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Northern Foundation Leadership Circle Meets

The Northern New Mexico College Foundation hosted a quarterly Leadership Circle meeting Tuesday, Jan. 10 that saw community leaders from around the valley and New Mexico participate.

Tuesday’s meeting was the seventh time the Foundation has hosted this half-day gathering. Terry Mulert, Director of the Northern Foundation originally created the meetings as a way to bring community stakeholders together to share information and discuss how they can partner to promote the well being of individuals and the community at large.

Tuesday’s meeting had business and government leaders from many organizations participating, several making presentations with participants asking questions and sharing their ideas. 

Northern New Mexico College President, Richard Bailey gave an update on Northern and then took questions from meeting participants.

Roger Gonzales with Moving Arts Espanola asked how the college was interacting with Espanola public schools, particularly in recent months as the school district has been facing stability issues. Bailey explained that the college has been reaching out to school guidance councilors to work with them on providing a pathway for local students to continue their education. Bailey also stressed the value of Northern’s high school equivalency program (GED). This program, Bailey said provides “one of the best pathways to help people those who drifted off education path back on.”

Bailey also took questions regarding the El Rito campus, saying  that efforts to reduce overhead expenses through utilities were nearing success and he is optimistic that a long term solution to reviving the site will be found. Bailey also spoke on the Fine Arts program and how to invigorate it and make it part of the community at large.

Jason Corzine with the Trust for Public Lands gave a remote presentation on a project the organization is offering to bring to the valley area.

The Trust for Public Lands is a national non-profit organization that works with communities on ways to improve community spaces and protect open lands for community benefit.

Corzine detailed efforts by his group to expand their “Rural Investment Project” to the area. The project is designed to help local communities create livable communities for generations to come by creating parks and protecting open lands. They also work on water projects to improve drinking water protection, water quality, recreational access to water and assistance in agriculture and drought issues.

Corzine cited his organization’s belief that a relationship between people and nature is critical for healthy people and healthy landscape. He said that TPP has a grant opportunity open for applications for 6 communities throughout the state, but said he is looking at longer approach to listen to community members and headers and build capacity for the community to take advantage of future opportunities. 

Other presentation included, Elias Isaacson with the City of Espanola gave an update on the development of a citywide strategic plan for growth and development.  And Jenny Parks with the LANL Foundation spoke on current initiatives. Roger Gonzales with Moving Arts Espanola finished the presentations with an update on their scholarship drive to provide local students access to fine arts education opportunities. An upcoming fundraiser is planned for Jan. 29 at Moving Arts for a screening of a documentary on the life of Linda Pedro of Chimayo.

Participants in Tuesday’s meeting included representatives from the LANL Foundation, Zia Credit Union, Century Bank, Presbyterian Hospital, Rio Arriba County, the City of Espanola, the state’s Economic Development Department, Moving Arts Espanola, Santa Clara Development Corporation, staff from Senator Udall, Senator Heinrich and Congressman Ben Ray Lujan, and others.

Article Credit: The Valley Daily Post, Staff Writer