United Way of Northern New Mexico

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Community Action Fund



In life we rely on professional advice in areas we are not immersed with knowledge in.  We feel the same should be true for making our community stronger.  United Way of Northern New Mexico is actively engaging Los Alamos and Rio Arriba Counties as well as working directly with each County’s Health Councils to stay current with needs in the region.  United Way works to form partnerships and collaborations that pull resources and have them work together to directly address pressing challenges and fill gaps in services our region faces.  This is all made possible with investments into the Community Action Fund. United Way Model Infographic

Because of investments made to the Community Action Fund in 2017 United Way of NNM has made an impact in our community.

  • A child has their first role model of healthy adult behavior
  • A father has help to provide for his family while he is by his son’s side as he undergoes leukemia treatment
  • A student challenged with dyslexia caught up to his peers in reading ability
  • A high school student has someone to talk to about his frustrations and feelings of giving up.
2018 Community Partners

left to right: Yvonne Atencio (Habitat for Humanity), Kathy Sutherland-Brauw (Inside Out), Beverly Post (Rio Arriba Adult Literacy), Christy Wall (New Mexico Wildlife Center), Santina Shije (Juvenile Justice Advisory Board), Cheryl Pongratz (LA Family Council), Amanda Mountain (McCurdy Ministries), Salvador Ruiz (Moving Arts Española), Kristy Ortega (United Way of NNM), Molly McBranch (First Born Los Alamos), Rex Davidson (Las Cumbres), Ellen Morris-Bond (Self Help), Steve Boerigter (United Way of NNM)

Twenty-nine Organizations Funded Based on Critical Needs


In 2017,  United Way of NNM focused funding requests around the greatest needs in our community as identified with County Health Councils.  Twenty-nine organizations were funded in the areas of mental wellness, child development, mentorship and youth support, financial stability, physical health programs, and a portion of capital investment. “The funding process is always difficult because everyone who is applying is doing great things for people.  We are excited to work with our partners and to share they stories of how, together, we are helping you, your friends, your neighbors and making your community stronger.” says Kristy Ortega, United Way of NNM Executive Director.  Learn more about our Community Partners.

Stories from Community Partners

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Behavioral Health Group Created to Bring Therapists and Providers Together To Provide More Resources


The United Way of Northern New Mexico Behavioral Health Initiative (BHI) Group is working to provide resources, raise awareness and normalize behavioral and mental health issues in Los Alamos.

With in-depth research and discussions of strategy and advocacy, the group deals with issues ranging from improved crisis intervention to statewide concerns and insurance policy.

United Way Facilitates Mental Health First Aid Training Courses

BHI3In 2016 and 2017 United Way of Northern New Mexico played a role in bringing training for mental health first aid to Los Alamos.  The first of these started with a partnership with Juvenile Justice Advisory Board and a donation from the United Way of Northern NM Youth Team .  The second was a training aimed at educating first responders on how to handle situations where mental health may be involved.

Emergency vouchers made available for resources needed for someone in need late at night.

James Keane, LAPD, Ellen Morris-Bond, Self Help Inc., Kristy Ortega, United Way of NNM.

James Keane, LAPD, Ellen Morris-Bond, Self Help Inc., Kristy Ortega, United Way of NNM

Executive Director chaired the 2015 Basic Needs Subcommittee (BNS) of the Los Alamos Health Council. Through this committee many gaps in services in Los Alamos were identified.  One such need was the availability of resources during off hours.  Such as if a person is a victim of domestic violence at 1 am there were not a lot of immediate options for the victim. The BNS partnered with Self Help, Inc. and the Ministerial Alliance to provide “Emergency Voucher Envelops” to Los Alamos Police Department as they need them. Officers who find someone in the community dealing with homelessness, poverty, mental illness, substance abuse or domestic violence in the off hours have the ability to provide food and shelter. Officers are tracking the use of the vouchers to help identify population served by this program.


 United Way Days of Action

United Way’s Day of Action is an invitation for people and organizations around the world to LIVE UNITED and take action to address a variety of challenges. It is a day that we ask community volunteers to engage in activity to help us put our mission into action by improving lives of those in our community.

