New Mexico Women of Color Nonprofit Leadership Initiative

If we want to see changes in organizations and systems,
we need to bring our chairs and take a seat at the table.
This programming has taught me how to do that with grace and authority….
I have already started to share some lessons I learned with other women.

—Attiana Virella-Fuentes, Santa Fe Public Schools Adelante Program and 2019 Cohort Participant

Nicolle Gonzales, LuzMarina Serrano (with daughter Paloma),
and Desiree Loggins at a December 2018 NM WOCLI gathering.   
Photo Credit: Daniel Hyde

Please click here for the application page. Applications are due on Friday, November 29, 2019.
Your application is confidential and will be reviewed by the Application Review Committee, women of color working in the sector and connected to the Initiative:

  • Dr. Mi'Jan Celie Tho-Biaz, Initiative Founder and Leader Facilitator
  • Gabrielle Uballez, Initiative Co-Facilitator and National Organizing Director for the U.S. Department of Arts & Culture
  • Kira Luna, 2019 cohort member and Education Manager for the Center for Nonprofit Excellence
  • Lorilynn Violanta, 2019 cohort member and Director of Advancement for NMCAN

Staff at the Santa Fe Community Foundation will support the review committee and will process your application but will not participate in the review or voting process. 

Optional Information Session 
There will be an information session hosted with Initiative Founder and Leade Facilitator, Dr. Mi'Jan Tho-Biaz, on Monday, November 18, 2019. Attending is optional and not mandatory for applicants. It's an opportunity to learn more and meet leadership. Please click here to learn more and register (no charge; remote access option available.)

Application Timeline
Please note: semi-finalist interview days on December 12 and 13, 2019. We will work with you to find a time slot and will have the option of conducting interviews remotely. In-person interviews will take place at the Santa Fe Community Foundation.


What is this Initiative?
In a region as diverse as northern New Mexico, women of color are under-represented in nonprofit leadership. We are working to change that. Developed with an advisory committee of current nonprofit leaders, the Initiative is designed for established and emergent women of color looking to broaden their skills and create community, while deepening their leadership in a peer-based, supportive environment. The long-term goals of the Initiative are to build the leadership capacity and practical skills of participants and, ultimately, to see a sustainable increase in nonprofit leadership roles filled by women of color.

Participation is by application and women are encouraged to apply on their own behalf as well as to encourage colleauges. Applicants do not need to be nominated.

With a maximum of 16-18 participants, the cohort will be focused and intimate. The format includes a full-day retreat followed by six bi-weekly 4-hour sessions between February and May of 2020. (See below for specific dates.) The series includes guest speakers from the community and content addressing:

  • Narrative Development
  • Community-Based, Culturally Responsive Leadership
  • Women of Color Leaders as Conveners
  • Mentorship Ecosystems
  • Money and Negotiation
  • Team Building

The Individual Leadership Plan (ILP) is a tool that each participant will develop over the course of the program. Facilitators and fellow participants will help you assess your current skills and needs, and you will create a long-term actionable plan to support your leadership vision and goals.

Who leads this Inititative?

Dr. Mi’Jan Celie Tho-Biaz, Ed.D., is a cultural leader, oral historian and documentarian who works with communities across the themes of sovereignty, transformation, healing and equity to honor their past, make meaning of their present, and vision loving and liberated futures.

Dr. Tho-Biaz is a 2019 - 2020 Kennedy Center Citizen Artist, 2019 - 2020 Encore Public Voices Fellow, and is the founder and directs the New Mexico Women of Color Nonprofit Leadership Initiative at the Santa Fe Community Foundation.

Previously, Dr. Tho-Biaz designed and led the Steinem Initiative’s public policy digital storytelling pilot at Smith College, was a visiting scholar at the Interdisciplinary Center for Innovative Theory and Empirics at Columbia University, and recently keynoted at Stanford University's "Culturally Responsive Pedagogy and the Arts" conference, as well as Carnegie's Hall's Create Justice Forum.

Gabrielle Uballez, Co-Facilitator - Ms. Uballez is a cultural organizer, educator, and art administrator. She currently serves as the National Organizing Director for the U.S. Department of Arts and Culture and in 2018 was appointed to the City of Albuquerque Urban Enhancement Trust Fund committee. Uballez formerly served as the Special Projects Associate for the Studio Museum in Harlem; contributed to Crescendo Cultural, the first national task force of young Latino art professionals, organized by the National Museum of Mexican Art; and is an active member of the Western Arts Alliance Emerging Leaders of Color Program and national arts advocacy initiative. 

