Jemez becomes second tribe in New Mexico and 16th in nation to create a permanent endowment
JEMEZ PUEBLO, N.M.—Aug. 20, 2010—In partnership with New Mexico Community Foundation and investing in their future, the Pueblo of Jemez kicked off a major fundraising drive last Friday to create an endowment for Jemez’ educational endeavors.
“Every year an average of six college-bound students is denied funding because we do not have enough for all of them,” Jemez Gov. Joshua Madalena said. “However, education is a priority and this endowment will open new doors and provide some great opportunities for our people. It will also help support some of our innovative educational programs.”
The endowment or Jemez Pueblo Foundation Fund will be a permanent pool of money managed by New Mexico Community Foundation (NMCF). The Pueblo approached NMCF with a proposal to raise $50,000 in one year. NMCF, with support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, will match half of what the Pueblo raises at $25,000 if the Pueblo reaches its goal by Aug. 20, 2011, possibly allowing the Pueblo to start with a total investment of $75,000 by Aug. 20 next year.
“This latest investment is part of a long partnership between the Pueblo of Jemez and New Mexico Community Foundation,” said Jenny Parks, NMCF president and CEO. “The Pueblo’s innovation in education, ties to culture and language, and community involvement are at the core of NMCF’s mission. We hope this partnership can serve as an example of our continued commitment to work with tribes throughout the state.”
The non-gaming tribe will become the second tribe in New Mexico and the 16th in the nation to establish an endowment, according to a report on Native American philanthropy by the First Nations Development Institute, which provides research and support for Native American nonprofits and economic development organizations. Once established, Jemez plans to use its endowment to support tribal education programs and fund scholarships. The endowment will also aid educational programs at area schools, such as research that supports use of the Towa language in school curriculum, youth development and community-based, experiential learning opportunities for students.
The Pueblo also has plans to create a tribal employee giving program, as well as solicit area businesses to raise money. The Jemez Health Board and Health Department will kick off the drive with a $25,000 initial investment toward the fund.
Kevin Toya, 17, is one Jemez student who is looking forward to the interest off the endowment. Toya, a senior at Walatowa High Charter School (WHCS) who has plans to go to medical school, is so eager to attend college that after a full day of high school classes he takes the Sandoval Easy Express Shuttle to Bernalillo to catch the Railrunner to take classes at UNM in the evening. Toya, who is taking advantage of an early college program at WHCS, said he’ll be able to start as a sophomore in college when he graduates from high school.
“We personally have a tribal scholarship program but the program only gives out a few scholarships because the Pueblo doesn’t have money to fund every student,” Toya said. “Something like this could really help me. I don’t want to get a loan.”
This commitment is one of a series of investments that the NMCF has made in Jemez. Since 2003, the foundation has awarded nearly $1 million for youth development programs, including a $331, 682 grant for the Supporting Partnerships to Assure Ready Kids program or SPARK, a statewide early childhood initiative that helps transition children 5 and under into kindergarten and elementary school.