CFSNM | Community Foundation has New Home |
New home of the CFSNM in Las Cruces.

Since its inception, the Community Foundation of Southern New Mexico (CFSNM), a philanthropic organization that supports nonprofits in 10 counties across the southern part of the state, has rented office space. No longer! The venerable Colonial Revival building at the northwest corner of El Paseo Boulevard and University Avenue, formerly the home of New Mexico State University president and founder Hiram Hadley and later the Cutter Gallery, is now being prepared for a new role: the home of CFSNM and a community nonprofit hub.

CFSNM staff and volunteers reviewing plans.
Terra Winter with staff and volunteers review the plans for the new building.

For the last few years, CFSNM’s offices have been in another historical building just two buildings away from its future home. CFSNM’s president and CEO, Terra Winter, Ph.D., has been shepherding this project with architect Tara Rothwell and contractor Randy Farmer, and shared plans for the building’s new purpose. The large downstairs area will become two event spaces that can be used for everything from receptions to seminars. Another local nonprofit, Mesilla Valley Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), will rent part of the building, and offices and meeting space will take up the rest of the 6,500-square-foot building.

Terra says, “We’re really excited to have Mesilla Valley CASA as our partner. They’ve been a long-standing, steadfast nonprofit in the community supporting hundreds of foster youth, families, and those who are aging out of the foster system. Our board was always focused on finding a space in which we could support the growth of our organization in partnership with our nonprofit colleagues. We are committed to supporting our grant making, scholarship cycles, and building long-term philanthropy and this permanent home will be another way to assist in growing capacity for all in Southern New Mexico.”

This ambitious project will be financed by a fundraising campaign that kicked off in August. Dollars have already been raised to support the purchase of the property, construction, and growth of a long-term maintenance fund for the building, which was constructed in 1907. Previous support CFSNM has received over the last 32 years has allowed the board of directors to internally finance some of the project. 

Donors have a wide range of opportunities to support the building project, Terra explained. Their goal is to raise $910,000, and toward that end, individuals and businesses can take advantage of naming opportunities. For example, Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate — Steinborn & Associates has committed support and will name the front patio. Amy and John Hummer, owners of Steinborn & Associates, said, “Personally and as a company, we are longtime supporters of the CFSNM. At Steinborn, we believe in Southern New Mexico and the importance of improving health and education and supporting the arts. CFSNM provides us a way to make a long-term impact on the community we call home.”

A new patio will take its name and theme from another donor. It will be named for Ara Janelle Woodward to honor her lifelong commitment to agriculture thanks to support from her daughter, Amy Buesing, an emeritus CFSNM board member. Aprendamos Intervention Team, another longtime supporter of CFSNM, will name the front reception area. The vestibule will be named in honor of long-time CFSNM leader Patsy Duran, who passed away in 2019. However, plenty of other naming opportunities remain for those who want to support the building project, from stairs and office space to open areas in the building. 

All contributions will make an impact on this historical project, and donors will be recognized on a permanent display in the large gallery. Donors can also honor a friend, family member, or community member with a named $200 brick or a $500 paver that will be part of the patio. Terra suggested that another way to support the project is to contribute your annual required minimum distribution on an IRA. 

Donors for this project will be recognized, along with donors to previous campaigns. A wall in the large room will honor those who supported the well-loved First Step Center, maintaining that history and telling the stories of their donors. “We are honored to carry on a lifelong commitment to giving in our community and will be continuing this legacy, as First Step Center was an integral part of the CFSNM history, especially for those that knew Patsy Duran,” shared Terra.  

Terra Winter with old photos of the building.
Terra Winter with photos of the building when it was Hiram Hadley’s home and of Glenn and the late Sally Cutter when it was their art gallery.

It is appropriate that this building that once was home to the Cutter’s antiques and art will again display an art collection. Many local artists and collectors have contributed pieces to CFSNM, and they currently have about 50 paintings to hang on the walls of the renovated building. “We have artists that people know really well here, and a lot of local artists, so that’s been a big part of our history, too,” says Terra. Historical photographs from when the building was Hiram Hadley’s family home will also be on display.

For those not familiar with CFSNM, their mission is this: The Community Foundation of Southern New Mexico serves as a community resource, connects donors to needs, and supports charitable organizations in their work. They manage more than 250 endowments, including 45 nonprofit sustainability endowments — they added five in the last year — and handle more than 35 scholarships. They also manage five grant cycles and have more than 30 nonprofits they support through CFSNM grantmaking that doesn’t overlap with the managed endowments. The organization, which will be 33 years old next year, also added three counties to their service area — Catron, Socorro, and Chavez — since COVID-19 struck, and distributed $4.5 million in relief between six COVID-19 response funds. 

CFSNM also hosts an annual estate planning institute for attorneys, accountants, bankers, investment advisors, and other professionals (this year’s will be held November 4 and 5 at the Las Cruces Convention Center). 

As a new nonprofit hub, CFSNM will share the wealth of their new space starting in 2022. Terra says, “The open meeting areas will truly become a hub for our nonprofit partners. The spaces will be available for board meetings, receptions, and other small events.” They are developing a menu of rental fees depending on services provided and time of use. The larger space is estimated to be able to fit 50 to 60 people seated, while the smaller area should be able to seat about 25 to 35. Terra adds, “We’re excited to host our colleagues and partners in this space. As a convener and collaborator, there will be no better space to innovate and drive change for our communities.”

Written and photography by Cheryl Fallstead
Originally published in Neighbors magazine

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