Uballez earned her B.A. in Art and Art History from Pomona College, a certificate from Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business Executive Program for Non-Profit Leaders and is a member of the 2019 class of the Fourth Quadrant Partners Emergent Learning cohort.  She is also a wife and mother currently living in her hometown of Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Who should apply?
The ideal candidate is a New Mexico-based, self-identified woman of color in a leadership role in the nonprofit sector who is seeking mentorship, peer connection, hard and soft skills, and the time and space to focus on her own specific leadership path. This includes emergent leaders who are actively working on growing their career and looking for opportunities to deepen their practices. The Application Review Committee will work thoughtfully and intentionally to create a cohesive cohort with the goal of striving to support deep connections and ongoing relationships. Our intention is that program participants will continue to champion one another as they advance in their leadership careers.

Applicants do not need to be nominated. We do invite you to encourage those peers and colleagues who you think may be a fit for this work. 

Cohort members will:

  • Be currently employed in the nonprofit sector in New Mexico.
  • Have a demonstrated history of commitment to community work and the New Mexico nonprofit sector.
  • Have the support of their employer and be availableto participate in all program sessions.
  • Be able to commit to follow up assignments between sessions.
  • Be ready to work on clarifying their own skill and leadership development needs.
  • Be committed to drafting and implementing an Individual Leadership Plan (ILP)

What is the time commitment?
Participants should expect to spend 2-3 hours on prep work between bi-weekly sessions and additional time with their mentor, identified from the community. Sessions for the cohort include a full day retreat and six subsequent sessions as follows. Cohort members commit to attending all sessions. 

  • Friday, February 7, 2020 - Full day retreat, 9am - 5pm
  • Thursday, February 13, 2020 - Cohort Session, 12pm - 4pm
  • Thursday, February 27, 2020 - Chort session, 10am - 2pm (*Please note morning time.)
  • Thursday, March 12, 2020 -  Cohort Session, 12pm - 4pm
  • Thursday, March 26, 2020 - Cohort Session, 12pm - 4pm
  • Thursday, April 9, 2019 -  Cohort Session, 12pm - 4pm
  • Thursday, April 23, 2020 -  Cohort Session, 12pm - 4pm

What is the cost?
Program registration fees are set on a sliding scale, based on your organization’s annual budget:

  • Tier 1, Organization Budget Under $150,000/year:   $155
  • Tier 2, Organization Budget $150-500,000/year:       $265
  • Tier 3, Organization Budget Over $500,000/year:     $395

Fees cover the February 7, 2020 full-day retreat and the six subsequent cohort sessions. We encourage applicants to discuss the availability of professional development funds with their organizations. Modest travel stipends may also be available for participants outside of Santa Fe County.

Please contact us if you have questions about fees and how we can support your participation. While we have seen program registration fees encourage commitment and emphasize the value of learning opportunities, this Initiative is committed to fees not presenting a barrier to any cohort member’s participation.

The 2019 Inaugural Cohort:

Jordan Bosiljevac, Breakthrough Santa Fe
Dalene Coriz, Santa Fe Indian School - Leadership Institute
Maria Gallegos, Working Classroom
Nicolle L. Gonzales, Changing Woman Initiative
Michelle Gutiérrez, Notah Begay III Foundation
Inez Jiron Leibman, Mesa to Mesa
Desiree Loggins, National Audubon Society – Audubon New Mexico
Kira Luna, Center for Nonprofit Excellence
– United Way of Central New Mexico
Hanna Negusie, Academy for the Love of Learning
Mandisa C. Routheni, New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty
Alexandria Taylor, New Mexico Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs
Cecilia (Cecy) Velasco, Forward Together / Strong Families New Mexico
Lorilynn Violanta, NMCAN
Attiana Virella-Fuentes, Adelante Program – Santa Fe Public Schools

2019 Guest Speakers

Breanna Contreras, Bardacke Allison, LLP
Jaime Gloshay, Roanhorse Consulting / Native Women Lead Co-Founder
Gabriela Gomez, Santa Fe Community Foundation
Jaclyn Roessel, Grownup Navajo / Native Women Lead Co-Founder
Andrea Romero, Representative, New Mexico Legislature
Antionette Tellez-Humble, Native American Community Academy Inspired Schools Network


Questions about this Initiative or any of our work? Contact Director of Community Programs, Annmarie McLaughlin at or
505-988-9715, ext 7005, and be sure you are on the Foundation's mailing list for ongoing updates. We look forward to working with you!