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In Grant Writing, Getting Ready is (More Than) Half the Struggle

November 9, 2017

As the end of the year looms closer, it is a good time to take stock of where your organization stands and think about how to make next year’s grant writing better and more successful. A big part of that is getting organized. If you’re reading this, you probably work for an organization interested in pursuing grants and may have already suffered from a headache or two related to getting a submission together. It’s likely you know about the crazy rush to assemble documents and the stress of last-minute reviews to make sure your submission is competitive and complete. While some deadlines are stressful no matter what, in most cases, there are ways to avoid the scramble and set yourself up for fewer headaches. At The Grant Plant, we strongly advocate doing some prep ahead of time to streamline your work after an RFP comes out. Following the guidance below will make submissions smoother, easier, and reduces the risk of missing a key component of the proposal.

First, get your registrations in order:

  • Check on your Attorney General and Secretary of State status. Many RFPs will require proof that these are up-to-date.
  • Register as a New Mexico-owned or veteran-owned business (if applicable). This can get you extra points on state and county RFPs (usually a 5-10% scoring bump). The process is not hard, but it does take a while, so it’s best to do it when you aren’t facing an imminent deadline. There is a $35 fee, but it puts your organization in more competitive standing for grants and contracts.
  • Make sure you are registered and up to date in, in the federal government’s System for Awards Management (SAM), and with the Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) (if applying for federal assistance). Make sure that you designate someone as Authorized Representative when you register—this is an extra layer of work, but is required for you to submit via And, very importantly, write this information down and store it somewhere you and other staff will not forget it. For instance, it can be tricky to get back into the system if the person who registered as the Authorized Representative leaves your organization and no one else knows how to log into the system.
  • Are your Guidestar and Share New Mexico profiles up to date? Locally, more and more funders are looking at ShareNM profiles as part of grant submissions, and many funders nationally review Guidestar information. Take the time to make sure both of these are currently reflective of your organization.

Then, get your organizational documents in order:

  • Do organizational and program budgets exist? Are they up-to-date and board approved?
  • Organization’s most recent audit (if applicable) or financial statements. Do you have the most recent year copies of these? If you are submitting part-way through the year, do you have year-to-date financials by the most recent quarter?
  • Do you have the most recent year’s tax forms? If your organization filed for an extension, when will the most recent year be available?
  • Make sure the board list is up-to-date. Has anyone joined or left your organization’s board recently? Also, be as complete as possible in your board list—note contact information and professional affiliations, who sits on which committees, and each member’s term dates.
  • Are key staff résumés up-to-date? Is the last time your staff updated their résumés when they were hired by your organization? Make sure each person’s résumé shows his or her current role. If any staff person recently received a promotion, accolade, or credential, are those reflected in his or her résumé? (Better yet, it can be nice to format everyone’s résumés the same so they are the same length and look alike—this is an aesthetic suggestion though, and not critical.)
  • Is the organizational chart up to date? Not every organization keeps an organizational chart, but funders frequently want to see this. If you do have one, have you added programs, gained or lost staff people, or promoted anyone recently? If you don’t have one, consider making one because it may come in handy.
  • Do you know where an electronic copy of your IRS 501(c)(3) letter is?
  • Do you have a listing of the race/ethnicity and gender for your staff and board? This important inventory has been coming up with more frequency.

(Note: it is general best practice to place the above public information on your website—then you can simply link to it in cases where you are not required to provide the full documents.)

Other things you can do to help get prepared:

  • Nail down your program description. This is as helpful in general conversation as it is in grant writing. You need to get people who have never heard of your work to understand quickly the value of your program. If you can’t describe what you do in a couple of paragraphs or a 20-30 second pitch, you’re probably not ready for prime time.
  • Create S(pecific) M(easurable) A(ttainable) R(ealistic) T(ime-bound) objectives. You do not need to wait for an RFP to be SMART on whether your program is a success. No matter what, being able to measure and track accomplishments is a good thing. It can help you track progress over time and make a stronger case about your programs—to funders, your board, and community partners.
  • Consider a Logic Model or other visual representation of your program. “A picture is worth a thousand words.” Using visuals to show how a program functions can be a good tool when designing your program, and can be a concise and effective means of portraying how your program works. The act of creating a logic model or other visual representation of your program can also be a useful exercise when project planning out a program too—visuals can help you identify gaps and weak areas more easily. These can also come in handy when marketing the program because people tend to respond well to visuals.

