CAASNM and Nine Others Recognized with CHISPA Award

SANTA FE, NM – New Mexico Community Foundation (NMCF) is pleased to announce its 2015 Chispa Awards, recognizing nonprofits across the state that accomplish a lot with very little, helping to improve New Mexico communities. During the first half of December 2015, eight organizations each received an award and a $6,000 unrestricted grant to use for their organization’s general operations.

Chispa, which means “spark” in Spanish, is an award that is given annually by NMCF to nonprofits that shine a light in the communities they serve. Nominations were made by statewide community partners, and final decisions were made by a volunteer selection committee. None of the Chispa recipients knew their organization had been selected until the day they were presented with the award and grant. There is no process for organizations to apply or for the general public to make nominations.

Half of the organizations selected specifically support issues directly relating to women and girls, aligning with NewMexicoWomen.Org, NMCF’s program to advance opportunities for women and girls in our state. The other half of the organizations selected serve rural and underserved communities of New Mexico.

The 2015 Chispa recipients are:

Colonias Development Council (CDC) – Doña Ana County and colonia communities in Southern NM – The mission of the CDC is to improve the quality of life in colonia communities in southern New Mexico by creating spaces for social, economic, environmental justice initiatives, including housing, education, and health. CDC runs the Chaparral Family Development Center, as well provides integrated services for immigrant families including naturalization preparation, education needs, and culturally relevant support around mental well-being, community development, social services, and health.

Community Action Agency of Southern New Mexico (CAASNM) – Doña Ana, Hidalgo, Sierra, Luna, and Grant Counties – CAASNM has been working nearly five decades to lift Southern New Mexicans out of poverty through high-impact programs that build self-reliance for low-income New Mexicans by encouraging family wellness, empowering families and bridging resources. The agency’s strength is its ability to offer an innovative and unique scope of services such as financial literacy and Individual Development Accounts (IDAs), emergency food programs, and bridging resources to support clients.

My Power, Inc. – Lea County – My Power Inc.’s mission is to empower Lea County’s youth to reach their full individual potential by providing fun, social, and learning activities geared toward developing personal confidence, academic excellence, and enhanced life skills. More specifically, they work with girls, empowering them to set goals, make wise choices, succeed academically, and avoid teen pregnancy.

Pegasus Legal Services for Children – Bernalillo County and Statewide – Pegasus provides high quality legal services to low-income children and youth across New Mexico. They work to address the civil legal needs of children and youth up to age 24 in a range of legal areas including family law for young parents, advocacy for homeless and runaway youth, special education litigation, kinship guardianship for grandparents and others raising children at risk of abuse and neglect, and services for youth involved in the juvenile justice system.

Somos Un Pueblo Unido – Statewide – Founded in 1995, Somos is a statewide community-based and immigrant-led organization that promotes worker and racial justice. Somos works to build a community that does not discriminate against people based on their national origin, that institutes humane migration policies, and that protects the human rights of everyone irrespective of where they are born or what documents they carry. The major campaigns Somos leads are focused on eliminating racial profiling, wage theft, and increasing the safety for workers by keeping all drivers licensed in New Mexico.

TenderLove Community Center – Bernalillo County – TenderLove’s mission is to help homeless, near homeless and low-income women, including survivors of domestic violence and previously incarcerated women achieve stable, self-supporting lives for themselves and their families. Their twelve-month curriculum teaches skills women can use to enter or re-enter the job market. Skills include sewing, fashion design and crafting, as well as basic financial skills, resume writing, and interview skills, and basic employment etiquette.

Tewa Women United (TWU) – Rio Arriba and Santa Fe Counties and the Eight Northern Pueblos – The mission of TWU is to provide safe spaces of indigenous women to uncover the power, strength, and skills they possess to become positive forces for social change in their families and communities. TWU runs several programs that focus on environmental justice, reproductive and health justice, culturally based interventions to sexual violence and other trauma, and women’s leadership.

Young Women United (YWU) – Statewide – YWU is a community organizing project by and for young women of color in New Mexico, and believe social change should come from those most impacted by an issue. YWU works with women and families to identify issues impacting their lives and build policy efforts. Their cross-sector strategies in creating community-based systemic and policy change include: Albuquerque based community organizing, statewide campaign and policy initiatives, leadership development of young women of color, creation and distribution of media by and for communities, mind-body transformative practices, art and culture shift, and movement building within state-based and national social justice movements.

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