“As we celebrated our 20th year anniversary, our philanthropic reach expanded as we continued to leverage local and national resources to advance health equity statewide.”

– Denise E. Herrera, PhD, MCHES
Executive Director, Con Alma Health Foundation

It is with humility and gratitude that we share some of the accomplishments of Con Alma Health Foundation and our partners. As we celebrated our 20th year anniversary, our philanthropic reach expanded as we continued to leverage local and national resources to advance health equity statewide.

A few 2021 highlights include:

  • We selected 6 Heroes of Health who have demonstrated exceptional leadership and helped their communities thrive and successfully navigate challenging times in recent years.
  • Con Alma was one of thirteen foundations in the U.S. invited to participate in the Local and Regional Foundations Initiative Learning Intensive supported by Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, with the aim to advance racial equity through our philanthropic practices.
  • We awarded more than $1 million in grants to support communities in New Mexico disproportionately affected by the pandemic.
  • With support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, we awarded 27 grants to promote the equitable allocation, distribution, delivery, and access to Covid-19 vaccines and another 16 grants focused on the community rebuild and healing efforts.

We proudly partnered with local funders on the Native American Recovery Fund Zone Grant—which aims to support Native led
organizations to address Covid-19 recovery efforts in New Mexico’s Native American communities in the following areas: family
economic security, local health systems, opportunity youth, and water resilience.

We look to the future with optimism—as we develop a new strategic plan, renew our promise to advance health equity for all New
Mexicans, and be part of the long-term solutions and systemic change strategies necessary for communities to thrive. We extend our sincere gratitude to our Board of Trustees, Community Advisory Committee, staff, and our funding and community partners. Your unwavering dedication to champion public health and community well-being is inspiring.

For 20 years, we have followed our collaborative roots—investing more than $17 million in nonprofits improving health in New Mexico and bringing people together to work toward health equity.


In 2001, policy makers and health-consumer advocates collaborated to establish Con Alma Health Foundation as the best way to invest more than $20 million from the sale of Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Mexico. State law required that its assets be set aside for a nonprofit dedicated to health in New Mexico.

A year later the nonprofit Banner Health Systems sold Los Alamos Medical Center to a for-profit corporation, creating a fund from some of the proceeds to serve the healthcare needs of people living in Los Alamos, Rio Arriba, and northern Santa Fe counties. We partner with the Hospital Auxiliary of the Los Alamos Medical Center as the Northern New Mexico Health Grants Group (NNMHGG) to award annual grants from the fund.


Melissa McCue

Every year we recognize an individual who has made extraordinary contributions to the health of their communities. Fellow New Mexicans nominate heroes who work across the state in a variety of ways including healthcare providers, volunteers, policy makers, and advocacy.

Melissa McCue, Executive Director of Mandy’s Farm, was selected as the 2021 Hero of Health. Mandy’s Farm located in Albuquerque serves 170 individuals with developmental disabilities each month.

Melissa believes that bringing awareness to the value of direct support professionals is essential. Once the Covid-19 crisis began, McCue ensured coverage of staff’s healthcare premiums for several months and provided retention wages for furloughed employees and temporary pay raises for essential employees working in the homes of adults who have disabilities. In addition, she advocated for higher wages with funders, community members, and the Board of Directors, resulting in permanent wage increases for staff.

“We must continue to work for a living and thriving wage, an equitable career pathway and recognition of the work of our valued direct support professionals in our New Mexican communities,” McCue said. “They provide an essential lifeline to the health and safety and meaningful community engagement to individuals with disabilities.”

Con Alma donated $1,000 to Mandy’s Farm on McCue’s behalf.

“We must continue to work for a living and thriving wage, an equitable career pathway and recognition of the work of our valued direct support professionals in our New Mexican communities.”

– Melissa McCue

In honor of Con Alma’s 20th Anniversary in 2021, we honored five additional leaders:

Tina Cordova of Albuquerque, Pastor John Graydanus of Shiprock, Guadalupe Lugo of Vado, Shelley Mann-Lev of Albuquerque, and Duane Chili Yazzie of Shiprock. Con Alma made a contribution to the nonprofit of their choosing.




Con Alma Health Foundation founded as a private foundation focused solely on improving health in New Mexico


Northern New Mexico Health Grants Group (NNMHGG) established as a second grant-giving entity


Project DIVERSITY launched, a two-year nursing pipeline initiative to increase the number of ethnically diverse nurses in New Mexico


Published “Health Equity in New Mexico: A Roadmap for Grantmaking and Beyond,” to guide our grantmaking and initiatives


Published “Native American Health Care Reform Guide: Implications of Health Care Reform for Native Americans in NM” to recognize
the opportunities to strengthen Indian health systems


Completed Healthy People Healthy Places initiative, promoting health through equitable built environment and food access policy


Published “Achieving Equity in Health for Children and Families in NM,” a guide for policymakers in New Mexico implementing the Affordable Care Act


