News and Updates


Santa Fe Community Foundation Envision Fund Awards over $75,000 to nonprofits
November 19, 2019

Santa Fe, NM – The Envision Fund, the LGBTQ fund for New Mexico, and an initiative of the Santa Fe Community Foundation, is pleased to announce over $75,000 in grants to 17 LGBTQ-focused nonprofit organizations across New Mexico, with grants ranging from $5,000 - $15,000. A portion of those grants ($33,000) was granted through working directly with philanthropic partners who hold donor advised funds with the Foundation.

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.

Grantees include:
Common Bond New Mexico Foundation
Community Against Violence
Equality New Mexico Foundation
Homestead Classroom
Justice Access Support & Solutions for Health
Nat Gold Players
New Mexico Foundation -
    Closet Cinema/ Way Out West Film Fest
New Mexico Legal Aid
NM Faith Coalition for Immigrant Justice
NMSU Foundation
Office of Student Wellness – Santa Fe Public Schools
Planned Parenthood of New Mexico
SAGE Albuquerque
Santa Fe Dreamers Project
Santa Fe Mountain Center
Sky Center – NMSIP
Transgender Resource Center


“Ensuring full inclusion of LGBTQ New Mexicans across our state is the driving force of the Envision Fund and this cohort of grantees moves us closer to that vision,” said William “Bill” Smith, President and CEO of the Santa Fe Community Foundation.

The grantmaking dollars of The Envision Fund are possible due to the generosity of the many donors who support the Fund. The Santa Fe Community Foundation is particularly grateful to partner with three sister community foundations in New Mexico – the Albuquerque Community Foundation, the Taos Community Foundation, and the Community Foundation of Southern New Mexico in funding Envision Fund grants.

The Envision Fund, has three core priorities: creating an HIV-Free generation in New Mexico; combatting discrimination against LGBTQ+ people in whatever form (such as employment, housing, immigration, access to health services); and supporting school-based programs that create a safe environment for all students, including LGBTQ+ students. The largest philanthropic entity in New Mexico dedicated solely to serving the LGBTQ+ population, the Fund has made over $850,000 in grants since its inception in 1997.

For more information about the Foundation’s grantmaking process and how to get involved, please visit:

2019 Competitive Fall Grant Cycle Grantees Announced
October 28, 2019

Santa Fe, NM – Each year, the Santa Fe Community Foundation (SFCF) holds two competitive grant cycles, one in the spring and one in the fall. This fall, the Foundation made awards to 31 nonprofits that focus on Cultural Vibrancy and Health & Wellbeing with grants from $5,000 - $15,000, totaling $320,000.

Grantees in the area of Health & Wellbeing include:

Bag 'N' Hand Food Pantry
Bernal Community Center
Bienvenidos Outreach
Breath of My Heart Birth Place
Comedor de San Pascual
Coming Home Connection
Cooking With Kids
Dixon Community Fire Department
Feeding Santa Fe
Gerard's House
Interfaith Community Shelter Group
Life Link
McCurdy Ministries
Mora Valley Community Health Services
New Mexico Coalition Against
Domestic Violence
Presbyterian Medical Services
Self Help
Solace Crisis Treatment Center
Southwestern College
St. Elizabeth Shelter
Villages of Santa Fe

Grantees in the area of Cultural Vibrancy include:

El Rancho de Las Golondrinas
El Rito Public Library
Española Valley Fiber Arts Center
New Mexico Black History Organizing Committee
New Mexico Office of Archaeological Studies
Ohkay Owingeh Housing Authority
Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival
Santa Fe Community Orchestra
Teatro Paraguas

Through the grants cycles, the Foundation seeks to fund a broad range of strong nonprofit organizations in Santa Fe, Rio Arriba, San Miguel, and Mora counties that are addressing unmet community needs, tracking results, and are actively collaborating and aligning their work with other community partners (including the Foundation) to improve results and address equity challenges through collective efforts. For more information about the Foundation’s grantmaking process and how to get involved, please visit:

2019 Board Members Announced
October 21, 2019

The Santa Fe Community Foundation is pleased to announce the appointment of six new members to its Board of Directors: Sue Coliton, Javier Gonzales, Dolly Naranjo Neikrug, Dolores Overton, Patricia Rosenberg and Marcos Zubia. All bring with them significant experience as nonprofit board members and add a depth and breadth of experience deeply rooted in northern New Mexico and the nonprofit and foundation worlds.

