LANL Foundation  /  About  /  Marissa Burns

Marissa Burns

Grants Associate

Marissa comes to LANL Foundation to support and bolster the communities and learning environments of northern New Mexico. Born and raised in Michigan, Marissa has been living in and learning continuously about New Mexico through volunteering with community groups, making time to visit counties throughout the state, and spending her personal time connecting with the land. She brings 10 years of experience organizing community action groups and more than five years’ experience working in the proposal development and grants administration space to her role at LANLF.

Marissa grew up in diverse environments, from spending weekends and summers with her grandparents on their farm in northern Michigan, to living on the outskirts of metropolitan Detroit and later spending her college years in the heart of the city. In high school, Marissa found her passion for learning and education while attending a satellite school for students interested in engineering, programming and graphic design, aptly named The Center for Science and Industry (CSI). Upon graduating, Marissa decided to continue her education at an acclaimed research university, Wayne State University (WSU).

During her time at WSU, Marissa decided to pursue a BA in Communications and Global Studies with a focus on intercultural communication. She also secured a job with WSU’s Office of the Vice President for Research, where she learned about the grantmaking process and grant administration over five years. Marissa spent a semester as a research assistant on a grant studying clean water accessibility in the Great Lakes region, giving her insight to both sides of the grants process and how education institutions can participate in community organizing and changemaking.

Marissa graduated college and, shortly after the first wave of the Pandemic, decided to act upon her childhood dream and move to the southwest. Working remotely for a proposal development and training startup at the time, she luckily had the privilege to move to Albuquerque while still doing the work she loves. Most recently, Marissa worked at the International Folk Art Market (IFAM) in Santa Fe, a non-profit festival that brings together master artists from around the world to New Mexico each year. Coordinating approximately 1,500 volunteers who made it possible for the 2023 Market to be the most successful in its 20-year history, Marissa found this role incredibly insightful to understand the deeply connected, passionate communities that underpin schools, non-profits, and events in New Mexico.