The Charles T. Townley and Victor T. Roberts LGBTQIA+ Designated Endowed Fund

22 February 2023

LAS CRUCES, NM — Victor Roberts and Charles Townley believe everyone has “a logical as well as a biological family.” Through their endowed fund at the Community Foundation of Southern New Mexico, they are supporting their logical family by funding LGBTQIA+ community and educational initiatives throughout southern New Mexico.  They also seek to encourage additional continuing support for the LGBTQIA+ community in the region.

Recently, Brittany Ontiveros was selected as the first scholarship recipient of the Charles T. Townley and Victor T. Roberts LGBTQIA+ Designated Endowed Fund. Ontiveros, a sophomore at Doña Ana Community College, has hit her stride both academically and professionally, but that wasn’t always the case. “I started school when I was eighteen years old, but because I was dealing with mental health and family issues, I dropped out,” said Ontiveros. After trying to return to school with limited success, she found a medical care team and made her mental health a top priority. Ontiveros also found a renewed focus when she began working at Cruces Creatives, a local nonprofit makerspace. She quickly learned that she enjoyed the art-inspired side of the work but also began to appreciate the administrative functions of the job. “My brain loves the numbers and puzzles that come with accounting and grant reporting,” she said. With encouragement from her supervisor, Ontiveros re-enrolled at Doña Ana Community College and decided to pursue an associate degree in bookkeeping.

Ontiveros’ story aligns with the development Townley and Roberts are looking to encourage in the LGBTQIA+ community. Aside from administrative work, Ontiveros also has been a part of developing the Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math (STEAM) program at Cruces Creatives. This has allowed her to work one-on-one with local youth, many of whom are questioning their own sexuality and gender identity. “As a bisexual individual, I know people have fought these fights for me. So, now I am working to mentor youth along their journey and teach them lessons like how it’s not okay to ‘out’ other students,” said Ontiveros.

The Charles T. Townley and Victor T. Roberts LGBTQIA+ Designated Endowed Fundencourages growth and resilience in the LGBTQIA+ community in southern New Mexico by making grants to organizations for LGBTQIA+ initiatives in the social sciences, arts and humanities. “For example,” says Townley, “we want to help gay/straight alliance organizations achieve their goals at colleges and schools in the region.” The fund also supports scholarships for LGBTQIA+ students in higher education. “When we help somebody, we are investing in our future,” says Roberts. “We trust that recipients will remember the ‘why’ behind our actions and pay it forward.” Townley and Roberts also want to encourage others to participate in developing LGBTQIA+ organizations and individuals in southern New Mexico. “We encourage other members of our LGBTQIA+ logical family to support the ongoing development of our community,” say Roberts and Townley.

The fund’s purpose and impact might seem broad, but once you meet Roberts and Townley, the focus seems natural. Roberts, who hails from Texas and is a Hispanic American, describes himself as a “product of two cultures, someone who was different and needed to be adaptable and walk in both worlds.” He dropped out of high school due to the bullying he experienced for being gay. Roberts’ life then became filled with adventures ranging from deep sea diving to building computers and spending time travelling the world. Townley spent 45 years in higher education, serving as a Professor of Education and as Dean of the New Mexico State University Library.  He also enjoyed two appointments as a Fulbright Senior Lecturer and as a Visiting Professor at Beijing Normal University. During Dr. Townley’s time in Beijing, he developed an appreciation for contemporary Chinese art and soon began collecting it. When Townley met Roberts, their combined love of art resulted in a growing collection which they have since donated to the University of Southern California’s Pacific-Asia Museum in Pasadena, CA.

Dr. Terra Winter, President and CEO of the Community Foundation of Southern New Mexico, sees the Townley/Roberts endowment as a beginning for generating additional LGBTQIA+ support throughout southern New Mexico. “CFSNM has created a more general EnvisionLGBTQIA+ Endowment to support ongoing LGBTQIA+ activities, programs, research and scholarships in many areas of interest.  The CFSNM Envision LGBTQIA+ Endowment will support ongoing activities in Catron, Chaves, Doña Ana, Grant, Hidalgo, Lincoln, Luna, Otero, and Sierra counties,” said Winter.

