Santa Fe Community Foundation: New Mexico Grants

OVERVIEW: The Santa Fe Community Foundation has nearly $70 million in assets under management today and limits grantmaking to the northern New Mexico counties, including Los Alamos, Mora, Rio Arriba, San Miguel, Santa Fe, and Taos. All competitive seasonal grants are $5,000, $10,000, or $15,000 depending on a nonprofit’s budget. SFCF generally only makes general operating support grants.

FUNDING AREAS: Arts, economic opportunity, education, environment, health and human services, criminal justice

IP TAKE: A while back, the Santa Fe Community Foundation placed a minimum of 5 percent of its pooled invested assets (currently investing about $1.5 million of charitable capital) in Santa Fe to address local need. Check out the foundation’s general grant information page because each season (spring and fall) focuses on its own specific goals and strategies.

PROFILE: Like many community foundations around the country, the Santa Fe Community Foundation manages donor-advised funds and engages in discretionary grantmaking as well. This community foundation was established in 1981, and as a signatory to Philanthropy’s Promise, an initiative of the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy, at least 25 percent of grantmaking goes to social justice strategies. These include programs that promote advocacy, community organizing, and civic engagement.

SFCF grantmaking is limited to the northern New Mexico counties, including Los Alamos, Mora, Rio Arriba, San Miguel, Santa Fe, and Taos. Through discretionary grantmaking, the foundation aims to fund the broadest range of strong local organizations to meet community needs and inspire additional funding from donors. The foundation admits that most of its grants are relatively small, but it’s funding is flexible and designed to leverage other funding from other foundations and individual donors.

At the end of a recent year, the SFCF reported over $69 million in assets and over $4 million total giving. All competitive seasonal grants are typically $5,000, $10,000, or $15,000 depending on a nonprofit’s budget. SFCF generally only makes general operating support grants.

Foundation initiatives are volunteer-run funds that are supported by SFCF staff, and have their own independent grantmaking ability. Here are a few details about the foundation’s current initiatives.

Education: The Dollars4Schools fund resides at the Santa Fe Community Foundation and is a local website dedicated to supporting teaching programs in Santa Fe public schools.

LGBTQ Issues: The SFCF Envision Fund invests in the future of LGBTQ populations in Northern New Mexico by funding projects like youth homelessness, suicide prevention, and rural youth. A major supporter of the fund has pledged a $25,000 match for all gifts of $1,000 or more from new or lapsed donors. Recent grants include $4,000 to the New Mexico Suicide Prevention Project, $4,500 to the Solace Crisis Treatment Center, and $2,500 for a Santa Fe Performing Arts production of the Proposition 8 trial in California.

Health: SFCF received a three-year, $3.11 million grant to fund a community-based health planning and policy development partnership across the state. The foundation manages the New Mexico Health Equity Partnership by partnering with other foundations, impact assessment teams, health councils, and statewide and nationwide organizations. Communities in focus are Bernalillo, Doña Ana, San Juan, and McKinley.

Criminal Justice: SFCF criminal justice funding is about keeping low-level, nonviolent drug offenders out of the unproductive and costly criminal justice system. This foundation initiative aims to divert these offenders into treatment instead of prison.

Other foundation initiatives involve getting healthy meals into food deserts, wellness of Native Americans, successful entrepreneurship, and early childhood care. Check out the current initiatives on the foundation website.

SFCF has made it a priority to streamline its grantmaking process so that nonprofits aren’t wasting a lot of time preparing application materials. However, the foundation isn’t interested in startup nonprofits, and only organizations with three years of operation are eligible for grants. Although nonprofits are generally only allowed to apply for funding once per year, organizations requesting funds from the Native American or Lesbian & Gay Initiatives can double dip and apply for a community grant as well.

Brian T. Byrnes stepped down as the foundation’s president and CEO, so the foundation is currently led by Interim President Jerry G. Jones. After about five years at SFCF, Byrnes, an ordained Zen priest, left to become a full-time, socially engaged Zen practitioner at Upaya Zen Center in Santa Fe. Under Byrnes’ leadership, the foundation increased its assets under management from $25 million to nearly $70 million.

For more information on the SFCF grantmaking process, contact Christa Coggins, Vice President for Community Philanthropy at 505-988-9715 ext. 7002 or email her at


  • Search for staff contact info and bios in PeopleFinder (paid subscribers only.)