McCune Charitable Foundation Grantmaking – Then and Now

The Marshall L. and Perrine D. McCune Charitable Foundation is a family foundation dedicated to the well-being of New Mexicans. It all began when Marshall Lockhart McCune of Pittsburgh met Perrine C. Dixon of New Orleans at the Bishop’s Lodge in Santa Fe, NM. They married in 1949 at Lamy Chapel and throughout their lives quietly contributed to many local organizations to enrich the health, education, environment, cultural and spiritual lives of New Mexicans. In 1988, the Trust Agreement was established and by 1990 the Foundation was making unrestricted grants of $1,000 each to 23 NM organizations with the initial $1m gift from Perrine after Marshall’s death. By 1993 (after Perrine’s passing and transfer of additional assets to the trust), the grants distribution of the Foundation ballooned to $4.5m over a 2-year period. The current grant distribution is closer to $3.5m annually.  

The Foundation operates much in keeping with the principles and practices laid out in early conversations by the McCune family during the formative years: 

  • Learn from community members and community-based staff members for effective, community driven grantmaking
  • Increase grantmaking beyond the founders’ giving to include a greater number of statewide non-profit organizations 
  • Preference for providing general operating support (versus project-based funding) through an annual open grant cycle
  • Willingness to provide longer term and larger grants for longer term efforts
  • Importance of creating a stable organization with sound procedures and policies, including investment expertise, to ensure the Foundation remains in perpetuity
  • Amenable to support of non-profits beyond grant-making (technical assistance/capacity building/leadership development, etc.)

The broad mission statement – the Marshall L. and Perrine D. McCune Charitable Foundation is dedicated to enriching the health, education, environment, cultural, and spiritual life of New Mexicans – has guided our work since the early days. The approach to grantmaking has evolved over several years by listening to non-profit leaders and key stakeholders. This learning has culminated in our Strategic Plan which lays out our current funding priorities, grantmaking structure, approach and values.

We continue to honor the Foundation’s benefactors through proactive grantmaking that supports increased resilience and prosperity in New Mexico communities, and we strive to continue to learn and innovate to better support non-profit leaders and their work throughout New Mexico. One such innovation was the creation of the “NM Collaborative Zone Grant”in 2019 that is now in its second iteration as the “Native American Recovery Fund Zone Grant”which leverages funding to drive more than $5m in grants to support NM Tribal Communities.

Since its inception, the Foundation has paid out over $125 million in grants to hundreds of nonprofits across the state.  Here is  a look at what was funded in 2022. 



Applications are now being accepted through our online portal for 2023 funding. The deadline for applications is 5:00 pm MDT on September 15th. We encourage you to review the eligibility requirements and determine whether or not you want to apply. 

Looking ahead, the leadership team is working toward further instituting the principles of Trust Based Philanthropy in our work. One area we are more actively exploring is bringing more community voice into the grantmaking process. We welcome feedback and ideas from our grantee partners and community members as we experiment in this area.