“We are excited about this new cohort of amazing New Mexicans that have joined the Foundation’s Board of Directors,” said Board Chair Lisa Enfield. “They join an already incredible group of leaders who help lead our Foundation and its work to create a stronger Santa Fe, region, and state,” continued Enfield.

Sue Coliton is a national consultant to philanthropists, foundations and nonprofits and most recently was the past Vice President of the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation. She has also served on the boards of the Washington State Arts Commission, the Seattle Public Library and Philanthropy Northwest.

Javier Gonzales, a Santa Fe native, works with Descartes Labs and was the Mayor of Santa Fe from 2014-2018. He is also a past member of the Board of Regents at New Mexico Highlands University and New Mexico State University.

Dolly Naranjo Neikrug, a Santa Clara native, is the past Principal of the San Ildefonso Day School and of the Santa Clara Day School. Her community activities include board service for the Northern New Mexico Children’s Choir, Santa Fe 4-H, and the United Way of Santa Fe. She currently also serves on the Board of Regents of the New Mexico Museum and the Board of Trustees for the Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian. She is returning to the Board of the Foundation.

Dolores Overton brings with her an extensive financial background in banking and accounting as a senior Vice President at First National 1870 and is a current or former board member of the St. Vincent Hospital Foundation, the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi, and Girls, Inc. of Santa Fe.

Patricia Rosenberg was a longtime management consultant to the financial industry; her philanthropic work includes service on the boards of the Association House of Chicago, the Chicago Arthritis Foundation and United Way. She is returning to the Foundation’s Board.

Marcos Zubia is a Santa Fe native and local real estate professional with JAM Real Estate Experts at Keller Williams, and is also the Board President of Esperanza Shelter. In 2017, he was recognized by the Santa Fe New Mexican as of one of the Ten Who Made a Difference in Santa Fe.

“Each of these new members brings a skill set and passion for our communities that will guide the Foundation’s work in the years ahead,” said William (Bill) Smith, President & CEO of Santa Fe Community Foundation. “I’m excited to be working with them and all Members of the Board in our work,” commented Smith.

The Officers of the 2019-2020 Board are:
Lisa M. Enfield, Chair
Elizabeth Rice, Vice Chair
Patricia Marcus Curtis, Secretary
Richard Moore, Treasurer

Additional Members of the Board are:
Elmo Baca
Beth Beloff
Carole Brito
William Finnoff
Emily Haozous
Deborah Holloway
Mary Anne Larsen
Manuel Monasterio
Lillian Montoya
Suzanne Ortega Cisneros
Robert (Vince) Smith



Kevin Sokol-White promoted to Vice President of Finance & Operations
October 15, 2019

The Santa Fe Community Foundation is pleased to announce our new Vice President of Finance & Operations, Kevin Sokol-White. Mr. Sokol-White, with 30 years of senior finance management experience in the energy industry, is a native of Gulfport, Mississippi and recently moved full-time to Santa Fe, after purchasing property here over a decade ago.

A transplant from Houston, Kevin was drawn to the area’s beauty, quality of life, and strong sense of civic engagement. “Santa Fe is such a diverse, caring community — one that understands the importance of working together towards greater goals other than individual accomplishment,” opined Sokol-White.

“We were looking for someone to further streamline efficiencies in our finance department to deliver even greater impact for our donors and partner investments. With Kevin’s depth of experience, we found a highly competent, seasoned team member who is skilled at putting the pieces together to do exactly that,” said Foundation President and CEO, William (Bill) Smith.

The Foundation’s entire finance team has just completed a phased and gradual transition period lasting nine months, in conjunction with Sokol-White’s predecessor, Sarah Sawtell. Mr. Sokol-White had previously held the title of Santa Fe Community Foundation’s Chief Financial Officer since January of 2019.

"I have a strong and dedicated finance team behind me. We hope to continue building on the rock-solid reputation of this finance department, while streamlining processes, improving efficiencies, and building on our existing exemplary level of donor and partner service," commented Sokol-White.

