How the region’s 2 United Ways help Northern New Mexico thrive

Both nonprofits have close ties to the Laboratory and its employees

By David Moore | June 22, 2024

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United Way of Central New Mexico rebranded as United Way of North Central New Mexico in 2021.

Los Alamos employees and Laboratory operator Triad National Security  support a range of nonprofits across Northern New Mexico. While some financial contributions are made directly to those nonprofits, two United Way organizations help make giving even easier. 

“One is long established in the region and other relatively new, but both United Ways have approaches that mirror the Laboratory’s commitment to helping New Mexicans thrive through partnership, capacity building, and addressing the most pressing challenges facing Northern New Mexico,” says Joanna Gillespie, philanthropic outreach specialist at the Laboratory.

United Way of Northern New Mexico: Serving Los Alamos and Rio Arriba counties

The United Way of Northern New Mexico has been active in the area for decades, and its work is supported by a major grant from Laboratory operator Triad. It takes a collective impact approach, bringing nonprofits together to build capacity and improve local coordination of direct services. In addition, its Community Action Fund provides grants to nonprofits in both counties, focused on the following areas of need, with a pledge to work with integrity and ethics to ensure inclusivity, while honoring family, tradition and culture:

Financial stability

  • Basic needs assistance
  • Workforce development and training
  • Economic development and entrepreneurship
  • Tax assistance
  • Health and wellness

Substance abuse rehabilitation

  • Behavioral and mental health outreach and treatment
  • Healthy lifestyle programs and family wellness
  • Education

Nurturing the development of youth

  • Assisting youth to complete high school
  • Early childhood development
  • Literacy programs for children and adults
  • Education and youth mentorship

United Way of North Central New Mexico: Serving Santa Fe County

In 2021, United Way of Central New Mexico rebranded as United Way of North Central New Mexico (UWNCNM) and expanded its services to Santa Fe County, including an investment of $1.8 million in three-year community grants. This funding is part of a new initiative, Resilient Communities, which aims to improve community self-reliance through partnerships with local organizations.

UWNCNM’s key programs and initiatives include:

Small-grant program: In three years, the organization has invested $775,000 in its small grant program, awarding gifts of $5,000 to $20,000 to local nonprofits that align with UWNCNM’s priority areas for community impact: family stability, education, and basic needs like food and housing.

211 Connect: This partnership with the City of Santa Fe and Santa Fe County offers residents a referral system for basic needs and access to the CONNECT program of resource navigators. In 2023, it received 2,571 calls from Santa Fe County residents and 2,786 referrals were generated for local resources.

Ride United: UWNCNM partnered with Lyft to launch a pilot project to provide transportation for people in need, including older adults and those with disabilities. The majority of rides requested are for medical reasons, such as appointments, prescriptions or procedures. The program provided 2,320 rides to Santa Feans in 2023.

Tax Help NM: Offers free tax preparation at Santa Fe public libraries for households earning less than $65,000 and individuals over 65. In 2023, it helped file 451 tax returns, securing $414,000 in refunds.

“We’re very pleased to collaborate with both United Ways, and for Triad to provide a match for Laboratory employee donations to them both,” says Gillespie. “The region is better for having these organizations doing their work here.”