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Building Equity and Inclusion: The United Way of North Central New Mexico Initiative 

The United Way of North Central New Mexico is committed to creating sustainable, inclusive, and resilient organizations and communities in the Albuquerque area. Recognizing the essential nature of diversity, equity, and inclusive practices, United Way engaged community partners and embraced the principles of trust-based philanthropy to change the power dynamics and structural barriers that too often prevent nonprofits from achieving their intended impact. 

In collaboration with the Albuquerque Community Foundation, United Way launched DEI United, an initiative committed to creating immediate and lasting change by fostering a more equitable, just, and sustainable environment in north-central New Mexico. Focusing on community engagement, support for diverse background-led organizations, and equity in leadership, this partnership strategically addresses the barriers and power imbalances within the local nonprofit ecosystem. 

The Community Wealth Building Cohort was established and funded with the generous support of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to reevaluate and redesign grant-making processes through an equity lens. 

The initial funding cycle in 2021 empowered 11 organizations through a participatory grant-making process with minimal administrative barriers. This financial support facilitated monthly cohort collaboration, focusing on entities predominantly led by individuals who are either Black, Indigenous, or People of Color (BIPOC), or those with direct lived experiences of the challenges being addressed. This initiative is a beacon of hope, demonstrating that with the right support, BIPOC-led organizations can thrive and make a significant impact in our communities. 

Sunshine Muse, the executive director of Black Health New Mexico, highlights the initiative's positive impact. Muse shared her enthusiasm for the cohort's collaborative nature, saying, "What we're doing is really having a conversation around what BIPOC-led organizations at the community-based level need to succeed and be sustainable." 

This initiative is a testament to United Way's unwavering commitment to healthy communities, youth opportunity, and financial security. It addresses immediate inequities and lays the groundwork for long-term systemic change. Through targeted support, United Way of North Central New Mexico continues to champion the cause of equity and inclusion, ensuring that every community member, regardless of their background, has the opportunity to lead a healthy and productive life. You can be confident in our dedication to this cause. 

If you are interested in learning more about the project see the video below.