Second Round of Grants Announced for Refugees & Asylum Seekers
October 7, 2019

Today, the Santa Fe Community Foundation, through the Fund for Refugees and Asylum Seekers, announced a second round of grants from the Fund totaling $45,000 to three New Mexico organizations working to address the humanitarian crisis along the southern border and in other affected communities across the state.

The grantees are:
New Mexico Immigrant Law Center, Albuquerque

$15,000 for staff support to assist the legal needs of detainees at new detention center in Torrance County.

Gerard’s House, Santa Fe
$15,000 to support the project Nuestra Jornada, a peer-support program for immigrant youth experiencing grief and loss due to family separation and/or loss.

American Red Cross of New Mexico, Albuquerque
$15,000 for humanitarian relief for refugees, immigrants, and asylum seekers receiving services at sites in Bernalillo County, Luna County, and Dona Ana County.

“We are pleased to be able to make a second round of grants from the Fund for these three organizations,” said William (Bill) Smith, President & CEO of the Santa Fe Community Foundation. “Together, they touch and provide assistance to communities from the southern border of our state all the way up into northern New Mexico, exemplifying the scale and extent of the refugee and asylum seeker crisis in New Mexico,” Smith continued.

“As these grants make clear, immigrants and refugees still need our help as they seek shelter in our State,” said Santa Fe Mayor Alan Webber. “This support is a testimony to the generosity of the people of Santa Fe and epitomizes the heart and soul of our community. I hope we can replenish the fund and continue to give this kind of assistance to people in need.”

The Fund for Refugees and Asylum Seekers was established by the Foundation, in coordination with the City of Santa Fe, in May of this year.

Sarah Sawtell, Vice President for Finance and Operations, Retires
October 10, 2019

The Santa Fe Community Foundation announces the retirement of our long time Vice President for Finance and Operations, Sarah Sawtell. The process in preparing for her retirement has been in place since late 2018.

"The Foundation’s steady success and growth would not have been possible without Ms. Sawtell’s 21 years of unparalleled service.” said Lisa Enfield, Board Chair of the Foundation. ”Hers was a tenure marked by quiet strength, exceptional finance skills, a formidable and enviable work ethic, and unflagging dedication to the Foundation," continued Enfield.

The growth of the Foundation during Sarah’s time has been remarkable: increasing in assets from $12.3 million and grants totaling $1.1 million in 2001 to a Foundation that in 2019 has over $80M under management, stewards over 450 funds, and in 2018, oversaw the granting of more than $9.9 million. “She will be missed,” said Foundation President and CEO, William (Bill) Smith.      

"Sarah’s cool and incisive demeanor will be missed, and we are deeply grateful for her more than two-decades of dedication to the Foundation and our efforts to build a stronger and more just New Mexico,” concluded Smith.

Sarah will consult with the Foundation through the end of 2019, culminating a year-long investment in the transition process. The Foundation will soon make an announcement about Sawtell’s successor.

In recognition for her 21 years of service, the Foundation has worked with Sarah to establish the Sarah and Tony Sawtell Administrative Endowment Fund, to keep her contributions thriving for the years ahead. "When we thought about how to honor her legacy, we thought of Sarah and her family, and knew that the only appropriate gesture that her generosity of spirit would allow, would be a Fund that would help others," added Smith.

The Santa Fe Community Foundation wishes Sarah and her family the very best upon her well-earned retirement and remain deeply indebted to her for all she has done for the Foundation as well as for the countless Santa Fe and northern New Mexico donors and nonprofit organizations she has touched.

Fund for Refugees and Asylum Seekers Grantees Announced
August 28, 2019

Today the Santa Fe Community Foundation, through the Fund for Refugees and Asylum Seekers, announced the awarding of $100,000 in grants to eight New Mexico organizations working to address the humanitarian crisis along the southern border and in other affected communities across the state.  The grantees and their work represent a wide range of support activities including legal representation, emergency food and shelter, and transportation assistance.

The grantees are:

Casa de Peregrinos, Las Cruces
$15,000 for the Migrant Support Program in providing food and others supplies for migrants and asylum seekers in their own facility and other shelters in the city of Las Cruces.

