los Alamos National Laboratory Foundation in January 2015. At the time this profile was written, the board was still searching for a new interim president.

Check out the For Nonprofits sections on the foundation website and follow the foundation’s Facebook page as well. General inquiries can be directed to the Santa Fe office at 505-820-6860 or


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