This may seem like a long to-do list, and you can take it one step at a time. Knowing what to expect and ensuring that you are prepared before you get hit with a short deadline will make proposal writing much less stressful and chaotic. Having your documents in order and handy can help with other tasks too, like marketing, individual donor fundraising, and reporting—there’s no downside to keeping records complete and up-to-date!

Contact: Jenny Jackson, Senior Resource Development Officer,


Now Hiring

October 25, 2017

The Grant Plant, Inc. (TGP) is seeking experienced grant proposal writers. We are a small business located in Albuquerque, NM that performs grant seeking, grant writing, and other fundraising projects for non-profit agencies in New Mexico. The company is seeking a FT Resource Development Officer to join its team of ten. TGP hires great writers with a strong work ethic, big hearts, and a commitment to excellence. People successful in this position love the written word, don’t mind being “behind the scenes,” and possess qualities like resourcefulness, ingenuity, curiosity, a sense of humor, and a desire to win. Minimum qualifications include three years’ related experience in grant writing and research and a bachelor’s degree (master’s degree preferred). Candidates must reside in central New Mexico. Starting salary is $50,000 for a FT position + benefits such as an HRA, 401k, and PTO. Interested? Please see the job description at our website (


How the Congressional Delegation Can Support Your Federal Grant Seeking

October 16, 2017

From our nonprofit arm, The Grants Collective…

Last Chance! Get your tickets today!

October 17, 2017

12:30 PM – 1:30 PM MDT

@ The Grants Collective 901 Rio Grande Blvd. NW Suite D-220 ABQ NM 87104

The Grants Collective Welcomes Representative from New Mexico Congressional Delegation

Albuquerque, NM — On Tuesday, October 17 at 12:30PM, The Grants Collective welcomes special guest, Stephen Jochem from the New Mexico Congressional Delegation office.  Jochem will be speaking about how the delegation supports nonprofits in New Mexico, particularly as it relates to seeking federal funding. He will have a short presentation and the rest of the time will be available for Q&A, conversations about current work happening in NM, and how he can help.


The event is expected to draw many local nonprofits interested in federal funding.  Admission is free for members of The Grants Collective’s Cooperative Network.  For nonmembers, tickets are $10.  To get tickets for the event, visit the organization’s Facebook page:  


“The Grants Collective is proud to bring Mr. Jochem to visit with our community,” say Program Manager, Robert Nelson.  “We know that attracting federal and national investment is key in helping New Mexico nonprofits access the resources needed to fulfill their missions.  And we look forward to bringing more of these types of events to our community.”


About the Presenter:

Stephen Jochem is the New Mexico Congressional Delegation Office Coordinator. He has been in this current position for just over a year now. He was raised in Gallup, NM where he attended Gallup Catholic High School. He left the Land of Enchantment to attend Manhattan College in the Bronx, NY. After college, Stephen worked as an English teacher, Special Education Substitute Teacher, and High School Track Coach before attending law school in Vermont. He graduated from Vermont Law School in May 2016 and is a member of the State Bar of New Mexico. His work in the Delegation Office consists of performing grant searches for New Mexicans, writing and editing letters of support, and working with New Mexicans on larger long-term funding issues dealing with Federal grants.


About The Grants Collective:

The Grants Collective addresses the philanthropic divide that New Mexico faces by building nonprofit capacity for grant seeking through professional development, shared resources, and access to expertise. Programming includes: (1) Talent Academy, a 6-month intensive, project-based professional development experience to build the skills of grants professionals, specifically around seeking large scale grant opportunities; and (2) Cooperative Network, an online and in-person forum for grants professionals to find resources, ask questions and share advice, foster collaboration, and share efficiencies. The Collective also fiscally sponsors Grow New Mexico, a program developed to identify funding sources for transformative community projects. Board of Directors: Robin Brule, T.J. Cook, Tina Garcia-Shams, Eric Griego, Erin Hagenow, Debi Randall, Anna Sanchez, and Justin Zoladz.

