NM Black Leadership Council launches initiative to support smaller groups - Albuquerque Journal

NM Black Leadership Council launches initiative to support smaller groups

Copyright © 2022 Albuquerque Journal

Sean Cardinalli, New Mexico Black Leadership Council Chisholm Table interim director. (Courtesy of Sean Cardinalli)

Editor’s note: A previous version of this article incorrectly characterized the status of the groups receiving the grants and erroneously described the fraternity receiving a grant. 

The New Mexico Black Leadership Council is looking to expand its reach and help the community through a newly launched initiative to bolster and fund smaller volunteer-led organizations in Albuquerque.

Named after Shirley Chisholm, the first African American woman to run for president of the United States, the Chisholm Table brings together five volunteer-led organizations to provide structure and funding to those groups, NMBLC Chisholm Table coordinator Sean Cardinalli said.

“It’s about having a collective impact organizing strategy and better communicating with other like minded groups and helping build a communications network infrastructure,” he said.

To do this, the New Mexico Black Leadership Council recently dispersed five microgrants of $20,000 each to:

n The New Mexico Black Lawyers Association, which focuses on providing continuing legal education for members and protecting civil rights among others.

n Beyond the Chair, a collection of hairdressers and barber shops.

n BLESS Fund, a group that gives microgrants to local Black-owned businesses.

n Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc., a fraternity founded at Howard University.

n The University of New Mexico African American Student Services, which provides support to students attending UNM.

Cardinalli said the goal of the program is to help groups that often have limited funding get some extra support in order for the organizations to work toward their missions and do what they set out to accomplish.

For some groups, Cardinalli said the extra money can help with recruitment or retention issues, while for others it could go towards marketing and public relations.

“Whatever these groups need we’re trying to better and more efficiently help them do that and in turn, we’ve benefited because we’re not so siloed,” he said.

The Chisholm Table is just one of the initiatives the NMBLC is undertaking, and it falls under the council’s broader UpLift program that was launched as a way to help New Mexicans tackle pandemic-related challenges like rental assistance, vaccine information and internet access, Cardinalli said.

Organizations participating in the Chisholm Table have a few stipulations, Cardinalli said, like assisting with a survey on COVID competence in the New Mexican Black community.

He said organizations were chosen as recipients of the grants and offered a spot in the program largely due to preexisting relationships with the NMBLC and whether the council thought the organization could use the extra funding.

Founded by Cathryn McGill, the New Mexico Black Leadership Coalition is a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting the Black community among others in Albuquerque and New Mexico.

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