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Helping NM kids 100 women at a time; loving two Folk Art Markets in a year

SANTA FE, N.M. — The very enterprising board members of the New Mexico Children’s Foundation came up with a painless way to get an infusion of cash fast! Give a tapas party for 100 women, each of whom write a check for $100 … and bazinga! An instant $10,000!

The Children’s Foundation will put those dollars to good use underwriting grants for nonprofits throughout New Mexico serving a vast variety of children. Their specialty seems to be backing small startup charities that are unable to get other funding since they lack three years of files and therefore have no track record. Most foundations won’t touch them, but the New Mexico Children’s Foundation give the promising ones a chance, with great success.

This past year, they have helped 47 children’s charities, chosen on the four pillars of psychological, social, physical and educational criteria, at such organizations as CASA, Court Appointed Special Advocates who advocate in court situations for unrepresented minors; the New Mexico Suicide Prevention Hotline; Young Fathers (hallelujah for these young fellows who are responsibly pursuing parenthood training, including one teen dad who said “I want to learn to become a good father” in spite of not exactly being in the ideal demographic for the Ward Cleaver award); and Gerard’s House, which helps children process and deal with the death of a parent or sibling, which is truly shocking to the psyche and yet, in our culture, so often just brushed aside.

The 100 women flowed between the entertaining rooms of the Governor’s Mansion on a recent Friday twilight with plates of succulent hors d’oeuvres and frosty “white wines-never red” at the mansion. This was also the unveiling and premier of the new film profiling this past year for the foundation, with many vignettes of children, and their experiences and successes in the programs.

I remember when the late First Lady Alice King started the Children’s Foundation 20-ish years ago and I thought it might be just a lark, another short-lived project for the little lady while the mister was Governor. Not so! Miss Alice’s foundation is making a difference to 47 charities, 100 women at a time.

newmexicochildrensfoundation.org

Winter International Folk Art Market

Laurie (her real name) and her husband visited Santa Fe eight summers ago during Folk Art market. They were blown away by the wondrous event, and totally enchanted and mesmerized by the town, and Laurie spontaneously said “Let’s move here!” And he said “Okay!”

And so they went back to St. Louis and sold their house, and now they are living happily ever after in the city of my dreams … and have been working for the Folk Art Market ever since and; since 2010; have run all of the sign production for the entire market.

Today, though, Laurie was selling the hand-embroidered silk scarves from Shamlu’s cooperative in India. Shamlu is a lovely, graceful and lithe Indian mother figure who oversees the woman’s cooperative of about 80 people who sew in India, doing exquisite work of tiny little stitched designs on weightless, tissue-thin silk. Shamlu’s cooperative is one of the few vendors allowed at that market every year, probably because, in addition to the outstanding quality of the gorgeous work, the co-op has transformed the quality of life for so many people. In fashion, Folk Art is the Prada of the Third World; its a couture accessory of the First and accessible beauty for everyone in between, and Folk Art Market is the Bergdorf’s of handmade paraphernalia.

The winter show and sale is SO much smaller and also SO much less crowded, but the world marketplace is still brought right to our door. There’s also much less merchandise, obviously, but there’s still so much you want to buy, and many objets for Christmas and Channukah! Exquisite embroidered and beaded stuffed felt ornaments from Uzbekistan, etched Haitian folk art serving pieces made from steel drums, African baskets and basketry jewelry, and a myriad of great scarves from all over the world!

Cheery volunteers provided a complimentary gift-wrapping service for your purchases as several hundred people wandered through the relaxed atmosphere of the La Fonda’s cozy New Mexico room, such a far cry from the feverish buying frenzy of the summer, with some of the same wares!

Ninety percent of the funds raised will go back to the artists themselves in their native countries and raise their standard of living unimaginably.

When you’ve been used to living on $1 a day and your art is selling like hot cakes at $60 an item, the windfall must feel, in relative terms, like becoming a millionaire, winning the lottery, hitting oil! Win/win for the artists and for us the beneficiaries! It’s another blessing and great advantage to living in Santa Fe – Folk Art Market here twice a year!

Ashley Margetson has a BA in English from UCLA, is a senior real estate broker with Sotheby’s International Realty and has a finger on the pulse of philanthropic activities in Santa Fe. To tell us about an upcoming event, email apm@ashleymargetson.com.

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