Grant Opps to Your Inbox

October 2, 2017

Do you have a hard time knowing what to apply for and when? The Grant Plant offers an easy, affordable way for you to stay aware of grant opportunities. We have always offered a listing of available grants on our website calendar – which is mobile-friendly, chock-full of grants, and updated daily. This calendar function now offers a few new features to make it even easier to find the right fit.

First – and most importantly to our New Mexico peeps – all of the opportunities are screened for eligibility in our home state. (For those of you outside of NM, the bulk of them are open to you as well.) In NM, as a flyover state facing a deep philanthropic divide and a low corporate presence, many of the grant search engines turn up opportunities for which our nonprofit community is ineligible. So we cut through that static right here at the beginning.

Second, the opportunities are categorized by funding priority so you can find what you’re looking for most efficiently.

Third, for only $5/month, you can save the time of proactively going to our calendar and instead register to have grant opportunities in as many categories as you want pushed directly to your inbox. One alert comes per day for each category.

Finally, for those of you who are potential super-users of this grants calendar, or who want additional grant writing resources, consider subscribing to our nonprofit arm’s Cooperative Network of Nonprofits ($50/month). This Co-op focuses on bridging the philanthropic divide in NM by helping nonprofits secure national and federal funding and contains a wealth of grant-related resources. In addition to the deadlined grants calendar, it also lists open-call opportunities (rolling submissions) and forecasted opportunities. Plus it offers other grant related resources, opportunities to network and connect with other like-minded professionals, current news in the grants world, insider tips, and more.

How else can we help you meet your grant seeking goals? Let us know at [mail@ thegrantplantnm .com].



Alone We Can Do So Little; Together We Can Do So Much

September 19, 2017

As funders at the national, state, and local levels require a deeper level of regular collaboration from nonprofits, it is important to consider the motivating factors behind collaboration and what makes some collaborations successful and competitive. A way to begin building strong partnerships is to assess collaborations from every angle to determine what is right for your organization. Collaborations have a long history in the United States, including state versus federal jurisdiction, the growth and expansion of social services, and nonprofit development as a solution to market failure.

Collaboration in the Modern Era

It was not until the late 1960s that the U.S. federal government began acknowledging the role that funders and programs outside of state and federal government could play in addressing community needs. Many of these groups had been active for decades, but had not been recognized nationally as contributors to government or social efforts. As they became better known and collaborated with governments at the state level, the federal government ramped up its partnerships with nonprofits to include increased grantmaking and contracts. Services, including job training, physical and mental health, disability, child and family welfare, and substance abuse, were now being provided through government partnerships and agreements with nonprofit organizations.

In the early years of the 21st century, relationships between federal government, state government, and foundations have become even more prominent. Our current era of collaboration is characterized by strong connections between organizations and accessible networks, including social media, information exchange, in-person interactions, and more, which allows funders and nonprofit organizations to “enhance one another’s capabilities, to smooth services interactions, and to solve policy/program problems.”[1] Significantly, this increased connection is characterized by an ever-growing emphasis on inter-agency collaboration.


Nonprofits as a Response to Market Failure

Nonprofit organizations make the decision to collaborate with each other and with government agencies for several reasons, including service overlap, community needs, and, of course, funding opportunities. Ultimately, nonprofits are flexible enough to step in and provide services in response to specific market failures, including providing goods or services that are not lucrative for for-profit channels. Further, nonprofits are frequently quicker than the government to respond to changing needs in the community.

An unintended consequence of this move toward collaboration is a belief on the part of funders that collaborations always yield a deeper impact for fewer dollars, which has led to many funders requiring collaboration as a precondition of grantmaking. However, this requirement can be limiting, as collaborations are complicated and involve a blending of missions, objectives, and services, and funders often require rigorous reporting. So, when is collaboration necessary, rewarding, and worth the risk for your organization? With the growing number of grantmakers expecting collaboration as a prerequisite to funding, is important to consider the costs of collaboration, whether those costs outweigh potential benefits, and whether collaboration will honor your agency’s mission and vision.


