Thornburg Foundation Announces Additional Round of Grants for Local Food & Agriculture

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Grants intended to further leverage access to federal funding

Santa Fe, NM — The Thornburg Foundation announces  $115,000 in grants for New Mexico nonprofit organizations doing work in  water and agriculture restoration and conservation projects. The grants are intended to help nonprofits access federal funding available to improve watershed and river health and to address the effects of wildfire, drought, and water scarcity on vulnerable communities. 

Grantees include the Upper Rio Grande Watershed District, Ciudad Soil & Water Conservation District / Arid LID Coalition, Santa Clara Pueblo, Cimarron Watershed Alliance, Rio Fernando de Taos Revitalization Collaborative / Amigos Bravos, Rio Grande Agricultural Land Trust, The National Center for Frontier Communities, and New Mexico State University Foundation, Inc. These grants are made available  through the Support for Pursuing Federal Grants program, and will provide resources for organizations to successfully apply for larger, longer-term federal funds.  

“The American Rescue Plan, the Infrastructure Investment Act and other federal aid are creating once-in-a-generation opportunities for improving our state’s water and agricultural systems, ” said Allan Oliver, Executive Director of the Thornburg Foundation. “Based on feedback from our non-profit partners, we are making grants for grant-writing and matching, so our nonprofit partners can pursue substantial federal grants and, we hope, garner millions of dollars of new federal agriculture and water investment into our state.“

Investment in New Mexico’s water security has never been more important or more timely. The current twenty-year drought is the region’s driest in 1,200 years, and water supply is likely to decrease by 20-30% over the next few decades. Large sections of the Rio Grande – more than 50 miles between Albuquerque and Socorro – went dry this year for the first time in decades, and water levels were so low that supplies to irrigated farms have been delayed or cut off. At the same time, the forested watersheds that provide most of the state’s water are at risk. Prolonged hot and dry conditions fueled the two largest wildfires in state history, leading to damaging post-fire flooding. 

These grants will help nonprofit organizations pursue federal funding to address some of the more extensive agricultural land issues facing the state, such as the loss of agricultural land. According to a recent USDA NASS study from 1997-2017, New Mexico’s pastureland & rangeland declined by 4.6 million acres (-11%), cropland lost 353,601 acres (-16%), woodland lost 28,642 acres (-1%), and irrigated land declined by 178,582 acres or -22%. 

Funding for these grants has been made possible  through the Support for Pursuing Federal Funds Grant Program, which launched in early 2022. Anchorum St. Vincent, Thornburg Foundation and Santa Fe Community Foundation have partnered to provide rapid response grants for nonprofits in the sectors of Food & Agriculture, Water Resources Management, and Health & Social Determinants of Health. This critical funding aids New Mexico nonprofits in securing federal funds through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) for local communities that need it most.

This is the second round of funding provided for this effort. In April 2022, over $50,000 was awarded to four New Mexico food & agriculture non-profits: Three Sister’s Kitchen, One Generation, Center of Southwest Culture, and Western Landowners Alliance. 


About the Thornburg Foundation

Thornburg Foundation is a family foundation that makes grants in the areas of good government reform, K-12 education, agriculture reform, water policy, and community funding. We work to catalyze high-impact outcomes using evidence to understand and solve systemic problems, engage stakeholders to drive policy reform, and create meaningful and lasting change.


Posted on

August 16, 2022