Nusenda Credit Union today announced it has awarded a $30,000 grant to the Taos Community Foundation to help address COVID-related educational inequity amplified by a lack of home internet access; as well as the most emergent healthcare needs for northern New Mexico residents, medical frontline workers, and patients.
The grant provides:
- $15,000 to the Taos Community Foundation’s Education Collaborative. The grant, in partnership with Kit Carson Electric Cooperative, will provide six months of no-cost internet access to 100 economically disadvantaged families with K-12 students in Taos County.
- $15,000 to the Taos Community Foundation to provide hotel vouchers for healthcare workers, first responders, and other medical personnel who need to quarantine because of COVID-19 exposure or illness; as well as funding to provide medication and COVID-19 medical therapy for patients who cannot afford the over-the-counter medications necessary to recover.
“Since the beginning of this pandemic, Nusenda has redoubled efforts to partner with community organizations statewide to quickly adapt to changing needs,” said Nusenda President/CEO Joe Christian. “We continue to provide help in the communities we serve, assist nonprofits in maintaining critical operations, and support those in our state who are impacted by the coronavirus.”
“We are thrilled to receive such a generous contribution from Nusenda Credit Union for our COVID relief and recovery efforts,” said Taos Community Foundation Director Lisa O’Brien. “This gift will be granted out quickly to assist in meeting the needs in the region. It is a true reflection of community partnership at its best.”
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the “digital divide” — a gap between people who have sufficient knowledge of and access to technology and those who do not — disproportionally impacts students of color, those who are economically disadvantaged, and students in more rural/remote areas. Northern New Mexico, including Taos, is considered high-poverty and at-risk; in terms of digital access, New Mexico is the second least-connected state in the country. Only 60% of Taos residents have stable, reliable internet access from home.
With coronavirus cases declining in Taos County, many northern New Mexico communities, particularly on Native American lands, continue to be overcome by the pandemic. Funds provided by Nusenda to the Taos Community Foundation will help organizations like Holy Cross Hospital, which has been a lifeline for many in northern New Mexico.
“Holy Cross Medical Center is grateful for the opportunity to coordinate prescription needs for our patients here in Northern New Mexico,” said David A. Elliot, Holy Cross Hospital Education and Emergency Preparedness Coordinator. “Money received from our Nusenda grant will enable us to coordinate much needed care for those who need to defray prescription costs due to financial hardship. We are thankful to Nusenda for making such a grant available during these uncertain times, providing peace of mind for many Norteños.”
Since the pandemic began in March, 2020, Nusenda and its philanthropic arm, Nusenda Foundation, have provided $211,600 in COVID-19 relief grants and in-kind support to more than 50 community organizations and nonprofits statewide, supporting 10 New Mexico communities.