While the mandate described by the Mission of the Foundation is broad, the Board of Directors has adopted certain Priorities to focus resource allocation. Priorities are based on 1) a real ability to influence positive change in the near term and 2) the probability that change in these specific areas will lead to broader system change in the longer term. These priorities will guide decisions in grant making and other programmatic activities.
Scarce philanthropic and other resources in New Mexico contribute to a challenging environment for the state’s non-profit sector. The Foundation supports initiatives that build operational capacities for the sector, developing expertise in communications, finance, leadership, organizational development and other areas.
A Foundation priority is to create and expand the economic base in New Mexico and to view its grant making through an economic development lens whenever possible, in particular supporting programs and organizations that seek to foster entrepreneurship across sectors. The Foundation also supports programs and initiatives that support and help drive growth in family assets across the diverse communities of the state, enabling a broader base of economic stability for our families.
With among the poorest- performing schools in the nation, New Mexico needs innovation in its education sector. The Foundation has identified a) school leadership development, b) supporting and scaling locally designed approaches, c) multilingual educational opportunities, and d) a more robust reform infrastructure as key leverage points in transforming education in the long term. The Foundation also recognizes the wide body of research that confirms that interventions in the first 4-5 years of a child’s life present the most dramatic opportunity for influencing later success. The Foundation supports programs and organizations that advocate for policy reforms, provide direct interventions, and build statewide investments in early childhood education and development.
The recent passage and on-going implementation of the Affordable Care Act introduces meaningful changes to the health care environment nationwide. Because of New Mexico’s socioeconomic circumstances, the people of the state are positioned to benefit significantly from some of these changes. Two key barriers to these opportunities being realized are a) lack of education about the availability of these opportunities and b) lack of health care practitioners to meet the growing needs. To take advantage of this structural opportunity to improve the health of New Mexicans, the Foundation supports programs and groups seeking to mitigate these barriers.
The dynamics of the existing food system in New Mexico produce poor outcomes for the people of the state. In particular, the system yields poor nutritional outcomes, especially for low-income communities (producing among the highest rates of obesity and diabetes in the nation) and it contributes little to the state economy (as much as 80% of all money spent on food and nutrition leaves the state). The Foundation supports development of market-based alternatives that produce better health outcomes and contribute more directly to New Mexico’s economic well-being.
The arts have traditionally played a significant role in the culture and history of New Mexico and continue to contribute substantially to the state’s economy and civic life. The Foundation supports efforts to build and diversify audiences for arts and culture, particularly programs and organizations that seek to leverage arts, creative expression and aesthetic experiences for the purpose of inspiring and driving higher levels of community and civic engagement.
As a primarily arid state and one in which meaningful portions of revenue are derived from outdoor and adventure tourism, New Mexico relies heavily upon its natural resources to support its economy and quality of life. Key natural resources (including water, air, wildlife, pristine landscapes and well- managed rangeland, among others) should be protected, managed and utilized in ways that support their viability in perpetuity. The Foundation supports organizations and initiatives focused on these objectives.
“Built environment” refers to the human-made surroundings that provide the setting for human activity, ranging in scale from buildings and parks or green space to neighborhoods and cities that can often include their supporting infrastructure, such as water supply, or energy networks. The Foundation has made meaningful investments in the development of downtown Albuquerque and continues to support the development of built environments across the state. The Foundation will continue to view such developments as critical, supporting strategies that encourage energy efficiency, build civic engagement and support economic development.
New Mexico is the 5th largest state in the nation from an area perspective and has the 36th largest population, making it a largely rural state with 26 out of 33 counties designated “frontier counties” with six or fewer people per square mile. Strategies and approaches that work in the state’s urban areas often fail in other parts of the state. The Foundation supports strategies and approaches that drive effective economic development, educational advancements and other initiatives benefiting rural areas.
For more information:
The McCune Foundation Strategic Plan is available for download here: