(from the Sandia Lab News)
The United Way of Central New Mexico (UWCNM) Community Fund is finding creative ways to get social service agencies to work together to deepen their impact. The fund supports a range of nonprofit agencies and programs that help people who are struggling to better themselves in Bernalillo, Sandoval, Torrance, and Valencia counties.
Partner for Greater Impact
“The needs in the community far outstrip the available funding, so we want to put the donors’ dollars where they will have the greatest impact,” says Justin Ford of Sandia National Labs, who sits on the UWCNM’s grant-awarding Community Impact Council (CIC) that oversees the Community Fund.
“Sometimes agencies with missions that align well reach farther. We see the value in having agencies leverage each other and work together to identify where the greatest needs are and how to shape services to meet those needs.”
For example, five agencies that work in early childhood intervention through Part C of the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) faced stagnant reimbursement through Medicaid while costs were rising. “In the state of New Mexico, a child with a developmental delay is mandated to receive services,” Justin says. “Nonprofits set these kids up to be as successful as possible later in life, get them into mainstream education.”
The five groups known as the B4-3 Network — Abrazos, Alta Mira, Life Roots, La Vida Felicidad, and Native American Professional Parent Resources — came together to see how they could, as a team, address the funding gap and make the system sustainable. They successfully applied to the Community Fund through a formal collaboration process that lets them share the funding in a single grant.
Collaboration Benefits for All
“They had to decide whether to apply collaboratively or individually, and they took the leap to collaboration,” Justin says. “They demonstrated incredible mutual trust. They interact as a team, share best practices, cross train, and share staff across a four-county area. They share specializations and help clients and families get what they need without having to travel. There are huge benefits to the clients and the funders. They are changing the way the state is administering the early intervention program.”
“(The Community Fund) is a worthwhile and meaningful investment in ensuring that all people have the opportunity to better themselves through education, are healthy and safe, financially stable, and live life with dignity,” he says. “The Community Fund is about moving the needle on these needs.”