The Community Foundation of Southern New Mexico serves as a community resource, connects donors to needs, and supports charitable organizations in their work. As a center for charitable giving, the foundation supports Catron, Chaves, Doña Ana, Hidalgo, Otero, Sierra, Socorro, Grant, Lincoln & Luna Counties. For more information on the Community Foundation of Southern New Mexico, visit

$530,000 Committed to Creating of Over 900 New Jobs through the
NMBorderplex Incentive Program

17 January 2023

The Community Foundation of Southern New Mexico (CFSNM) and the Mesilla Valley Economic Development Alliance (MVEDA) have reported that in 2022 the NMBorderplex Incentive Program committed $530,000 in support, to six companies, who will create 937 new economic-base jobs, and over $105 million in new capital investments in Doña Ana County. Recipients of the incentive include Artico Cold Storage, Electronic Caregiver, BitWise Industries, Worthington Farms, and two additional companies that will be formally announced in the coming months.

The NMBorderplex Incentive Program is a post-performance, economic-based, job creation grant managed by MVEDA with financial assistance from the NM Economic Development Fund (the Fund), a multipurpose economic development initiative administered by the CFSNM. It is estimated that the economic impacts of these investments in 2022 will lead to over $126 million in new household spending and an overall economic impact of $461 million to the region over the next five years.

To date, in its first two years of existence, the NMBorderplex Incentive Program has provided financial commitments of $805,000 across nine projects in the region, assisting in the creation of over 1,400 new economic based jobs.

The New Mexico Economic Development Fund was established by El Paso Electric to provide $1 million per year for 20 years in support of private businesses, projects and organizations that make or will make a measurable difference in achieving economic growth and development and creating new quality jobs within El Paso Electric’s New Mexico service area. For the past two years, the Fund has been governed by three independent board of advisors made up of local community leadership which included Ed Camden, John Hummer and Jerean Camunez Hutchinson. Entering 2023, Dr. Andrea Tawney will be replacing Ed Camden as the third community advisor as his term has ended.

For more information about the NM Economic Development Fund, Click Here

For more information about the NMBorderplex Closing Incentive, contact MVEDA through their website at

New Fund – Louise Trask Memorial Foundation

1 September 2022

Finding a way to honor the legacy of Louise Trask wasn’t hard. The seed of inspiration was planted when Louise’s eldest daughter, Melissa Henry, was just five years old. Louise took her two young daughters to church one day and when the pastor asked for a prayer request, Melissa raised her tiny hand and said “I would like to ask you to pray that my Dad would stop hitting my Mommy.”

Fortunately, Melissa’s prayers were answered. The church community rallied around Louise with support, offering her a moving truck to pack up her belongings and gas money. She ended up in Las Cruces, NM and became a well-known face in the community. After several years working in sales for the manufactured housing industry, Louise was hired as a mortgage loan officer at a local credit union. While there, she made it her mission to help others actualize their dreams of purchasing their forever homes. “She was like a momma figure to everyone,” said Melissa. “She helped people repair their credit and would offer advice like ‘you don’t have to eat a restaurant burrito everyday for lunch’ to get people to start thinking about saving for their new home.”

Even though high demands and commitments at home kept Louise from graduating from high school, education always remained important to her. She volunteered at local schools, sharing her time and expertise to help provide financial literacy information to high school youth. Louise also used her past experiences to speak to middle school home economics classes about domestic violence including types of abuse and signs to watch out for.