The Pros and Cons of Collaboration

Today, avoiding collaboration is not an option. Collaboration is a deeply intertwined piece of U.S. governance, nonprofit operations, and the delivery of many goods and services. So how do you make it work in a way that makes sense for your organization?

There are pros and cons to collaboration, some of which may not be obvious, so it is important to determine whether the potential for positive outcomes outweighs the potential for frustration. Cons include possible loss of territory, increased time commitment due to inclusion of additional actors, difficulties in trying to reach consensus, power imbalances between partners, potential for resource hoarding,[2] difficult personalities, hidden agendas, failure to commit, failure to share information,[3] and difficulty evaluating results.[4] Recognizing potential costs, especially those specific to your organization and partnerships, is vital before embarking into collaborative territory. Once you have addressed them, you can effectively map out a collaboration that avoids or tackles costs while working toward benefits.

The benefits of collaborating can be many, and include “economic efficiencies, a more effective response to shared problems, improvements in the quality of services delivered to clients, the spreading of risks, and increased access to resources.”[5] One important benefit that pertains specifically to Albuquerque and New Mexico comes with having a diverse population—addressing the many needs that come with diversity can be a challenge, but is also a tremendous opportunity for collaboration. A greater and more diverse need gives organizations more opportunities to collaborate, solve pressing problems in the community, and serve a larger population.


How to Make Collaborations Work for Your Organization

According to Russell M. Linden, a management consultant specializing in organizational change, there are seven key collaborative factors that will take your organization down the right path. Collaborating organizations must:

  1. Have a shared vision that neither can achieve as well on their own;
  2. Want to collaborate and be willing and ready to contribute to the collaboration;
  3. Make sure the “right people” are involved in making the collaboration happen (i.e. those with the power and expertise to make the vision a reality);
  4. Be transparent and reliable;
  5. Maintain at least one “champion” for the cause who will see it through to the end;
  6. Utilize “collaborative leadership” rather than drawing power lines between organizations; and
  7. Maintain and nurture a trusting relationship.[6]

Remarkably, successful collaborations can often highlight the individual talents of your team. Humans have an inherent desire to connect with something bigger, “and, when that ‘something larger’ is a collaborative team, team members can meet both the ‘me’ and ‘we’ needs as they contribute their special talents and unique knowledge and experience to a successful group project.”[7]

Collaborations can be successful and rewarding, as long as they honor the missions and visions of all parties involved; you assess costs and benefits; build a strong, sustainable, and truly cooperative program; and seek funding that is well-aligned with your goals and objectives. By combining these strategies with an understanding of the potential pitfalls of collaboration, your organization will not be doomed to repeat past failures!


Contact: Melissa Leonard, Resource Development Officer, 


[1] Agranoff, Robert. Collaborating to Manage: A Primer for the Public Sector. Georgetown University Press, 2012, p. 29.

[2] Agranoff, Robert. Collaborating to Manage: A Primer for the Public Sector. Georgetown University Press, 2012, p. 156.

[3] Russell M. Linden. Leading Across Boundaries: Creating Collaborative Agencies in a Networked World. Jossey-Bass, 2010, p. 59.

[4] Feiock, Richard C. and Hee Soun Jang. “Public Versus Private Funding of Nonprofit Organizations: Implications for Collaboration.” Public Performance & Management Review, vol. 31, no. 2, 2007, p. 178.

[5] Id.

[6] Russell M. Linden. Leading Across Boundaries: Creating Collaborative Agencies in a Networked World. Jossey-Bass, 2010, p. 38.

[7] Id., p. 23.

National Grant Trainer Hosting Workshop in Albuquerque

August 17, 2017

From our nonprofit arm, The Grants Collective…

Albuquerque, NM – A representative from, the Federal government’s online portal for grant making, will be in Albuquerque on August 23rd, 2017 to provide hands-on training to New Mexico nonprofits. While offers in-person training in Washington, D.C. and via its online tutorials, this is a first for New Mexico to have a national trainer come to the state to help nonprofit organizations find and apply for Federal grant funding.

