Native American Relief Fund distributes additional funds for COVID-19 relief

On January 28, 2022, the Native American Relief Fund distributed $230,000 to support COVID-19 response and relief efforts in tribal communities in New Mexico. This is the fourth round of funds distributed to tribal communities. These funds were distributed equally among the twenty-three Pueblos, Tribes and Nations located wholly or partially in the state. Each Pueblo, Tribe or Nation can use these resources as it determines to respond to continued threats from the COVID-19 pandemic including food, medical supplies, and personal items; water; community and individual relief and recovery needs; internet access and connectivity and other needs and expenses related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Funds received from New Mexico Foundation’s Native American Relief Fund were used and will be used to provide emergency response (medical services, developing and sustaining an emergency response infrastructure and service). The Emergency Response team coordinates all aspects of the pandemic mitigation efforts including the distribution of emergency supplies, food, bottled water, and urgently needed medical supplies. The funds were also used to mitigate economic hardships faced by tribal members. The Tribal Administration bulk purchased food, water, household supplies and PPE for bi-weekly distribution. Thank you for this grant.” Elli Mishra, Finance Director, Pueblo of San Felipe, Office of the Governor.

The New Mexico Foundation launched the Native American Relief Fund on April 20, 2020, to prevent, mitigate or respond to impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic on New Mexico Tribes, Nations and Pueblos and Native Americans who live off-reservation. Since the initial launch, the New Mexico Foundation has distributed funds totaling over 2 million through four rounds of grantmaking.

The Native American Relief Fund remains active and will continue to raise funds toward the initial $3 million goal. The Native American Relief Fund Advisory Committee will continue to provide oversight of this fund. The Native American Relief Fund Advisory Committee is Native led with every member representing one of the tribes in New Mexico. The Advisory Committee members are: Natasha K. Hale (Navajo Nation), former Program Officer, W.K. Kellogg Foundation; JoAnn Melchor (Santo Domingo Pueblo), President/CEO, New Mexico Foundation; Dr. Amanda J. Montoya (Taos Pueblo, Isleta Pueblo, Ohkay Owingeh), Executive Director, Chamiza Foundation; Rebecca Rae (Jicarilla Apache Nation), Associate Director of Native Tribal Participatory Research Program, University of New Mexico; Joannie Romero (Cochiti Pueblo), Executive Director, Laguna Community Foundation; and Alvin Warren (Santa Clara Pueblo), Vice President of Career Pathways and Advocacy, LANL Foundation.

Since April 2020, the Advisory Committee has met on a monthly basis to provide oversight of the fund. We are grateful for the Advisory Committee’s commitment and service to our Native American communities through this fund.