Louise used the church’s investment to create a new life, one filled with hope, love, and service to her community. Now that her daughter Melissa and her husband, Dr. Kevin E. Henry, are church founders and pastors in Pantego, TX, they, together with their church family at Word of Truth International Ministries, have chosen to bring Louise’s story full circle by creating The Louise Trask Memorial Foundation fund. The fund, housed at the Community Foundation of Southern New Mexico, was established to help other women in Southern New Mexico who were in domestic violence situations find their new beginnings. Earnings from the fund will provide assistance for new home down payments, rent and deposits for apartments, and education related expenses such as tuition or GED application fees.

When we asked Melissa why establishing this fund was important, she said “We can take what was done for my mom, sister, and I to help other mothers and their children and give them a second chance, also. That is my Mom’s legacy–she wanted good for everyone and had a caring heart for others.”

Louise’s family has also found creative ways for those who knew Louise to help support the endowment established in her memory. Special memorial t-shirts will be sold with proceeds being donated to the Louise Trask Memorial Foundation fund. After Louise’s passing, Melissa rediscovered a children’s book she authored in 7th grade that her mother helped her create. The book, Where’s Sara? will be published and dedicated to Louise with proceeds from the sale also supporting the endowment.

To learn more about The Louise Trask Memorial Foundation Fund at the Community Foundation of Southern New Mexico, visit

Community Foundation of Southern New Mexico and Doña Ana Arts Council Partner on Artspace’s Preliminary Feasibility Study

9 June 2022

Long a part of plans for the Las Cruces Arts and Cultural District and, more broadly, to help Las Cruces become a serious hub for the arts, artist live/work spaces are one step closer to becoming a reality in New Mexico’s second largest city.  Artspace Consulting, a division of Artspace Projects Inc., a nonprofit developer of creative spaces based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, has been engaged by the Community Foundation of Southern New Mexico and Doña Ana Arts Council to study this possibility.

Artspace Consulting will conduct a hybrid Preliminary Feasibility Study and meet with artists, arts organizations, city officials, funders, and other stakeholders. Artspace looks at multiple buildings and sites to start to visualize the project and holds a public meeting to listen to the creative sector on their space needs.  There are six areas of consideration during the study: Alignment with Broader Community Goals, Local Leadership, Funding and Finance, Potential Sites, Creative Sector, and Project Concept.

The local partners are setting up a “Las Cruces Core Group” to lead the study.  Community members are encouraged to stay tuned for more information on virtual focus groups and how to participate in Artspace Consulting’s in-person visit and public meeting in the coming months.  Artspace Projects has fifty-seven artist-centered facilities across the United States, each with its own personality and its own unique connections to where it is located.  Their statement about their organization and its work is below:

Artspace is a non-profit organization that uses the tools of real estate development to create affordable, appropriate places where artists can live and work. We consistently develop these projects in ways that also support more stable, healthy communities anchored in existing assets. Because Artspace owns each of the projects it develops, we ensure that they remain affordable and accessible to artists. Over the last three decades, Artspace has led an accelerating national movement of artist-led community transformation. While embracing the value the arts bring to individual lives, Artspace has championed the once-radical idea that individual artists experiencing financial hardship, and chronically underfunded arts organizations can leverage fundamental social change. With headquarters in Minneapolis, and offices in New York and Washington D.C., Artspace is America’s leading developer of arts facilities and has served as a consultant to hundreds of communities and arts organizations nationwide. Additional information is available at

Senior Vice President of Artspace Consulting, Wendy Holmes added, “Artspace is thrilled to begin this feasibility study in Las Cruces after many years of conversations with community members about the critical importance of affordable space to the creative community.”

This important feasibility step was made possible by several, very generous gifts made to the Community Foundation, both directly and on behalf of the Arts Council, with this specific study in mind.  CFSNM, under President and Chief Executive Officer, Terra Winter, Ph.D., has been a collaborator for many years and is the co-lead for this study.

“Our Board of Directors, and team, are excited to partner in the first steps to a larger live/work space for artists in our community,” shared Terra Winter.  “A matching grant of $7,500 from the USBank Foundation allowed our team to create an opportunity to raise the funds needed to complete the feasibility study.  Continual funds will be raised locally and managed by the foundation team while focusing on the sustainability of the project. This is a wonderful opportunity for our nonprofit community to focus on affordable housing while continuing to support the arts in our community.”