Sponsored by The Grants Collective in partnership with the Center for Nonprofit Excellence, the training will allow participants to learn the registration process, how to find funding opportunities, how to apply for those opportunities, and‘s new collaborative Workspace application format, which will replace the current downloadable “legacy” application package. Knowing how to navigate and successfully submit complex grant packages is critical for any nonprofit organization that hopes to secure a Federal grant. With the legacy application package being phased out by the end of the year, this training will help ensure that New Mexico users of know how to use Workspace. user Cecily Peterson, Resource Development Officer at The Grant Plant, Inc., recently tried out the new Workspace portal. She states that it proved “helpful in simplifying application preparation among multiple contributors and reviewers. And importantly, it will make future applications more efficient.”  Federal grant application packages are usually large and complex, consisting of dozens of forms, required legal documents, budgets, narrative text, and more. Missing one piece can result in a non-compliant rejection. But because grants coming from out of state, including through the Federal government, are generally three times larger than those made within the state, it is critical that New Mexico nonprofits gain the skills and resources they need to compete at a national level. As they do, this means they are better resourced to carry out their missions, delivering on services designed to address our social ills or improve quality of life.

To register for the training, visit The cost is $35 for the session, which will take place between 9 am and 12 pm August 23rd at the Center for Nonprofit Excellence in Albuquerque. Participants are encouraged to bring a laptop, as the training will be hands-on and interactive.


About the Trainer: Tricia Glass began working as a Program Advisor in the Grants.govProgram Management Office in November of 2012. Prior to that she spent four years working at the Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration as a Senior Grants Manager. Ms. Glass has over a decade experience in both grants and program management as well as information technology management.

About the Event Sponsor: The Grants Collective is helping New Mexico nonprofit organizations raise their ability and capacity to compete for major national and federal grants. The Grants Collective offers three primary ways to participate: (1) Cooperative Network: A subscription-based network of nonprofit professionals interested in developing skills, insight, and resources for high-performance grant seeking. (2) Talent Academy: A 6-month professional fellowship to develop skills for securing major grants. (3) Grow New Mexico: Technical assistance to help New Mexican communities and organizations put together grant/loan packages for infrastructure and other special projects. Grow New Mexico is an independent, fiscally sponsored project. Find out more at

About the Center for Nonprofit Excellence: The Center for Nonprofit Excellence at the United Way of Central New Mexico strengthens the capabilities and capacity of New Mexico nonprofits so they can more effectively meet their missions. It provides resources and services to help nonprofits have a positive impact on the communities they serve, strengthen their board engagement and governance, improve their financial sustainability, enhance their internal management and operations, and better evaluate and measure their impact. A full calendar of upcoming trainings can be found at

Grantmaking Capacity of New Mexico Foundations in Comparison to Other Southwestern States

August 9, 2017

Every state has a unique philanthropic story that is intertwined with the different populations and resources it houses. These differences should be recognized when assessing philanthropic progress for each state. This article takes a closer look at New Mexico’s philanthropic story, specifically the grantmaking from our local foundations, and compares its progress with six other southwest states. In a recent report, “The 2016 Giving Study,” Philanthropy Southwest sheds light on philanthropic trends within a seven-state region, including New Mexico, Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, Oklahoma, and Texas over the course of a four-year period (2011-2014). The study looked at grantmaking by active foundations (independent, community, and healthcare conversion) headquartered within each state and gathered data on all of their grants and contributions above $1,000. Importantly, grants include those awarded within the state and outside its borders. Results show positive recent philanthropic growth for New Mexico and shows New Mexico with leading percent increases in giving when compared with the other seven states.

This study inspired us to dig deeper to uncover more specific details around New Mexico’s philanthropic story and to review New Mexico’s road to recovery since the 2007-2009 economic downturn that occurred in the U.S. (For more background, previous articles that The Grant Plant has published around this topic are listed in a note at the end of this article).

