SFCF News and Updates

The Envision Fund Makes Nearly $100,000 in LGBTQ Grants Across New Mexico

The Envision Fund, the LGBTQ fund for New Mexico and an initiative of the Santa Fe Community Foundation, is pleased to announce $65,000 in grants to ten LGBTQ-focused non-profit organizations across New Mexico. In addition, through working with its philanthropic partners who hold Donor Advised funds with the Santa Fe Community Foundation, nearly an additional $30,000 was awarded to these same ten organizations, plus one additional one.

The Envision Fund was started in 1997 with support from national foundations and discretionary resources at the Santa Fe Community Foundation. In 2017 the Envision Fund was relaunched as a statewide funder supporting LGBTQ organizations outside of the Santa Fe Community Foundation’s traditional footprint of grantmaking in Santa Fe and neighboring northern New Mexico counties. As a result, this year’s grantees come from counties across the state.

Eleven organizations received a total of $94,000.

  • Casa Q (Albuquerque)
  • Deming Pride (Deming)
  • Equality New Mexico Foundation (statewide)
  • Families & Youth Inc (Las Cruces) Identity Inc (Farmington)
  • Los Alamos Teen Center/Family YMCA (Los Alamos)
  • PFLAG (Las Cruces)
  • Santa Fe Dreamers Project (Santa Fe)
  • Santa Fe Public Schools/Office of Student Wellness (Santa Fe)
  • Solace Crisis Treatment Center (Santa Fe)
  • Transgender Resource Center NM (statewide/ABQ)

All grantees were funded to support three goals of The Envision Fund:

  1. Creating an HIV-Free generation in New Mexico;
  2. Combatting discrimination against LGBTQ+ people in whatever form (such as employment, housing, immigration, access to health services, etc.); and
  3. Supporting school-based programs that create a safe environment for all students, including LGBTQ+ students.

“As the only funder specifically focused on supporting LGBTQ organizations and communities in New Mexico, The Envision Fund is proud to have granted out over $700,000 since its inception, including grants to the impressive list of grantees for 2018,” said William (Bill) Smith, President and CEO of the Santa Fe Community Foundation. “Through mobilizing nearly $100,000 in grants this year alone, we know the work these organizations do day in and day out is transformative for LGBTQ people and communities and advances a more just New Mexico,” said Smith.

The grantmaking dollars of The Envision Fund are possible due to the many generous donors who support the Fund. This year, the Santa Fe Community Foundation is especially grateful that, for the first-time ever, two sister community foundations in New Mexico – the Albuquerque Community Foundation and the Community Foundation of Southern New Mexico – partnered in funding Envision Fund grants.

"The Envision Fund is thrilled to support such a diverse group of organizations that serve vital roles for LGBTQ+ New Mexicans,” said Dhru Shah, Chair of the Envision Fund. “Our mission to provide statewide support for LGBTQ-focused organizations and programs is well under way, and is the result of generous contributions from community members who share our desire to live in an inclusive state that is mobilizing efforts to achieve equality and acceptance for our LGBTQ+ communities," continued Shah.

To find out more about The Envision Fund please go to

HEP Awards $77,500 to Eleven Organizations Working to Improve the Lives of Men and Boys of Color

The New Mexico Health Equity Partnership (HEP), an initiative at the Santa Fe Community Foundation, works with a network of partners to build movement to ensure every New Mexican can lead a healthy life, live in neighborhoods where our children and families thrive, and have a say in the decisions that impact their communities and their lives.

 HEP is excited to partner with RISE for Boys and Men of Color, a field advancement effort at the University of Southern California, which aims to better understand and strategically improve the lives, experiences and outcomes of boys and men of color in the United States. RISE spans five fields (education, health, human services and social policy, juvenile and criminal justice, and workforce development) and focuses on four populations (Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, Blacks, Latinos, and Native Americans).

