Community organizations receive financial boost from NTEC benefit fund

Noel Lyn Smith
Farmington Daily Times
Rygie Bekay of Navajo YES, looks on as other nonprofit organizations receive grants from the Navajo Transitional Energy Company at the company's Community Benefit Fund at the San Juan Country Club in Farmington on Dec. 11, 2019.

FARMINGTON — Representatives from nonprofits and chapter houses in the region received a financial boost when the Navajo Transitional Energy Company named Community Benefit Fund recipients.

The company allocates $250,000 annually to its fund, a program designed to help projects managed by nonprofit organizations, chapters on the Navajo Nation and approved education or community-based entities with an existing operational budget.

Among the 24 beneficiaries named on Dec. 11 was Newcomb Chapter, which is located in New Mexico and Arizona.

Chapter President David Randolph Sr. said the amount will be used to build an outdoor basketball court, an idea proposed two years ago by students participating in the chapter's summer youth employment program.

"We've been keeping that in the back of our minds," Randolph said.

This is the first time the chapter has received an amount under the fund since NTEC started managing it in 2016.

Navajo Transitional Energy Company's communication director, Erny Zah, announces grant recipients from NTEC's Community Benefit Fund at San Juan Country Club in Farmington on Dec. 11, 2019.

Cortasha Upshaw, community affairs coordinator for NTEC, said approximately 140 organizations have received help since the fund began.

Before then NTEC partnered for two years with BHP Billiton New Mexico Coal to provide the Community Investment Fund to help nonprofit organizations, area schools and chapter houses.

"We're happy we got funding for this project," Randolph said.

Part of the application process for the fund includes project descriptions. Each one focuses on either economic development, education and youth development, the environment or energy sustainability and conservation.

One by one, recipients were named, then they received a check during a luncheon at the San Juan Country Club on Dec. 11.

"Your love for your community is prevalent today," NTEC spokesman Erny Zah said at the event.

Navajo Transitional Energy Company communication director Erny Zah emceed NTEC's Community Benefit Fund luncheon at San Juan Country Club in Farmington on Dec. 11, 2019.

People Assisting the Homeless Inc., or PATH, is a nonprofit organization in Farmington that assists the homeless or those transitioning from homelessness.

Jonna Sharpe, executive director for PATH, said the amount will go into the budget for general operational expenses, which can cover costs from buying items for clients to paying utility bills.

"We operate as a household but a large household, so our expenses are the same as any household, only about 100 times greater because we're serving anywhere from 500 to 600 people a year," Sharpe said.

She added the organization is grateful for the amount.

"To receive this support from this great company, which seems to be really interested in the community with everything that they are doing, I'm impressed with that," Sharpe said.

Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636 or by email at

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