Before we wade into data, let’s first consider some basic differing characteristics that may impact the philanthropic landscape of the southwest states that are assessed. This does not include every state assessed but illustrates key dynamics in the philanthropic backdrop of a specific state.

  • New Mexico has the lowest population of the seven states (2,083,024 in 2014, as compared to Nevada, the second lowest at 2,833,013) and is the only state in the southwest listed on Foundation Center within the bottom 10 in the nation in terms of foundation giving.
  • Texas has the largest population of the seven states (26,944,751 in 2014, as compared to Arizona, the second closest, at 6,719,993) and is the only state in the southwest listed on Foundation Center within the top 10 in the nation in terms of foundation giving.


Broad statewide statistics

Philanthropy Southwest’s Giving Study reports that New Mexico had the highest percent increase in giving from 2011-2014 (37.2%) when compared to the other six southwest states. To further unpack this revelation, we looked at philanthropic trends using Foundation Center data, which includes 2007 data and includes information for all U.S. foundations (independent, corporate, community, and operating) that reported giving in their most recent fiscal years. Foundation Center gathers data through surveys of the nation’s largest foundations, foundation websites and other public reporting, and from IRS information returns. Calculations from this data confirmed a notable increase in total foundation giving for New Mexico during the 2011-2014 timeframe.

But how has New Mexico giving fared since its giving peak prior to the economic downturn? Would New Mexico still lead the seven states in foundation giving increases if that timeframe was accounted for?

To try and gauge philanthropic progress since the economic downturn that began impacting most foundations in 2008, we assessed the change in foundation giving from 2007-2014. This seven-year time period shows that annual foundation giving in New Mexico still increased, but at a much lower percentage: state giving in 2014 was only 2.2% higher than that of 2007—while the seven-state Giving Study region as a whole enjoyed an increase of 23.1%.

Those results indicate that New Mexico is just now passing its pre-economic downturn giving levels and show that New Mexico is the state with the lowest percent increase from 2007-2014 when compared to the other six southwest states. Tables 1 and 2 below show giving levels per state and the percent change in giving over the 2011-2014 and 2007-2014 timeframes.

Table 1. Total dollars granted by state, as reported by the Giving Study and Foundation Center.

Chart 1: Percent increase in Foundation Giving from 2011-2014 and 2007-2014.


Per Capita Giving Considerations

One way to further compare grantmaking levels and trends in states is to account for each state’s population by calculating giving per capita. Foundation Center data was used to calculate foundation giving per capita for the seven southwest study states. New Mexico lags its neighbors in per capita grants made by local foundations. As shown below, 2014 private foundation giving was $45.09 for every state resident in New Mexico versus much higher per capita grant funds for other states. Arkansas, which serves a relatively small population and is home to a relatively low number of Foundations, was at the other end of the spectrum, giving $235.61 for every state resident; but, worth noting, is that one of Arkansas’ foundations is Walmart Foundation, a notable national funder that likely impacts Arkansas statistics.

Chart 2. Private and Community Foundation Grant Spending per State Resident, 2014.

Looking at changes over time, foundation giving per capita in New Mexico decreased 3.4% over the 2007-2014 time period. This indicates that per capita giving was slightly higher in New Mexico before the economic downturn. When compared to the other six southwest states, New Mexico has the worst change in percent for grantmaking per capita from 2007-2014 (and is the only state to show a decrease in change in per capita giving over the 2007-2014 timeframe). Table 2 (below) shows giving levels per state and the percent change in per capita giving over both timeframes.

Note: Importantly, Foundation Center data only measures the total giving for foundations, regardless of whether funds were invested in state, out of state, or even out of the country. As such, per capita calculations should not be considered a reflection of local foundation investment within home states, but rather a reflection of general foundation grantmaking power in relation to state population. This could be a case-in-point for Arkansas; as mentioned, the Walmart Foundation is located there, and it largely invests outside its home state.

Table 2. Total dollars granted per capita in the seven southwest states (Foundation Center data).