Since 2021, DAARTS (DAAC) has also been actively engaged. “The Board of Directors of the Arts Council has been unanimous and enthusiastic in its support for the project,” said Greg Smith, Executive Director of DAARTS.  “The fact that it is an included action in the Arts and Cultural District Plan also helps, and we are very grateful to the individuals and entities making major gifts to get this started.  It is going to be very good for the arts in our region, and that is going to be very good for our region.”

Smith said that artists and representatives from the City of Las Cruces, Downtown Las Cruces Partnership (including representation for the Arts and Cultural District), Cruces Creatives, the NMSU Art Museum, and other entities will be part of this study.  “This needs to be integrated into who we are here and how we harness the arts to benefit our whole community.  That’s a giant task, but it is an exciting one to be a part of.”

The Community Foundation of Southern New Mexico serves as a community resource, connects donors to needs, and supports charitable organizations in their work.  Please contact President and Chief Executive Officer Terra Winter, Ph.D., at 575.521.4794 or for more information.

The Arts Council supports and promotes the arts as both part of a thriving creative economy and a source of community pride.  DAARTS (DAAC) Board meetings occur on the fourth Thursday of most months.  Please contact Executive Director Greg Smith at 575.523.6403 or for more information.


On August 12, 2021, residents of La Union were hit by what could be called a 100 year flood.  This small agricultural community sits within Doña Ana County just north of Santa Teresa and south of Las Cruces.  Total rainfalls within this one day measured over 5.88 inches.  Homes and lives were turned upside down.

Immediately, with the help of Lieutenant Governor Howie Morales, Representative Ray Lara, and our colleagues at Santa Teresa Charitable Foundation, donors from throughout southern New Mexico began to raise dollars for the Together La Union Fund.  The fund was set up to assist residents, businesses and community partners in flood mitigation, repair and clean up.  Within 72 hours of opening the fund, donations began to come in.  As of today, more than $64,000 has been raised to support residents of La Union.  This has been in part because of donations like those presented by Sunland Park Racetrack & Casino and the Fulton Family Foundation.

In early October, the Community Foundation of Southern New Mexico team received a call from colleagues at Sunland Park Racetrack & Casino.  As neighbors to La Union, they had witnessed the devastating impact through stories and photos.  Their team and dedicated family founders wanted to give $25,000 to aid in recovery, clean up and overall support for food insecurity during the upcoming holiday season.  These funds will support individual awards to families that have lost homes or had significant damage to their property while also supporting donated food baskets throughout the next three months.  More than 400 food baskets, including Thanksgiving turkeys, will be provided to families throughout La Union.  Additional grants will go to support La Union Helping Hands with their December holiday support boxes.

“We are honored to assist residents of our border community,” shares Acting General Manager of Sunland Park Racetrack & Casino, Ahmad Mughni, “The Fulton Family and our team know with support through the CFSNM, funds will directly impact those that have been affected by the August flood.”

The Community Foundation of Southern New Mexico serves as a community resource, connects donors to needs, and supports charitable organizations in their work. The Community Foundation of Southern New Mexico is supported by a broad base of individuals, families, corporations, and institutions connected by the desire to improve southern New Mexico.

For more information please contact us at 575-521-4794 or  To visit our social media or visit the donation site click here.


18 August 2021

ARREY, New Mexico – The New Mexico Economic Development Fund (NMEDF or Fund) is awarding $75,000 to M.A. & Sons, Inc. (M.A. & Sons), to fund capital investments in infrastructure, improvements, and equipment purchases. The Fund, managed by the Community Foundation of Southern New Mexico (CFSNM), was established by El Paso Electric (EPE) to provide $1 million per year for 20 years in support of private businesses, projects and organizations based within EPE’s New Mexico service territory. The Mesilla Valley Economic Development Alliance (MVEDA) supported CFSNM in the analysis and recommendations on use of the funds to assist with this project.  