Through this partnership, HEP is excited to announce $77,500 in funding for eleven organizations in Albuquerque and surrounding indigenous communities that are working to improve the lives of men and boys of color. Grantee partners include:

These grantee-partners will utilize the resources to sustain and strengthen the work of boys and men of color by enhancing their organizational capacity to assess, document, and track effective practices and forward-thinking, asset based, unconventional solutions. This funding will be an opportunity for current HEP network members, Global 505 and Together for Brothers to build on their current Health Impact Assessment efforts around transportation, language access, employment, and education. They will continue to utilize forward thinking data collection methods such as art to share narratives. HEP is excited about the opportunity to continue work with these organizations, as well as to develop partnerships with new social justice organizations working to improve the lives of boys and men of color. In addition to funding, HEP will provide opportunities for the eleven organizations to learn with and from each other via zoom sessions and the 2018 Statewide Health Equity gathering. Travel stipends will be provided for grantee partners to attend the gathering.

The overall vision of this capacity building resource pool is to advance understanding about the relationship between opportunities, social conditions, and systems that impact boys and men of color, and provide specificity in meeting the needs of certain communities. HEP emphasizes that by better understanding these connections, we can collectively improve the conditions, which create healthier communities, for boys and men of color and all New Mexicans.

ShowHouse Santa Fe 2017 Raises $36,500 in Support of Dollars4Schools

March 1, 2018

The interior design extravaganza, ShowHouse Santa Fe 2017, was one of the most successful events in its five-year long history. In total the event raised $36,500 for Dollars4Schools, an initiative at the Santa Fe Community Foundation. The event featured over 20 of Santa Fe’s top interior designers as they collectively transformed a premiere estate into a classic and enchanting experience, themed West of Contemporary – A Journey in Black and White.

ShowHouse Santa Fe premiered in 2013 with a mission to raise funds to support public education in Santa Fe, via their partner Dollars4Schools. Each year, ShowHouse partners with a local estate owner to host the event and a handful of interior designers who are assigned a room to add their unique touch. Hundreds of guests then pay to visit the beautiful home, but the real beauty of the extraordinary ShowHouse Santa Fe event is the purpose behind it – supporting Santa Fe’s public-school students and teachers with the money raised.

The event has raised a total of $140,000 since 2013, allowing Dollars4Schools to fund nearly 300 classroom programs in 29 Santa Fe schools and impacting hundreds of teachers and thousands of students.

Dollars4Schools’ Program Director Ona Johnson said, “I am honored to be part of such an amazing team of individuals who work tirelessly every year to bring ShowHouse Santa Fe to life. It’s been an amazing five years, and a true joy to see how the work has enriched the lives of so many Santa Fe students and teachers. Dollars4Schools is so grateful for the continued support of ShowHouse Santa Fe and honored to have such an incredible partner as we work together in support of public education.”

Money raised at ShowHouse 2017 has already allowed Dollars4Schools to support classroom programs in the following Santa Fe schools this school year:

Academy for Technology and the Classics
Monte del Sol Charter School
Aspen Community Magnet School
Nava Elementary School
Atalaya Elementary School
Nina Otero Community School
Capital High School
Ortiz Middle School
Carlos Gilbert Elementary School
Pinon Elementary School
Cesar Chavez Elementary School
Santa Fe High School
E.J. Martinez Elementary School
Sweeney Elementary School
El Camino Real Academy
Tesuque Elementary School
Gonzales Community School
Wood Gormley Elementary School
Milagro Middle School

ShowHouse Santa Fe continues its heartfelt commitment to public education and Dollars4Schools in its sixth year as preparations are already underway for ShowHouse Santa Fe 2018! About Dollars4Schools: Dollars4Schools, an initiative of the Santa Fe Community Foundation, is a web-based funding resource dedicated to supporting public school students and teachers in Santa Fe. Learn more at

Santa Fe Community Foundation Invests in Las Vegas, NM Historic Hotels
March 1, 2018

The Santa Fe Community Foundation (SFCF) is now a small part owner of the Plaza Hotel and La Castañeda Hotel in Las Vegas, New Mexico after investing part of the dedicated funds from their Impact Investing Initiative. The majority is owned by Winslow Arts Trust, a 501-c3 public benefit corporation established by Allan Affeldt who has also leveraged expertise and innovative financing tools with US Bank and Clearinghouse CDFI. The total transaction was just over $10m and leveraged nearly $3m in New Market Tax Credits, a program of the US Treasury designed to incentivize investment in distressed communities.

