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Editorial: New Mexicans give big to help less fortunate

It is a testament to the residents of one of the poorest states in the nation that, when the economy continues to struggle and unemployment remains a challenge, they continue to give. Of their time, their energy and their income – to help their fellow men, women and children.

United Way of Central New Mexico recorded its most successful fund drive in 2013, raising $29,029,000 to help the most vulnerable, strengthen the community and increase philanthropy. Michelle Coons, United Way’s 2013 volunteer campaign chairwoman, says “this community-wide annual effort includes more than 30,000 donors, hundreds of companies, unions and volunteers. … We have such deep appreciation to all who gave so generously.”

It bests last year’s campaign total of $28.2 million.

The generosity included several local companies whose employees raised more than a million dollars to help others. Sandia National Labs collected $6 million, Intel $3 million, Presbyterian Health Plan $1.55 million and the University of New Mexico/UNM Hospital $1 million. United Way’s community fund supports 107 programs, listed at, that cover everything from cancer care to support systems for low-income children.

Meanwhile, the Albuquerque Community Foundation awarded $2.3 million in grants in 2013 to nonprofits focused on the community, education, the arts, health, human services and preservation. The endowment, in simple terms an invested charitable savings account, gives a percentage of its income in grants and protects the rest so it can grow and meet future needs.


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The United Way of Central New Mexico was founded in 1934. The Albuquerque Community Foundation started in 1980 with a $200 bank balance, courtesy of two committee members.

Today, the two organizations continue to ensure the generous spirit of New Mexicans translates into millions annually to help the neediest in society.

This editorial first appeared in the Albuquerque Journal. It was written by members of the editorial board and is unsigned as it represents the opinion of the newspaper rather than the writers.