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Santa Fe Children’s Museum receives leadership award, $20K grant

Hannah Hausman of the Santa Fe Children’s Museum, center, was presented with the Life Center Foundation’s Leadership Award for 2021 earlier this month. To her right are Brandon and Emmie Strel of the Life Center Foundation, and to her left are the foundation’s founder and president Marjorie Miller-Engel and Eliot Ricroque. (Courtesy of the Life Center Foundation)

Copyright © 2021 Albuquerque Journal

SANTA FE – The Santa Fe Children’s Museum was selected winner of The Life Center Foundation’s Leadership Award for 2021 earlier this month, also earning a $20,000 grant from the foundation.

The award is given out each year to a local nonprofit organization that benefits families in poverty. A news release says that the museum was recognized for its community garden program, which teaches children the basics of seeding and cultivating vegetables.

The museum distributes its harvest to family shelters in the Santa Fe area. It also provides grab-and-go activity kits with art supplies and hands-on home activities for children unable to attend school during the pandemic, according to the release.

Marjorie Miller-Engel, who founded The Life Center Foundation in 1982, said the foundation’s board of directors selects the award winner after a thorough vetting process. This year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the board had to dispense with its usual on-site visits and conduct interviews via Zoom.

Only nonprofit groups recognized as having tax-exempt status with the IRS for the past three years are eligible for the award.

Over the years, The Life Center Foundation has distributed more than $400,000 to groups that work with at-risk children and teens. The foundation’s work is focused on combatting child hunger and poverty – something exasperated by the pandemic.

“Our goal is to highlight these awardees, especially during this time,” Miller-Engel told the Journal earlier this year. “We’re looking to remind people how important these nonprofits are in this very troubling time.”

Also recognized by the foundation were St. Elizabeth’s Casa Familia Shelter, which houses homeless teens, and provides them with food and educational programs; Think New Mexico, a think tank that advocates in the state Legislature for direct funding to under-served schools; and Performance Santa Fe, which offers arts education programs to schoolchildren in music, theater and dance.

“We’ve got to keep supporting these agencies; it’s crucial,” Miller-Engel said.