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NM funds bring major cash flow

Pallets of hand sanitizer made by Tractor Brewing Co. were donated to the Pueblo Relief Fund by Presbyterian Healthcare Services. (Courtesy of the Pueblo Relief Fund)

Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal

As coronavirus spread and New Mexicans scrambled to adjust, large charitable funds popped into existence nearly overnight.

Philanthropic organizations and community foundations joined forces to throw their influence – and large donor network – at various coronavirus-related needs such as food assistance, personal protective equipment and grant money to smaller organizations.

Since then, more than $1 million has been raised and hundreds of thousands of dollars distributed to organizations and individuals in need.

The strength of these funds can be attributed to donors trusting established organizations to find the best use of donations and “efficiently provide emergency needs,” said Albuquerque Community Foundation Vice President Kelli Cooper.

When the foundation partnered with United Way of Central New Mexico to create the Emergency Action Fund, the donations were immediate.

In the first 24 hours after the fund’s creation, donations ranging up to $50,000 started rolling in, Cooper said.

The Emergency Action Fund has granted more than $335,000 to nonprofit organizations in need, and more than $600,000 has been raised.

The All Together New Mexico Fund has had similar success.

The fund, created by the New Mexico Coalition of Community Foundations and Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, will award $550,000 to food banks across the state, with plans to grant an additional $750,000 to small businesses.

The fund will shift to helping income insecurity and eventually recovery efforts, a news release for the fund said.

The Native American Relief Fund is seeking donations to provide emergency grants to tribal groups providing essential supplies. The fund was launched by the New Mexico Foundation, the Santa Fe Community Foundation, the Navajo-Hopi Families COVID-19 Relief Fund and other partners, a news release said.

“This fund will help our pueblo and tribal communities respond to the incredible challenges posed by responding to COVID-19, including helping to get critical … food, water and other supplies to families,” New Mexico Foundation president and CEO JoAnn Melchor wrote in the release.

The fund is aiming to raise $3 million.

While the focus of the funds varies, every fund attempts to fill gaps in coronavirus response to help New Mexicans.

Rather than using donations to form grants, some funds, such as the Pueblo Relief Fund, are used to purchase critically needed supplies.

Established by the All Pueblo Council of Governors and the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, the Pueblo Relief Fund provides direct assistance with the purchase of food, personal protective equipment and sanitation supplies.

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