Terra Winter is the President and CEO of the Community Foundation of Southern New Mexico. 


Community can be defined as a “unified body of individuals: such as a group of people with common interests living in a particular area”.  Dona Ana County is our community.  The nonprofit industry is our community.  The colleagues, neighbors, friends, and families in our circles are our community.  The Success Partnership, along with our giving neighbors, defines the community that the Community Foundation of Southern New Mexico (CFSNM) is honored to be a part of.


Since 2018, the CFSNM has been a partner, with the Ngage New Mexico SUCCESS Partnership and Leaders Circle.  The SUCCESS Partnership is prenatal to career education initiative founded in 2013, as part of an overall collaborative grant within the CFSNM while Ngage New Mexico was created. The group brought together a diverse set of over 100 cross-sector organizations comprised of parents, education professionals, nonprofit organizations, businesses, regional partners, and community leaders who are committed to improving educational outcomes in Dona Ana County. In the last three years, our collaborative partnerships have spawned numerous projects like the Nonprofits Rolling Together Coalition, numerous nonprofit capacity building trainings throughout southern New Mexico, and funding opportunities for the children’s museum, countywide surveys, and results-based programming.


As both, Lori Martinez and I have become the leaders of our organizations, we have found solace, intentional conversations, laughter, frustration, and the overwhelming need to seek out collaboration between one another, as well as, our nonprofit partners.  The work being completed each day by our nonprofit colleagues is awe-inspiring and through collaboration we not only honor one another but it also allows us to accelerate the working passion behind this work in Dona Ana County.


As we have worked remotely throughout the pandemic, it has been imperative to reach out via the phone, email or zoom to continue our work together.  The world has not slowed and the demands on nonprofits have expanded.  In this way, our partnership has allowed for immediate conversations on small business support, outreach to childcare workers, supporting remote learning, and expanding hardship grants to those in need through the Together Las Cruces Fund. Without these partnerships, our organization would not have been able to pick up the phone, intact hundreds of donations, and turn around more than $700,000 in grant funding throughout Las Cruces and our surrounding communities.


The CFSNM focuses our work by connecting donors to needs while supporting nonprofit work throughout our community.  Early childhood education fits within our first organizational mission by celebrating maternal and child health throughout this county.  In the last 31 years, the growth of our scholarship programs has allowed us to connect donors to the needs of students in our community.  Our scholarships focus on an array of educational offerings while allowing our team to connect with the goals of NGAGE NM and SUCCESS Partnership.  Celebrating nontraditional trades, supporting traditional students as they adjust from high school to higher education, and finding the zest for education.


As we look to the future, this partnership will allow each of our organizations to support nonprofit capacity building while continuing the policy work of early childhood education.  Our team is looking for opportunities to fundraise, connect grant making to the needs in our community, and grow the children’s museum concept that will allow our children to have hands on education for years to come.  As we continue to discuss, console, and just have fun with our work we hope that our sense of community and passion for collaboration will continue to make our neighbors, volunteers, donors, and programs flourish.


Lastly, it is prudent for all of us to think of one another during the upcoming holiday season.  It has been a rough, strange and overwhelming 2020.  At this time, we typically ask each of you to consider giving to your favorite cause or passion.  Giving Tuesday is December 1st and if this article has drawn you to give to the CFSNM please do so.  Every dollar given will be matched dollar for dollar until we hit our match goal of $4,000.  Yet, philanthropy is not just about dollars.  This year our team wants to remind you to give.  Give of your time.  Give of your grace and patience.  Give to yourself so that each of us can replenish and lastly give back to your community in whatever way you see a need.


Terra Winter is the President and CEO of the Community Foundation of Southern New Mexico.  The focus of the Foundation is to serve as a community resource, connecting donors to needs, and supporting charitable organizations in their philanthropic work.  To learn more about the Community Foundation of Southern New Mexico visit www.cfsnm.org