Click below to view a video of the Foundation's history:
30th Anniversary video "A Look Back"
A local attorney and past City Commissioner made a presentation about community foundations to a small group of local attorneys and CPA’s. Nothing came of it, but a seed was planted.
A local business leader and philanthropist mailed an article on community foundations to a CPA who specialized in estate planning. He asked him to research the possibilities of establishing a local community foundation. This CPA was particularly interested because he had seen his own clients leave charitable bequests to distant institutions (or even ignore charitable bequests completely) because there were no vehicles for general support in Albuquerque.
He enlisted the help of a local attorney and together they began to explore the possibilities of establishing a community foundation. Soon they enlisted the help of the United Way and the Junior League of Albuquerque. Everyone agreed to join forces and work together.
A committee was established and met monthly for a year. Over the course of that year, the committee hosted board and staff members from other community foundations to help with the groundwork. After thoroughly considering all the angles, the group decided the time was right for a community foundation in Albuquerque.
The Foundation had a bank account with a $200 balance contributed by two of the committee members. It was then time to recruit a Board of Trustees. The group met with sixteen of the community’s most influential business leaders, each was asked to pledge $10,000 payable $3,333 per year for three years and they all did! $10,000 was a considerable sum in 1980; equivalent to over $25,000 today. The Junior League also pledged $10,000.
The Foundation was officially established by civic leaders who believed that a community foundation could be a permanent source of funds to improve the city’s quality of life. $150,000 in seed money was donated by founding board members.
It opened its doors in donated office space. During the first three year period, the Trustees set a goal of raising $750,000 for the administrative endowment to provide income to fund the operating budget. This proved to be more difficult than expected; donors wanted their dollars to fund grants, not administration.
So, after three years, the Trustees were asked to pledge $10,000 for another three years, and again they stepped up to the plate. The first Executive Director was hired and several fund raisers were held.
In recognition of its 35th Anniversary, the Junior League established an endowment fund with $35,000 to promote voluntarism. This large fund would help the Foundation to receive a matching grant from the C.S. Mott Foundation’s Cornerstone Grant.
The first grants were awarded. $46,000 was distributed to 21 nonprofit organizations.
The word was out about the Foundation. An anonymous donor established a two million dollar fund, The FUNd. This donor’s confidence was a sign to the community that the Foundation was here to stay.
The Foundation has awarded $31.5 million through more than 5,500 grants and has supported more than 1,000 students.
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