United Way Community Fund receives $8.05 million

Employees from some 250 firms contributed $8,050,000 to provide Community Fund grants for a wide range of health and human services organizations and programs, the United Way of Central New Mexico announced Tuesday.

The 2016 Community Fund campaign marked an 11 percent increase from the 2015 tally of about $7.2 million, United Way officials said.

“We’re investing in ourselves and we’re thinking like a business,” Jason Harrington, chairman of the 2016 campaign, told community members at the annual meeting and celebration at the United Way headquarters in Albuquerque.

United Way last year awarded $3.6 million in competitive grants for 95 not-for-profit organizations in Bernalillo, Sandoval, Torrance and Valencia counties. Recipients of those grants included the Samaritan Counseling Center, the St. Martin’s Hospitality Center and the Roadrunner Food Bank, and smaller grants went to not-for-profits that provide health, education, financial stability and basic needs for New Mexicans. The grants target issues such as high school dropout rates, unemployment, hunger, illiteracy, lack of affordable housing, chronic disease and substance abuse.

The rest of last year’s donations to the Community Fund went to several other United Way-led programs. One of those is Tax Help New Mexico, which helped prepare state and federal tax returns last year for 31,000 low-income families. The program received about $125,000 in United Way funding in 2016.

Another is Mission: Graduate, which set a goal of helping 60,000 New Mexicans earn college degrees and certificates by the year 2020. The program, which received about $700,000 in United Way funding last year, works with organizations to improve school attendance and graduation rates, and provide services such as student internships, career fairs and speakers.

Five employers were recognized as top contributors to the 2016 campaign. They are: Sandia National Laboratories, Presbyterian Healthcare Services, Public Service Company of New Mexico, University of New Mexico and UNM Hospital, and Lovelace Health System.

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