“For decades SFCF has been doing grantmaking to nonprofits in Las Vegas and San Miguel County,” said Bill Smith, President and CEO of the Santa Fe Community Foundation. “This is our first impact investment into Las Vegas and we are proud to be part of the economic revitalization of the city and of these two historic properties,” Smith continued.

The Southwest historic treasure, La Castañeda, was built in 1898 and attracted railroad travelers and locals because of its fascinating architecture. Similarly, the Plaza Hotel (built just 6 years earlier) had many rail passengers stopping right here in New Mexico to visit its Victorian charm. The Plaza Hotel was renovated in the 1980s and from 2006 to 2015 additions (such as the old Ilfeld Department Store building next door) and renovations continued, providing guests with the same charm it did over 136 years ago. The Plaza Hotel - overlooking beautiful Plaza Park - is open, with major recent and ongoing improvements. This month the famous Range Cafe group of Albuquerque will begin operating the Plaza restaurant. Plans to bring La Castañeda back to life are already in effect with the investments SFCF and Allan Affeldt have devoted; it is expected to reopen in fall of 2019.

Allan Affeldt and his artist wife, Tina Mion, bought and restored La Posada Hotel in Winslow, Arizona. La Posada has created 80+ permanent jobs and attracts 100,000 visitors a year. They expect the combined Plaza and Castañeda Hotels project will have similar visitorship and more than 100 permanent jobs. The construction crew already exceeds 40 full time employees – virtually all from Las Vegas, NM.

“Las Vegas is one of the most beautiful small towns in the Southwest, with a history easily the equal of Santa Fe, Taos or Albuquerque – but it is virtually forgotten. The restoration of La Castañeda and Plaza Hotels is playing a crucial role in the renaissance of Las Vegas, restoring this historic community to its rightful place as a must-see for visitors to northern New Mexico. We are delighted to be working with SFCF to make these projects possible, and to bring so many good jobs and vitality to this long-overlooked treasure of the Southwest,” said Allan Affeldt.

In August 2012, the Santa Fe Community Foundation's Board of Directors approved the decision to embark on a local Impact Investing Initiative. They have committed up to 10% of its pooled endowment assets to invest in promising local opportunities that promote its mission in northern New Mexico region while providing financial return. When presented with the opportunity to invest in the Plaza Hotel and La Casteñeda, SFCF immediately deployed resources to get involved.

“The revitalization of Las Vegas aligns perfectly with our goals for the Impact Investing Initiative here at the Foundation. We are optimistic that this investment will once again attract locals and tourists to this culturally unique place through its rich history, architectural heritage, and beautiful vast landscapes,” continued Bill Smith.

The Foundation will be returning all revenue generated from this investment into a designated fund for the purpose of doing nonprofit grantmaking in the greater Las Vegas area in perpetuity. Local advisors in Las Vegas will work closely with the Foundation in carrying out this grantmaking and undertaking additional activities to spur greater philanthropy in the city and San Miguel County.

Santa Fe Community Foundation Invests in Math Education

November 26, 2017

When the bell rings for class, you might find the middle school students at Carlsbad Academy in New Mexico on the high seas, calculating the number of cannons needed to repel a pirate attack. Or they may be scrambling to determine the number of potential Black Plague patients, the number of medicine vials they will need and the potency of the remedy. The scenarios they receive continue to expand.