M.A. & Sons, a family-owned and operated corporation, began its chile processing operation in October of 1987. The company was established by Mary Alice Garay, (also known as M.A.), and her three sons: Frank, Randy, and Patrick Garay.  M.A. & Sons grows and processes red and green chile products at their Arrey, New Mexico processing plant.  The NMEDF grant will help M.A. & Sons construct a cold storage facility at their processing plant. 

The cold storage facility will allow M.A. & Sons to store their chile products onsite instead of transporting to third-party storage providers out-of-state and benefit local growers by providing additional storage outlets for their products. 

“Our family-owned business started off as a dream for me and my sons and has become a point of pride to serve in and for our southern New Mexico community,” shares Mary Alice Garay of M.A. & Sons. “We are grateful for the support of the New Mexico Economic Development Fund, MVEDA, and all those who made this project possible.”

The NMEDF grant will support M.A. & Sons’ $9 million investment in the project and is expected to create over 30 new jobs with over $1.2 million in new average annual payroll.   


The New Mexico Economic Development Fund was established by El Paso Electric in connection with the corporate sale of the Utility to Infrastructure Investments Fund (IIF) to provide $1 million per year for 20 years in support of private businesses, projects and organizations that make or will make a measurable difference in achieving economic growth and development, expanding and diversifying the tax base, creating new quality jobs, and increasing the economic base within El Paso Electric’s New Mexico service territory. The fund is administered by the Community Foundation of Southern New Mexico and governed by three independent board of advisors which include Ed Camden, John Hummer and Jerean Camuñez Hutchinson.

Click here for more information about the NMED grant. 


The next public meeting held by the Fund’s Advisors will be on August 24, 2021 at 9:00am MST via Zoom.

Click here to access the link to the meeting.

Interested applicants can attend to learn more about the process, discuss their project application, or ask questions. 


The Community Foundation of Southern New Mexico serves as a community resource, connects donors to needs, and supports charitable organizations in their work. The Community Foundation of Southern New Mexico is supported by a broad base of individuals, families, corporations, and institutions connected by the desire to improve southern New Mexico. The Community Foundation of Southern New Mexico manages over 250 endowments, including 45 non-profit sustainability endowments and are home to over 35 scholarships and 5 annual grant cycles.


El Paso Electric is a regional electric utility providing generation, transmission and distribution service to approximately 444,300 retail and wholesale customers in a 10,000-square mile area of the Rio Grande valley in west Texas and southern New Mexico.

Click here to read the press release.


19 July 2021

Las Cruces, New Mexico – Aprendamos and Covarrubias Family Fund are proud to announce that the Advancing Social Equity Initiative will award two grants to local nonprofit organizations working on building equity or equitable practices within their organization.

The Advancing Social Equity Initiative invites applications for the support of organizational capacity building resulting in impactful work and engagements that advance racial and social justice in Southern New Mexico.

The Advancing Social Equity Initiative’s goals are to build the capacity of emerging nonprofits in Southern New Mexico to align with evidence-informed equity models. This initiative aims to seed a pilot demonstration model to ground equity in the fabric of local nonprofits, thereby increasing well-being among staff and constituents with exponential impact in the community. This model may serve as inspiration for other area human service organizations to build collaborative power to ground equitable well-being efforts in the region.

Two nonprofit organizations will be awarded. Each will receive $5000 and participate in training and learning opportunities with Aprendamos and Ivy Child International. The grant application will be open from August 1st – 31st, 2021.

This grant will be administered by the Community Foundation of Southern New Mexico. Applications can be submitted via hard copy or electronically.

Eligible Organizations:

  • Any Human Services nonprofit in Southern New Mexico, those located in Las Cruces and Doña Ana County area, will be prioritized, with an annual operating revenue under $1 million.
  • All applicants must have a 501 c3.
  • Tribal, native and indigenous-led organizations in the area with a 501c3 are strongly encouraged to apply.

