December 1, 2022
Contact: Maddy Mahony, Communications Coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org
LANL Foundation Awards Grants to Three Outstanding Northern New Mexico Organizations
These unique Forward, Together grants allow for staff renewal, retention, and capacity building
Española, NM – The Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) Foundation, in recognition of the extreme circumstances facing Northern New Mexican school districts, non-profit organizations, and their staff, is awarding three unique $10,000 grants to help outstanding organizations with staff renewal, retention, and capacity building. The award recipients are Communities in Schools of New Mexico, Mora Independent School District, and YouthWorks. The LANL Foundation is celebrating our 25th anniversary this year and these grants honor the non-profits we’ve served since our founding in 1997.
“In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and devastating wildfires, our local schools and organizations have had to do more with less. Their staffs, while dedicated and passionate, are facing fatigue and burnout, as are the communities they serve,” said Jenny Parks, President and CEO of the LANL Foundation. “We wanted to create a grant that was responsive to these extreme circumstances and allowed these organizations to take care of themselves so they can continue to serve their communities.”
The grant to Communities in Schools of New Mexico was presented at their main office in Santa Fe on Wednesday, November 30th. CISNM serves 6,500 students (K-12) in thirteen schools across Santa Fe and Rio Arriba Counties surrounding students with a community of support and empowering them to stay in school.
“Our staff has been witness to the tremendous emotional and mental health impacts of the past few years on our students and families, many of whom face additional stressors such as immigration status, a language barrier, and poverty,” said Julia Bergen, Executive Director of Communities In Schools of New Mexico. “These years have taken a toll on everyone. Thanks to this generous grant from the LANL Foundation, we will be able to build up our capacity and support our staff so that we can best support students and families throughout the region.”
The awards for Mora Independent School District and YouthWorks will also be delivered this month. The wildfires that tore through New Mexico in the spring caused disastrous effects in Mora County; residents were evacuated, homes were destroyed, forests were scarred, and students were out of school for nearly a month. To support students as they returned home and to school, Superintendent Marvin MacAuley aimed to build back his school community through connections to the Northern New Mexico landscape.
“Superintendent Macauley, his staff, and their community partners are an inspiration to us all – they pivoted to adjust their school schedule and calendar to be responsive to the impacts of flooding and fire in their community, and created a hands-on, experiential program that connects their kids to the land, to each other, and to their wider community,” said Sylvan Argo, Grants Manager at the LANL Foundation. “Place-based, ecological education like this is powerful to support community healing, and the school has created a model program that we hope others can look to and learn from. We recognize that all teachers and school staff are constantly adjusting, pivoting, and responding, and we wanted to recognize and support Mora’s amazing team.”
YouthWorks has been re-engaging marginalized youth for over 20 years. They assist those aged 16-24 in employment, education, training, and apprentice programs.
“Our wonderful team is so committed that they haven’t taken any real deep breaths to celebrate the impact that we have made in so many lives,” said Melynn Schuyler, founder and Executive Director of YouthWorks. “We have been doing our best to keep our collective energy flowing, but in this environment it is tough. We are thrilled to receive a grant that recognizes the challenges that our team faces in the service of others. What an amazing gift to receive, one that is dedicated to helping the YouthWorks team refresh, renew, and revive!”
Each Forward, Together grant recipient will also receive a custom sculpture by Robert “Spooner” Marcus, a contemporary glass artist from Ohkay Owingeh. He merges traditional pottery forms with his unique works of glass. He designed a special sculpture that incorporates the LANL Foundation’s triple helix logo.
Since 1997, the LANL Foundation has been investing in education, learning, and human potential in Northern New Mexico. Through diverse programming and collaboration with key partners, the LANL Foundation works to ensure that all New Mexicans have the skills and confidence they need to be self-sufficient lifelong learners who are engaged in their communities. The LANL Foundation is dedicated to the enhancement of students’ access to academic and technical opportunities, leading to quality jobs by supporting college and career readiness in schools, districts, communities, Pueblos, Tribes, and Nations. For more information visit: https://www.lanlfoundation.org.
Caption for photo: Staff of the LANL Foundation present Communities in Schools of New Mexico with a $10,000 check on Wednesday, November 30th, 2022. From left to right: Julia Bergen (Executive Director of CISNM), Lauren Iversen (Community Resource Manager of CISNM), Jenny Parks (President and CEO of LANL Foundation), Sylvan Argo (Grants Manager at LANL Foundation), and Michael Dabrieo (Education Enrichment Director at LANL Foundation).