The one thing these students won’t be given is a mathematical formula.

In a reversal of the traditional middle school mathematics tutorial, students in over two dozen New Mexico schools are joining their peers in 13 states in an immersive, multimedia approach to mathematics, through MidSchoolMath, an innovative start-up company based in Taos. The goal is to address the “middle school math cliff,” a drop in math proficiency from fourth to tenth grade, according to research sponsored by the National Science Foundation.

Scott Laidlaw, Ed.D., a former middle school math teacher in Taos, New Mexico and Jennifer Lightwood, CPA, CMA launched the company in 2009 with a goal to weave storytelling directly into the teaching process through computer animation, but they didn’t have funding for the advanced, interactive digital toolset or working capital until receiving a $250,000 investment (a loan which was later converted to equity) from the Santa Fe Community Foundation in April 2016.

“The Santa Fe Community Foundation allowed us to continue investing in the product when we absolutely needed to,” Laidlaw says. “Now, our goal is to be the top curriculum provider across the US for fifth through eighth grades. No doubt, without the Foundation’s support, we would not be in this position.”

Now, thanks to that helping hand, students are free to think creatively about math, first immersed in a whole group setting and then working with a simulator individually, helping each other in the program.

“We saw a critical need with the potential for high impact and the leverage that our impact investment dollars could have through an innovation in a local social enterprise start-up,” Joohee Rand, Vice President for Community Investment & Strategy, Santa Fe Community Foundation, said.

The MidSchoolMath approach was found to be 2.3 times more effective than other curriculum providers in a randomized study supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) -. Subsequently, MidSchoolMath won a $750,000 NSF Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II grant to commercialize innovative technology by conducting research and development work on the firm’s virtual reality software program.

“With the National Science Foundation grant, we leveraged our capital by three times” the Community Foundation’s Rand said. Recently, the Foundation was approached by a local school whose contract with the company was threatened by budget cuts. With support of donors, the Foundation provided a grant to the school to help continue the contract and benefit approximately 400 students.

Multiplying the Impact


The combination of the investment with the grant illustrates the Foundation’s ability to achieve a greater impact using multiple types of funding. It is a model Santa Fe Community Foundation aims to replicate as it welcomes additional investors in bringing MidSchoolMath to more schools and students within the state and all 50 states across the country. The Foundation also seeks to make other impact investments within New Mexico and work with national partners to bring additional capital into the state.

The return on the initial investment into MidSchoolMath has multiplied. The company now has a 50 percent matching grant opportunity up to $500,000 (with a $1 million investment) from the National Science Foundation for any new third-party investment.

To date, MidSchoolMath has received over $2.5 million in grants and investments from federal agencies and local organizations to fund expansion of its comprehensive curriculum with math simulations, games, live-action video, and a 12-employee roster.

Rand sees the value of Santa Fe Community Foundation (and other small community foundations) as place-based investors with on the ground presence to support investments and partner with national foundations who have a relevant mission but lack local knowledge. Community foundations can also play an important role as an anchor institution that can catalyze and mobilize impact investing in the region.

Since the 2013 launch of its impact investment initiative, the Foundation’s board has committed up to $4.5 million to impact investing in local companies, organization and funds in a state that is known for its rich culture, history and diversity. New Mexico’s rugged natural beauty is a double-edged blessing, as the state is somewhat isolated with limited access to capital, making the foundation work harder to engage national partners and raise awareness of opportunities. New Mexico struggles with educational achievement, poverty and lack of economic opportunities, as do many low-income states.

The Foundation takes its responsibility as a model for other smaller foundations seriously and looks to have long-term catalytic impact. Initially, the Foundation focused primarily on intermediaries and building capacity together to strengthen local ecosystem for impact investing. Santa Fe Community Foundation has also made direct investments with nearly $2 million invested for impact in 11 local projects and intermediaries.

