PNM Resources Foundation awards $10,000 grants to three San Juan County organizations
Nearly 30 organizations across New Mexico receive funding
- Childhaven Inc., the Economic Council Helping Others Inc. and Tres Rios Habitat for Humanity all received a $10,000 grant.
- The PNM Resources Foundation is a nonprofit philanthropic organization governed by PNM Resources employees.
FARMINGTON — Efforts to keep a roof over the heads of San Juan County's disadvantaged residents got a boost recently when the PNM Resources Foundation awarded a total of $30,000 in grants to three local nonprofit organizations.
Childhaven Inc., the Economic Council Helping Others Inc. and Tres Rios Habitat for Humanity all received a $10,000 grant from the PNM Resources Foundation, a nonprofit philanthropic organization governed by PNM Resources employees.
A total of 29 nonprofit groups across the state received a total of $290,000 in grants from the organization.
Each of the grants was awarded for programs that provide affordable housing, assistance for achieving higher levels of independence and self-sufficiency, and case management that empowers individuals to break the cycle of substance abuse or homelessness, according to a news release announcing the grants.
"No one has the resources to prevent homelessness alone, but the PNM Resources Foundation can play a powerful role in supporting nonprofits that work tirelessly to sere those on the verge of homelessness in New Mexico each and every day," Laurie Roach, executive director of the PNM Resources Foundation, stated in the news release. "Often, these organizations also provide the dignity of the wrapround care needed to stay healthy, happy and housed."
Hope Tyler, the spokeswoman for Tres Rios Habitat for Humanity, said her organization would use the money from the grant to help construct its latest home in San Juan County and to work on repair projects for county residents who already own a home, such as building a new porch or a wheelchair ramp.
Tyler said the PNM Resources Foundation has been a regular supporter of Habitat for Humanity in the past, although that support frequently has taken the form of contributions rather than grants.
"We received $5,000 last year, but this is the first time we've gotten a formal grant," she said.
Habitat for Humanity recently broke ground on its 13th home in San Juan County, a Crouch Mesa residence that is being built for a single mother from Farmington and her three children. Tyler said her organization is grateful for the new funding and has long benefited from its association with the PNM Resources Foundation.
"Every time we're involved with them on a project, the heart of the people on their foundation board is (apparent)," she said, explaining that she recently had sent photos of the beginning of Habitat's new home project to the foundation. "A board member wrote back and said, 'Thank you for what you do. We couldn't do it without you guys doing the work.' They seem to truly care about the organizations they give to. With a lot of foundations, it seems like it can just be a bureaucracy, but this one is very heartfelt."
Erin Hourihan, executive director of Farmington's Childhaven, said her organization also has been a regular recipient of funding from the PNM Resources Foundation in the past. She said the financial assistance PNM and other foundations provide to groups like hers is invaluable.
"We're always looking for every bit of funding we can find from state, local and federal governments and the business community to try to keep our budget in the black," she said. "It is a constant struggle for nonprofits to serve the number of people applying to them (for help) and remain fiscally viable."
Hourihan said Childhaven has six programs in place that work to provide shelter or other assistance to the young people it serves, and the PNM grant will be used to help fund those programs. Childhaven provides shelter for children who often come from abusive situations, Hourihan said — from infants all the way up to 18 years old.
"We really appreciate PNM's recognition of that and helping us serve the needs of those at-risk children we serve every year," she said.
Her organization even continues to serve those who have reached adulthood, she said.
"We just can't take adults in this shelter, but we do work with older youths that are transitioning out of our system," she said, explaining that that assistance can take the form of finding them shelter in an adult facility and providing advocacy and therapeutic services. "We're helping them by making sure they're established in their new home."
ECHO CEO Nanette Pinckney said her organization has received funding from the PNM Resources Foundation for at least the last three years, when she joined the organization. She said this grant would be used specifically to help needy families meet their rent obligations through a four-year-old ECHO program.
A total of 15 families could receive up to $667 in one-time rent assistance, Pinckney said. After applying for help, families undergo a phone screening, visit the office for an in-person interview, and provide documentation confirming their need and eligibility, she said.
If the family is approved, a check is cut to the landlord within 72 hours, Pinckney said.
"One thing I'm extremely proud of is our quick turnaround time," she said, explaining that such efficiency not only benefits the family, but he landlord, as well.
Pinckney said she knows that in a lot of cases, $667 isn't enough to cover the entire monthly rent payment for a family, but ECHO works with other organizations to help fill that gap.
"It's amazing we received this grant for the third time," she said. "Without this grant, we would have people likely displaced from their homes — kids, elders and others. It's great that PNM supports our community with these grants."
Mike Easterling can be reached at 505-564-4610 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Support local journalism with a digital subscription: http://bit.ly/2I6TU0e.