The Aprendamos and Covarrubias Family Fund was established in 2020. This fund is a collaboration between Aprendamos Intervention Team, PA, also known as Aprendamos Family of Services, and the Covarrubias Family. The fund is held at the Community Foundation of Southern New Mexico.

The fund plans to focus on advancing child and family health and well-being and education through a lens of abundance, diversity, equity, and inclusion, along with awareness and capacity building.

Currently, the fund has created the Advancing Social Equity Initiative to support nonprofit organizations committed to advancing social equity within their organization and, ultimately, our community.

“Jose and Antonia Covarrubias migrated to the United States to give their children an opportunity to live the American dream.  By viewing life through a lens of abundance, the family embraced values of compassion, integrity, generosity and faith.  Today, the Covarrubias Family wants to pay it forward with the hope that the seeds of giving will continue to be planted and fostered in southern New Mexico.” -Abel Covarrubias

Ivy Child is a multicultural, multilingual, and international nonprofit devoted to universal mindfulness education, prioritizing the needs of children and communities. Rose Felix Cratsley, Ph.D., CEO of Ivy Child International, and Christine Robinson, Advisor to Ivy Child International, have a tremendous amount of experience working with organizations, particularly communities of color, to expand diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice.

To learn more about Aprendamos Family of Services, visit or call 575-526-6682.

To learn more about the Advancing Social Equity Initiative, visit

To learn more about the grant application requirements for the Advancing Social Equity Initiative, visit

To learn more about Ivy Child International, visit
Click here to read the press release.


In March 2020, our region faced an economic downturn in response to the worldwide COVID-19 health pandemic and state-mandated restriction orders. During that time, hundreds of families and businesses across southern New Mexico felt the financial impact.

Thanks to generous assistance from our neighbors, friends and donors, your CFSNM stepped in to assist in communities across the state by housing four separate emergency response funds locally, and working with the New Mexico Coalition of Community Foundations to coordinate a statewide response fund in conjunction with the governor’s office.

The Together Las Cruces emergency relief fund was created as a means to provide families in Doña Ana county with a financial hardship grant during times when they could not work or lost their jobs.

Started as a concept by local business owners, the fund quickly grew to more than $300,000 – and partnering with the City of Las Cruces, an additional $150,000 was donated to support our community. The Nonprofit Emergency Fund was established to assist other nonprofits in time of great need due to a community need, natural disaster, and/or response to overwhelming loss of operational revenues. To date, 29 nonprofit organizations have received grants to support their operations to meet the increased need in response to the health pandemic.

What began as an idea from a local entrepreneur and long-time Las Cruces resident has since turned into a sustained fund at the CFSNM: the Thank You Las Cruces Restaurants Fund was created to support local restaurants with a $1,000 grant, to feed their communities with no cost.

The Governor Richardson, Lopez, Olmos, Trejo COVID-19 Emergency Fund for the Southern Colonias of Doña Ana was established to provide support for the Community Action Agency of Southern New Mexico to support the Thriving Families Program and Community Action Agency clients in response to the health pandemic. Grant funds were used specifically to support federally designated Colonias in southern New Mexico, and to date, more than 250 families have been served.


The All Together NM Fund has been established by the Governor’s office in conjunction with the New Mexico Coalition of Community Foundations to help New Mexico respond to and eventually recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Fund will be used to address immediate needs and offer long-term support for the recovery work that lies ahead. The New Mexico Coalition of Community Foundations will coordinate the fund. Its members include: Albuquerque Community Foundation, Community Foundation of Southern New Mexico, Santa Fe Community Foundation and Taos Community Foundation.

These organizations will, in turn, work with the broader philanthropic community across New Mexico and consult with the State of New Mexico to determine the most urgent needs to be addressed though grant-making from the All Together NM Fund. Please click here to read the impact report or see the website at