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McCune Foundation’s new direction

mccuneALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The Santa Fe-based McCune Charitable Foundation, which donates about $5 million a year to New Mexico non-profit organizations, on Thursday announced a new approach to its funding that will emphasize economic development and innovation.

Executive Director Wendy Lewis said the foundation’s board decided McCune’s “very broad mission statement” dating from the group’s founding in 1989 needed to be honed to better guide applicants for funds.

“Economic development seemed to be key in terms of impact on the state,” Lewis said. “In the past we tended to look at things in program areas, which were very broad.”

McCune hopes its funding going forward “could lead to broader system changes in the long run” by focusing on nine priority areas, Lewis said. Those priorities and McCune’s funding plans are available at the foundation’s website,

McCune hopes to “support initiatives that help drive growth in family assets across communities,” she said. “The real question there is how to develop a more stable economic base for families.”

The foundation is “looking for innovative approaches to education that have been home grown in New Mexico.”

“We’re interested in developing market-based alternatives in the state’s food industry that also help produce better health outcomes,” Lewis said. A possibility is encouragement of small-scale food production that at the same time improves community cohesion and health.

“We’re interested in efforts that will build and diversify the audience for the arts and culture,” Lewis said. “We value the arts as economic development. We think of artists as entrepreneurs.”