The results of Santa Fe Community Foundation’s impact investments range from investments to provide homes to low-income and immigrant families to a 20,000-square-foot art complex that brought over 100 local artists in creative collaboration for economic development. The students participating in MidSchoolMath immersive curriculum may one day calculate the future benefits in New Mexico and across the country.

For more information about the MidSchoolMath NSF matching investment opportunity, contact Dr. Scott Laidlaw at or 801.657.1035 or Joohee Rand at or 505.988.9715.

Santa Fe Community Foundation receives Girls Inc.'s 2017 Strong, Smart and Bold Award

October 3, 2017


Girls Inc. of Santa Fe honored the Foundation with the 2017 Strong, Smart and Bold Award at their annual Girls Inc. Gala on September 14, 2017 at the La Fonda on the Plaza. The following is excerpted from Kim Brown, President & CEO of Girls Inc.'s presentation:

"I know, you, just like us, believe in girls and want a world where many more girls grow up Strong, Smart, and Bold. These young women are our future. They will become future leaders and role models for their sisters, brothers, parents, family and friends and the next generation. Your positive contribution will shape our community and our larger society. 

So tonight is all about how we come together and how you make a difference. Each and every one of you has an opportunity to give back and stand in her corner, to fuel her fire so she can succeed.

It has become clear to me and all of us that we cannot do this alone and it’s important to not only thank you all for joining us tonight and being part of her family but for us to also recognize an organization that has inspired New Mexico communities to be stronger, smarter and bolder for 33 years. 

Our honoree, our Strong, Smart and Bold award winner, is the Santa Fe Community Foundation.

I was just thrilled when our committee selected the Community Foundation. Here is an organization so dedicated to the Santa Fe community--- typically the one to honors others, and so deserving. Their devotion to building healthy and vital communities is so critical for all of us. 

They focus their philanthropy on the critical issues facing our community and help nonprofits, like Girls Inc., become highly effective and achieve our full potential.

They make it more possible for all of us to tackle complex community problems.

As an organization, we have benefited greatly from your hard work.

My staff and I have attended numerous training, networking groups, and events put on by the team at Santa Fe Community Foundation, and I have seen the direct impact that has made on each of us. My staff, colleagues, and I have become better leaders, more responsive to community needs and all around more intentional at doing our jobs.

Community philanthropists are more engaged and give more strategically, making a bigger impact on our critical needs. Girls Inc. has received gifts throughout the years and those funds help us make a difference in the lives of girls.

So on behalf of the girls in Santa Fe, and all of us, I am happy to award you with this award.

Thank you for making all of us stronger, smarter and bolder." - Kim Brown, President & CEO at Girls Inc. of Santa Fe

Click here to learn more about Girls Inc., and click here to stay up-to-date on Facebook. 

Your Community Foundation. Your Voice. SFCF Community Conversation - Update

October 2, 2017


The Santa Fe Community Foundation hosted 11 Community Conversations throughout Santa Fe and one in Española in the last several months. Several community members attended the events and discussed areas of concern in the community and how the Foundation might play a role in addressing community obstacles. We look forward to staying in touch with the outcomes of the conversations.

About the conversations:

The conversations are a part of how we are redefining our goals and strategic framework focused on achieving more "equitable access to opportunities" in our communities.

Over the past year, the Santa Fe Community Foundation board and staff have engaged in deep reflection of our work and how we can better serve our community. As a part of our learning journey, we have partnered in and reviewed many research and community engagement reports already created by our community partners on a broad range of topics to help challenge our assumptions and inform our views of the community.

What does "equitable access to opportunities" look like in our communities? 

In the daily lives of our residents?

In our unique role as a community foundation? 

For our nonprofit and donor partners?

...and how can we make the most impact with our limited resources?

These are questions we are asking ourselves as we map our path forward. We have a sense of the goal, but we do not have answers on how to get there. We know that we cannot achieve the goal without your partnership.