Released “Grandparents Raising Grandchildren in New Mexico: Understanding the Trend and Stemming the Tide,” a report with recommendations for curbing growth and supporting grandparents


In collaboration with 10 local foundations, advocated for an accurate Census 2020 count to ensure that our diverse populations were counted fairly and accurately – preserving federal funds for healthcare, education, and infrastructure


Awarded $1.6 million to New Mexico nonprofits serving populations critically affected by Covid-19


Awarded $600,000 to ensure equitable distribution of Covid-19 vaccines and address the disproportionate impact the pandemic has had on certain populations in New Mexico


Jim Coates,
CAC Glenwood

Susie Trujillo,
CAC Silver City

With almost four decades of combined service to Con Alma Health Foundation (CAHF), Jim Coates and Susie Trujillo shared reflections as Community Advisory Committee (CAC) members.

As a founding Con Alma Health Foundation (CAHF) trustee once said, “the CAC is the conscience of Con Alma.” The mission of the CAC is to: provide advice and recommendations to the Board of Trustees concerning the performance of the Foundation in meeting its Charitable Purpose and Mission, and identify and understand the health needs of all New Mexicans.

The CAC has included outspoken members of the Grant Making Committee, which includes CAC and Board members, advocating policies and protocols to assure equity in diversity and regional funding. To bring recognition of Con Alma to more New Mexican communities and the health needs of those communities into clearer focus, the CAC regularly requested broader coverage of CAHF staff and activities throughout the state, outside the typical Santa Fe/Albuquerque locus. And the CAC has been instrumental in conducting site visits as a way to build relationships and better understand the Foundation’s community partners.

The value of the CAC lies in its members’ knowledge of our communities and awareness of the network of health-related non-profits and providers. Their recognition of the vast inequities within communities and among individuals and their zeal to effect necessary changes are CAC members’ most important attributes.

From geographic, cultural, and political differences, with individual demographic, racial, ethnic, gender, age, urban, or rural backgrounds, each CAC member brings a lifetime of experiences to the table. Members gather not for contentious debate, but
as knowledgeable voices of their diverse communities, all to
help move the Foundation forward to meet its primary goal of improving the health of all New Mexicans.

Though we’ve long hoped it could, we realize Con Alma is a long way from moving any of the needles that address the state’s overwhelming health needs. There are not enough resources to quickly end the root causes of the health inequities of our state. We can’t buy our residents out of poverty or educate and train ourselves and our neighbors enough to finally eradicate prejudice and racism. We can’t convene enough meetings to advocate for policies that will eliminate the inequalities currently inherent within the social determinants of health.

What we do believe though? The CAC is committed to continue to listen, understand, respect, and work together as one; to effectively utilize the strength of our communal power and accumulated resources; to strive together to fulfill the vision of the Foundation’s founders.

Jim Coates and Susie Trujillo



Supporting health systems strategies to address the needs of our diverse communities (13 grants, totaling $242,500)

Cavern City Child Advocacy Center ($20,000)

Child Counseling Center and Play Therapy  Institute of New Mexico ($15,000)

Doña Ana Communities United ($20,000)

Health Security for New Mexicans  Campaign ($20,000)

La Plaza De Encuentro Gathering Place ($20,000)

La Semilla Food Center ($20,000)

NACA Inspired Schools Network ($20,000)

New Mexico Black Leadership Council ($20,000)

Pegasus Legal Services for Children ($20,000)

Southwest Women’s Law Center ($20,000)

Think New Mexico ($7,500)

Tribal Adaptive Organization ($20,000)

United Voices for Newcomer Rights ($20,000)



Strengthening the capacity of New Mexico’s nonprofit sector (6 grants, totaling $115,000)

100% Otero ($20,000)

CASA of Lea County ($20,000)

Health Equity Alliance for LGBTQ New  Mexicans ($15,000)

Mandy’s Farm ($20,000)

New Mexico Kids Matter Inc. ($20,000)

Zuni Youth Enrichment Project ($20,000)



Promoting the ongoing healing and community rebuild related to Covid-19. (16 grants, totaling $1,204,100)

Chainbreaker Collective ($50,000)

Española Public Schools ($100,000)

Generation Justice ($98,800)

Health Action New Mexico ($100,000)

National Indian Youth Leadership  Development Project Inc ($50,000)

New Mexico Black Leadership Council ($100,000)

New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty ($75,000)

New Mexico Immigrant Law Center ($100,000)

NMCAN ($20,000)

Rio Grande Alcoholism Treatment Program ($50,000)

Somos Un Pueblo Unido ($100,000)

Taos County Economic Development  Corporation ($65,200)

The Counseling Center ($100,000)

Truchas Services Center Inc. ($10,000)

United South Broadway Corporation ($87,000)

United Way of Eastern New Mexico Inc. ($98,100)