Per Foundation Giving Considerations

A third way to examine philanthropic giving is to account for the number of foundations within each state and calculate the ratio of giving per foundation. Foundation Center data was used to determine this information for the seven southwest study states.

New Mexico and Arizona have the most modest giving with annual grant averages under $400,000 per foundation each year. Looking across time, New Mexico had one of the highest percentage increases in giving per foundation comparing 2011 and 2014 (increasing 38.1%), but that steep climb didn’t offset the prior recession decline, leaving New Mexico with the worst percent change for the longer period comparing 2007 to 2014 (decreasing 4.5%). New Mexico giving per foundation is still below the pre-recession levels. Table 3 below shows per foundation giving per state and the percent change in per foundation giving over both timeframes.

Table 3. Total dollars granted per foundation in the seven southwest states (Foundation Center Data).

A Closer Look at New Mexico Data

The data presented above shows that New Mexico experienced positive philanthropic progress between 2011-2014; however, total dollars granted, per capita giving, and per foundation giving remain depressed compared to pre-recession levels. New Mexico is just now beginning to recover. Consider the following, drawing from all of the charts:

  • From 2011-2014, New Mexico experienced a 38.1% increase in giving per foundation and a 41.7% increase in total foundation giving.
  • From 2007-2014, New Mexico experienced a 4.5% decrease in giving per foundation, a 3.4% decrease in dollars granted per capita, and only a 2.2% increase in total foundation giving.

This data suggests that there were some big decreases in New Mexico foundation giving that occurred between 2007-2011. To refine our understanding, we pulled Foundation Center data for each year from 2007-2014 along with foundation assets (which reveal the base upon which foundations release funds for grantmaking). We also calculated the ratio of grantmaking to assets to see how much foundations were giving in grants in relation to their holdings. Table 4 below shows giving data from 2007-2014, revealing that New Mexico foundation giving decreased from 2008-2010 (with a shocking drop of about $18,600,000 from 2009-2010), started to increase in 2011, but did not reach the pre-economic downturn giving level until 2014. Giving was at its lowest point in 2010. While New Mexico foundation assets decreased in 2008 and 2009, and started to increase in 2010, they did not reach the pre-economic downturn asset level until 2013.

Our local foundations dug deep during the worst years, tapping the highest proportion of assets to make grants during 2007-2009. Private foundations are federally required to meet or exceed an annual payout requirement (i.e., making grants) of 5% of the average market value of its net investment assets. But we see New Mexico’s grants-to-asset ratio climb to 7.2% in 2009, when foundation assets were at their lowest – truly an admirable investment from our area foundations to help the nonprofit sector during lean times.

Table 4. New Mexico foundation data from 2007-2014 (Foundation Center data).


Why do the 2011-2014 numbers show New Mexico in a positive light in comparison to other southwest states? The answer is relatively simple: New Mexico philanthropy grew significantly in 2012 as it began to come out of the recession. This growth (from 2011-2014) is better characterized as a recovery to pre-recession numbers, rather than New Mexico reaching a higher philanthropic capacity. New Mexico foundations are slowly climbing back from the impact of the economic downturn, re-building their foundation’s assets, and increasing giving levels to near those of pre-recession levels of investment in the Land of Enchantment. But New Mexico still lags behind its southwestern neighbors, experiencing the slowest philanthropic recovery (among the six other southwest states that were reviewed) since the economic downturn that began impacting foundations in 2008. Our state has the lowest per capita giving and per foundation giving among the seven southwest study states, which adds perspective to the struggles that our state encounters in meeting significant needs with philanthropic support.

The good news is that the philanthropic landscape in New Mexico is finally reaching a point of recovery and growth and we at The Grant Plant, in partnership with The Grants Collective, are ready to channel and boost this positive progress. We are passionate about helping nonprofit organizations connect with the resources they need to improve the social, economic, and education outlook in New Mexico. We will continue to help build nonprofit capacity through offering grantseeking services, professional development opportunities, shared resources, and other access to expertise.


Contact: Wendy McCoy, Resource Development Officer

Note: The Grant Plant has explored New Mexico’s philanthropic trends since the economic downturn in a series of articles that have been published in the past, including:

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