Catholic Charities of Southern New Mexico, Las Cruces
$15,000 to support family reunifications and legal defense for refugees and asylum seekers.

Colores United, Deming
$10,000 to support Proyecto Mariposa which centers around their work with the City of Deming in ensuring that asylum seekers at the Deming Refugee/Migrant Shelter have food, shelter, and other resources.

El Calvario United Methodist Church, Las Cruces
$15,000 to support continued operation of the El Calvario Hospitality Center for refugees and asylum seekers and basic legal services through their “Justice for Neighbors” project.

Roman Catholic Diocese of Las Cruces, Las Cruces
$15,000 for Project Oak Tree, a shelter for asylum seekers.

Salvation Army, Las Cruces
$10,000 to support food preparation and delivery five to six days a week at the Crisis Triage Center for migrants.

Santa Ana Parish, Deming
$5,000 to support newly arrived immigrant families with rent, utility bills, and grocery gift cards.

Santa Fe Dreamers Project, Santa Fe
$15,000 for the Santa Fe Prose Legal Asylum Clinical & Education program (SaFe PLACE) that educates and prepares asylum seekers for legal proceedings.

“Day in and day out, all of these organizations are on the ground doing extraordinary work and exemplifying New Mexican values through the compassion and generosity of their efforts,” said William (Bill) Smith, President & CEO of the Santa Fe Community Foundation. “We are proud to have set up this Fund to support this critical work and grateful to the many donors across our state and across the country who have given already and those continuing to give,” continued Smith.

“Immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers deserve our support and our help,” said Alan Webber, Mayor of the City of Santa Fe.  “I want to extend my gratitude to the many Santa Feans and New Mexicans who have contributed to the Fund for Refugees and Asylum Seekers—and encourage everyone to continue to make contributions to help those most impacted in the midst of this horrendous humanitarian crisis,” continued Webber.

The Fund for Refugees and Asylum Seekers was established by the Foundation, in coordination with the City of Santa Fe, in May of this year. Financial donations to the Fund can be made online at or sending contributions to the Foundation at PO Box 1827, Santa Fe, NM 87504-1827.

Santa Fe Community Foundation Awards $215,000 to nonprofits in Spring 2019 Competitive Grant Cycle
May 27, 2019

Santa Fe, NM – Each year, the Santa Fe Community Foundation holds two competitive grant cycles: spring and fall. This spring, we awarded 23 nonprofits that focus on educational and career success and protecting our environmental resources with an emphasis on sustainability. Grants range from 5,000 to $15,000, totaling $215,000.

Grantees include:

Educational Success & Career Pathways
Barrios Unidos (Rio Arriba)
Big Brothers Big Sisters Mountain Region
Boys & Girls Club of Santa Fe
Communities in Schools of New Mexico
Eleanor Daggett Memorial Library (Chama)
Embudo Valley Library & Community Center
New Mexico Center on Law & Poverty
Ojo Sarco Community Center (Rio Arriba)
Pegasus Legal Services for Children
Prosperity Works
Pueblo de Abiquiu Library & Cultural Center
Reading Quest (Santa Fe)
Rocky Mountain Youth Corps
Santa Fe Alliance for Science
The Family YMCA & Espanola Teen Center
Truchas Service Center

Sustainable Agriculture & Stewardship of Resources
Collaborative Visions (Mora)
El Valle Women’s Collaborative (San Miguel)
New Mexico Recycling Coalition
Reunity Resources (Santa Fe)
Santa Fe Conservation Trust
Santa Fe Watershed Association

Through the grants cycle, we fund a wide range of nonprofits in Santa Fe, Rio Arriba, San Miguel, and Mora counties. We also fund groups doing broader statewide work that address unmet community needs, track results, and actively align their work with community partners (including the Foundation) to improve results and equity through collective efforts.

Since 1981, the Santa Fe Community Foundation has distributed more than $77 million in grants to nonprofit organizations.

For more information about our grantmaking process and how to get involved, please visit

The Envision Fund Makes Nearly $100,000 in LGBTQ Grants Across New Mexico
January 7, 2019

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
April 28, 2018

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.