Promoting the health and wellness of the people of Los Alamos, Rio Arriba, and northern Santa Fe counties through a partnership between the Con Alma Health Foundation and the Hospital Auxiliary for Los Alamos Medical Center (14 grants, totaling $150,000)

Big Brothers Big Sisters Mountain Region ($10,000)

Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Fe/Del Norte ($10,000)

Child Counseling Center and Play Therapy  Institute of New Mexico ($15,000)

Family Strengths Network ($8,000)

Family YMCA ($7,500)

Inside Out ($12,000)

Las Cumbres Community Services ($12,000)

Los Alamos Family Council ($12,000)

Los Alamos Juvenile Justice Advisory Board ($7,500)

Mesa to Mesa ($12,000)

National Latino Behavioral Health Association ($10,000)

New Mexico State University Foundation ($10,000)

Santa Fe Recovery Center ($12,000)

University of New Mexico Institute for  Social Research ($12,000)



Promoting the equitable allocation, distribution, delivery, and access to Covid-19 vaccines. (27 grants, totaling $600,000)

Battered Family Services ($25,000)

Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Fe/Del Norte ($25,000)

Cavern City Child Advocacy Center ($25,000)

Centro Savila ($25,000)

Chainbreaker Collective ($25,000)

El Calvario United Methodist Church ($25,000)

Friendship Club ($10,000)

Health Action New Mexico ($25,000)

Health Equity Alliance for LGBTQ New  Mexicans ($25,000)

Igbo Union of New Mexico, Inc ($25,000)

Justice Access Support and Solutions for  Health dba Casa de Salud ($25,000)

La Familia Medical Center ($25,000)

Mora Valley Community Health Services, Inc. ($25,000)

New Mexico Alliance of Health Councils ($10,000)

New Mexico Association of Grantmakers ($25,000)

New Mexico Black Leadership Council ($25,000)

New Mexico Immigrant Law Center ($25,000)

New Mexico Public Health Association ($25,000)

New Mexico Social Justice Equity Institute ($25,000)

New Mexico State University Foundation ($25,000)

NMCAN ($10,000)

St. Luke’s Health Care Clinic dba Amador  Health Center ($25,000)

Success Institute of America ($10,000)

Taos Immigrant Allies ($10,000)

The Human Body Shop ($25,000)

University of New Mexico College of  Education & Human Sciences ($25,000)

Young Men’s Christian Association of El Paso ($25,000)


Board of Trustees

President, Trish Ruiz, Hobbs
Vice-President, Nathan Padilla, Roswell
Treasurer, Barry Herskowitz, Santa Fe
Secretary, Renee Goldtooth-Halwood, Navajo Nation

Robert Apodaca, Corrales
Robin Brule`, Albuquerque
Rainey Enjady, Mescalero Apache Nation
Lori Martinez, Las Cruces
Nathan Padilla, Roswell
Regis Pecos, Cochiti Pueblo
Alisha Prada, MD, Albuquerque
Fred Sandoval, Cochiti
Lorrina Segovia, Roswell
Terri Tewart, Santa Fe
Gary Williams, Albuquerque

Committee Members at Large
Steve Gaber
Deborah Walker
Rick Tyner

Outgoing 2021 BOT Members
Barrett Brewer, Gila
Robert Phillips, Roswell
Carlos Romero, Albuquerque

Northern New Mexico Health Grants Group

Chair, Joe Gutierrez

Sue Friar
Shelley Morris
Nelsy Dominguez

Outgoing 2021 NNMHGG Members
Teri Nixon
Wendy Schamaun

Con Alma Health Foundation - The Heart and Soul of Health in New Mexico

Community Advisory Committee

Chair, Donna House, Alcalde & Navajo Nation
Secretary, Wanda Ross Padilla, PhD, Santa Fe
Beverly Allen, Carlsbad
Joaquin Arguello de Jesus, Taos
Leigh Caswell, Albuquerque
Jim Coates, Glenwood
Yolanda Cruz, Las Vegas
Melanie Goodman, Mesilla
Sonlatsa Jim-Martin, Gallup
Robert Nelson, Albuquerque
Twila Rutter, Clovis
Susie Trujillo, Silver City
Helen Tso, Farmington

2021 Outgoing CAC Members
Patricia Collins, Hobbs
Wanda Ross Padilla, Santa Fe


Denise Herrera, Executive Director
Nelsy Dominguez, Program Director
Amy Donafrio, Associate Director
Cecile LaBore, Information Manager
Dennis McCutcheon, Communications & Outreach Coordinator
Candace Hintenach, CPA
Deborah Busemeyer, Communications Consultant


A heartfelt thank you to Dolores E. Roybal, Executive Director, for her 15 years of leadership. We congratulate her on her retirement in 2021.


Council on Foundations
Funders for LGBTQ Issues
Grantmakers in Aging
Grantmakers in Health
Groundworks New Mexico
Hispanics in Philanthropy
National Rural Health
Neighborhood Funders Group
New Mexico Asset Funders Network
U.S.–Mexico Border Philanthropy

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