Monica Griego, executive director of the United Way of Northern New Mexico (UWNNM), is clear on her organization’s role in the region: "The United Way of Northern New Mexico empowers partners and encourages philanthropy to respond to critical needs and advance an improved quality of life in Northern New Mexico communities," she says. "Working in a united way, we facilitate giving, advocacy, volunteerism, mentorship and service integration across Los Alamos and Rio Arriba counties.”
UWNNM’s model is to coordinate, fund and support other nonprofits working in three main focus areas: food assistance and housing, youth education and mentoring, and behavioral health and family support.
Laboratory employees have supported the United Way of Northern New Mexico as part of the Lab’s annual giving campaign every year since 1954, and Laboratory operators have supported the organization with their own contributions since 2014.
This year's major award from Triad has allowed UWNNM to continue its multi-year plan to strengthen the nonprofit sector through capacity building and collaborations, and support youth empowerment. Triad’s contribution has been especially important this year, as UWNNM was heavily involved in emergency relief efforts for those affected by the wildfires in the region in May.
Building a stronger nonprofit sector in Rio Arriba and Los Alamos
Some of the Triad funding went to support the UNITE! Nonprofit Network, which brought 56 nonprofit organizations together to host a regional Spring Nonprofit Expo to improve local coordination of direct services and directly engage 3,000 families.
The nonprofit agencies involved provide health, behavioral health programs, food deliveries, and educational support services across Northern New Mexico.
"UWNNM is facilitating nonprofit organization collaboration and is raising awareness of existing resources and programs available in the northern New Mexico's nonprofit sector," says Griego.
Helping people access the help they need
The 2-1-1 of Northern New Mexico service is an comprehensive online database of more than 200 services from over 400 public and non-profit health and human service organizations in northern New Mexico, supported by UWNNM. It also offers a telephone non-emergency resource hotline that provides callers with resources and contacts for a range of assistance from basic needs to education and mental health issues.
This year's Triad's support provided direct training about the service to 225 law enforcement, fire departments, and healthcare first responder personnel, increasing utilization of the hotline by 50%.
Live United Youth Program
The final program supported by Triad's award to the UWNNM aims to provide around 100 college students with opportunities to help their community. The Live United Youth Program engages young adults to provide volunteer support to Rio Arriba’s rural libraries, youth cultural and arts programs, STEM educational programs, and drug prevention programs.
More than 30 agencies and nonprofits are partners, including El Rito Library, Truchas Services Center and the Embudo Valley Library and Community Center.
"The Live United Youth Program will create a nexus of student leaders and youth serving nonprofit agencies," says Griego. "The participants organize volunteer and fundraising events for youth-serving agencies that provide resources, tutoring, mentorship, counseling, and food/clothing supplies to other students and their families."
“We are grateful for the ongoing support of Triad and Laboratory employees,” concludes Griego. “Creating partnerships to help solve challenges is what we do, and having the Laboratory as a partner makes a real difference.”