ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The Albuquerque Community Foundation has awarded nearly $400,000 in grants to 37 Albuquerque nonprofit organizations through its annual Competitive Grant Program.
One such nonprofit is health clinic Casa de Salud, which provides affordable medical healing services. Its $15,000 grant will expand and improve its apprentice program, said executive director Anjali Taneja.
Taneja said college and high school students in the program, who are often underprivileged, not only develop medicinal skills by working in the clinic, but also business skills such as customer service.
“This program allows them to apply to medical schools, work as a scribe at a local hospital, and do many other jobs,” she said.
Joanna Colangelo, the foundation’s grants and community outreach adviser, said for the past two years the foundation has focused on programs that, like Casa de Salud’s, provide access to economic opportunity. She said doing so has resulted in particularly creative and innovative applications.
A standout among the original 151 applications, according to Colangelo, was that of the Rio Grande Community Farm, which received $10,000 for its Las Huertas Farmer Training Program.
Sean Ludden, the farm’s executive director and manager, said the program educates participants in how to operate a farm in an urban environment. The grant will help establish an incubator program, through which participants will work a plot of land and learn about making and implementing business plans.
“We help the aspiring farmer actually get into the business of growing,” he said.
Leaders of New Day Youth and Family Services, which received a $15,000 grant, also hope to educate those they serve in running a business. They are doing so with their Food Cart “First Jobs” Program, through which youth in their Life Skills Academy operate a food cart called “I’d Eat That!”
New Day’s executive director, Steve Johnson, said the youth earn real wages, not only by making and selling empanadas with the cart, but also by managing the sales and keeping track of the money made themselves.
“It’s a well-rounded experience of what it means to run a small business,” he said.