2016 – United Way of Northern New Mexico (UWNNM) partnered with the Los Alamos Retirement Community to rejuvenate an outdoor space for their residents in the dementia unit.  The projects included shoveling up weeds and prepping a large area to be tilled and seeded so that the residents will have a level grassy area, laying down, concrete edgers, and sanding/staining benches, tables and chairs.

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This Day of Action Project this year came to be after learning about all of the
requirements that must be in place for the safety of the residents, especially when it comes to being outside. “We are thrilled to be able to work with Mary Yamada and the rest of the folks at Aspen Ridge. The Day of Action Clean-up is just the one of many opportunities we have with them to serve our community,” say Kristy Ortega, Executive Director, United Way of Northern New Mexico. 
The generosity of our Regional Partners and our Cornerstone organizations made it possible for UWNNM to identify and coordinate these types of activities; Los Alamos National Lab/LANS LLC. (Regional Partners), Los Alamos National Bank, SOC, Los Alamos Medical Center, Blue Cross Blue Shield of NM, Cray, Inc., RE/MAX of Los Alamos, and JB Henderson Construction.
Special thanks to Metzger’s Do It Best who graciously donated needed supplies!  Also,
thank you to Phil Hoffer and Oasis Landscaping for the time/tools contribution! Of course, we couldn’t have done the project without our volunteers, thank you!


2015 – Valdez Park Clean Up – United Way of Northern New Mexico partnered with Del Norte Credit Union and the City of Espanola to clean up Valdez Park. Litter and broken lights have been an ongoing struggle with the park. The City of Espanola has had limited resources to devote to the park and Del Norte Credit Union has stepped up to adopt the park for upkeep and investment into the lighting.

BeforeAfter22015 – Clean up & Fire Mitigation
In Los Alamos
, United Way of Northern New Mexico Partnered with Los Alamos County, American Legion Post 90 and the Los Alamos Retired and Senior Organization to help some elderly and physically unable people in our community with a little yard clean up. The projects range from pulling/trimming weeds, filling in holes and trenches, to disposing of debris.

10317801_745242602165482_476500349997031593_o2014 – Born Learning Trail – Urban Park, Los Alamos –
United Way of Northern New Mexico Launched Born Learning Trail to promote early childhood learning and family fun! The Born Learning Trail is a series of learning activities that any adult can play with young children.

Collaboration – Los Alamos County, Metzger’s Do It Best, YMCA YES Corp, and Little Forest Play School


STEM to Read Program Started in RAIL Libraries

STEM to Read, Storytime.Embudo Library

Activity backpacks, books, and family learning immerses children in an environment that help them to start looking at the world as Scientist, Engineers, and Mathematicians do.  This program is a pilot program that is starting at four nonprofit libraries in Northern New Mexico.  The United Way of NNM contributions will be leveraged with funding from the New Mexico State Library and the New Mexico Library Foundation, institutions that have been at the center of promoting and supporting the STEM to Read program in a growing number of libraries across the state.  The STEM to Read program partners with organizations such as PEEC and Explora to provide content for children.

 All of us want to live in  a thriving community, where we can raise our kids in a healthy environment, get good jobs and lead successful lives. Community Action Fund’s focus is on making our community a great place for everyone.  Community Action Fund investments stay in our community to tackle the current needs of the community.
 Thanks to the community commitments from LANS and LANL. Cornerstone Companies: Los Alamos National Bank, Los Alamos Medical Center, SOC, Cray Inc., Rio Grande Sun, ReMax of Los Alamos, and JB Henderson. This makes it possible for all of the things above happen and it enables the United Way staff to keep a pulse on the needs of the community and bring needed resources together to address challenges.  This also ensures that 100% of your investments to the Community Action Fund is going to impactful programs and services locally.


Cornerstone Companies





United Way of Northern New Mexico (UWNNM) is a grant making organization dedicated to engaging human and financial resources to help meet the needs in our communities through Education, Financial Stability, and Health. The Community Action Fund benefits local nonprofit organizations serving Los Alamos and Rio Arriba Counties.