Collaborative Approach to Boost Economic Impacts of Valencia County, NM Nonprofits

The Grants Collective, Center for Nonprofit Excellence (CNPE), and UNM Evaluation Lab seek nonprofit organizations in Valencia County that want to develop capacity in the areas of marketing, grant seeking, and evaluation. The collaborative has received funding through PNM’s Century of Service Grant to begin a joint workforce development and education program to grow and develop nonprofit businesses in Valencia County. The mission of this project is to boost the economic impact of the nonprofit sector through training and capacity building to achieve nonprofit sustainability and employment viability.

The Grants Collective, CNPE, and the UNM Eval Lab will work with nonprofit businesses in Valencia County to develop communications, grant seeking, and evaluation capacities based on best practices. Each participant will develop an action plan in at least one of these targeted areas. Nonprofit professionals will engage in a cohort-style, hands-on training with access to subject matter experts, a facilitated learning circle, and online technology for continued engagement. The project will develop a community of learning in Valencia County, boosting the nonprofit sector as a strong partner for economic activity.

In addition to the important work nonprofits provide in the community, this sector plays a vital role as an economic driver, employing 48,000 people in New Mexico – nearly 10% of the workforce (Independent Sector, 2016). In delivering services, nonprofits must operate effectively so they become sustainable and grow. Effective operations help nonprofits contribute to local economic growth through maintaining and increasing employment, as a purchaser of goods and services, and through making the community more attractive to corporations.

“We believe New Mexico is a state worth investing in,” say Tara Gohr and Erin Hielkema, who share leadership of The Grants Collective. “Nonprofit organizations are vital to a healthy community and contribute greatly to the economy and quality of life in our state. We are thrilled that the PNM Resources Foundation sees the potential, and we are excited to work with our partners at CNPE and the UNM Eval Lab to boost the economic impact of nonprofit businesses in Valencia County.”

Together, The Grants Collective, CNPE, and UNM Eval Lab will leverage each other’s strengths, expertise, and combined 20+ years’ experience to strengthen nonprofit businesses. Cooperatively, these organizations seek to build the capacity of nonprofit businesses to effectively deliver essential services and improve the quality of life in Valencia County.

Nonprofit organizations in Valencia County that are interested in participating are invited to attend a gathering hosted in the Learning Resource Center (LRC101) at the UNM Valencia Campus on October 30th at 3:00PM. To RSVP or for additional information, please contact The Grants Collective at or 505-226-0171.

For more information on the Grants Collective, visit

For more information on the Center for Nonprofit Excellence, visit

For more information on the UNM Evaluation Lab, visit

About The Grants Collective:

The Grants Collective addresses the philanthropic divide that New Mexico faces by building nonprofit capacity for grant seeking through professional development, shared resources, and access to expertise. Programming includes: (1) Talent Academy, a 4-month intensive, project-based professional development experience to build the skills of grants professionals, specifically around seeking large scale grant opportunities; and (2) Cooperative Network, an online and in-person forum for grants professionals to find resources, ask questions and share advice, foster collaboration, and share efficiencies. The Collective also fiscally sponsors Grow New Mexico, a program developed to identify funding sources for transformative community projects. Executive Committee: Robin Brule, Travis Suazo, Erin Hagenow, and TJ Cook.

This project is made possible through funding from the PNM Resources Foundation.