Vaxed, variant, hybrid, cicada. These are just a few of the words that dominated our societal vernacular in 2021. For the Paso del Norte Health Foundation and Paso del Norte Community Foundation, we’ve added three more: purpose, partnerships and possibility.
As CEO of our family of foundations, I am pleased to share our 2021 Annual Reports, which underscore our purpose, highlight our community partnerships, and remind us of the possibility for the residents of our binational, tri-state region to achieve happy, healthy and productive lives.
Together, our foundations invested $35.9 million in grants and charitable projects in 2021 to improve health, education, social services, economic development and quality of life in the region.
The health foundation focused its grantmaking in three priority areas: healthy living, disease prevention and management, and health leadership.
• Healthy living — invested $3.5 million through 44 grants to improve nutrition, expand hike/bike trails, increase access to quality after-school programs, and educate parents, teachers, and youth about the dangers of vaping.
• Disease prevention and management — awarded another $3.4 million through 27 grants to prevent diabetes and mental illness, which included the creation of the new Paso del Norte Center at the Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute to increase access to and awareness of mental health services in our region and a partnership with the El Paso Center for Diabetes and Diabetes Alliance on the Diabetes: Now What? campaign to help individuals diagnosed with diabetes connect with needed resources.
• Health leadership — provided $4.8 million through 29 grants to help nonprofit organizations respond to and emerge stronger through the pandemic, including support for a network of promotoras across the region to promote vaccines and important social and health services, provide on-going board development in partnership with the United Way, and continue our $11 million commitment for the Texas Tech Woody L. Hunt School of Dental Medicine.
The community foundation focused its work in four priority areas: philanthropic giving, nonprofit investment, community projects, and community resilience.
• Philanthropic giving — provided $23.4 million in grants and charitable expenses to more than 200 nonprofit organizations in partnership with more than 200 donor-advised and designated funds to improve health, education, social services, economic development and quality of life.
• Nonprofit Investment — lifted the nonprofit sector through El Paso Giving Day, raising more than $1.2 million for more than 200 nonprofit organizations, and with the first annual Reimagine! Nonprofit Conference, which included a fantastic lineup of speakers and more than 400 attendees.
• Community projects — supported important community projects like the All-Abilities Playground at Ascarate Park led by Moms on Board, the proposed Downtown Deck Plaza over Interstate 10 in the Downtown corridor, and the planned 68-mile countywide Paso del Norte Trail.
• Community resilience — managed the EPRentHelp.org rental assistance program from 2020-22, in partnership with the city and El Paso County, investing more than $38 million to support over 6,000 families at risk of eviction.
Our sister foundation, Fundación Paso del Norte in Juárez, invested another $1 million, including $200,000 in challenge funds from the Hunt Family Foundation, to promote vaccines, prevent violence, provide opportunities for youth, and expand mental health services in partnership with dozens of nonprofit organizations in Juárez.
We are grateful to our committed boards of directors, generous donors, hardworking nonprofit organizations, engaged community stakeholders and dedicated staff who make this possible.
We invite you to learn more and, more importantly, join us. Allyship, another key word of 2021, and beyond!
Tracy J. Yellen is CEO of the Paso del Norte Health Foundation and Paso del Norte Community Foundation. She may be reached at 915-218-2615 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article originally appeared on El Paso Times: Paso del Norte foundations fund purpose, partnerships, possibility