How the Albuquerque Community Foundation Approaches Philanthropy


Albuquerque is a diverse, fast-growing city known for its annual hot air balloon festival, locally grown chile and southwest culture. But thanks to the Albuquerque Community Foundation, which has been operating now for over 40 years, it is also an emerging hub for philanthropy in the region. The Albuquerque Community Foundation (ACF) is one of the top grantmakers in the state and supports groups in four counties across the greater metropolitan area.

As a brief introduction to ACF giving, here’s what New Mexico grantseekers should know about this community foundation.

Seven topics of interest

ACF takes a broad approach to grantmaking and funds many different types of local groups. Its seven interest areas are animal welfare, arts and culture, economic and workforce development, education, environmental and historical preservation, and health and human services. Local organizations can apply for just one field of interest per annual application cycle.

The annual cycle is a great way for nonprofits to connect with this funder. Over 90 endowment funds at ACF support its annual funding cycle, addressing needs and services in Bernalillo, Sandoval, Torrance and Valencia counties.

Prioritizing access to economic opportunity

An overarching theme across ACF’s giving right now is providing more access to economic opportunities. This is an issue that the foundation identified as a major problem in the city, and it has shifted its focus to increasing prosperity for Albuquerque residents. Examples of what ACF is seeking to fund include career development and life skills programs, social services programs to boost self-sufficiency, job creation, workforce development, access to arts and cultural experiences, and protecting the natural environment around the city.

Beyond the annual grant cycle

Aside from ACF’s annual grant cycle, there are other opportunities that local groups can apply for. For example, ACF administers the Hancock Family Grant Program, which supports women and children’s health, education, performing arts, cultural organizations, wilderness preservation and animal protection. ACF also administers grantmaking for the Sandia Foundation, a funder of child well-being, basic needs and education. There is also an opportunity with the Brighter Future Fund, an effort of the New Mexico Oil & Gas Association that sponsors a statewide grant program.

Getting involved with ACF

ACF offers a transparent grant application process that is accessible for first-time grantseekers. As part of that, ACF hosts “coffee chat hours” during the application cycle to answer questions and provide opportunities for feedback. The chats are held online via Zoom.

Funding decisions are now solely based on grant applications, as ACF no longer requires presentations in an effort to alleviate the burden on nonprofits. The foundation also hosts a series of informal PEEP (Party to Enhance Equity in Philanthropy) events during the year to support community-building and collaborative relationships among nonprofits and community members.

To learn more, IP offers a full profile of the Albuquerque Community Foundation, along with a comprehensive list of New Mexico funders and giving trends in the state.