March 21, 2024

By Griffin Rushton, KOB TV 4

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — MacKenzie Scott, the ex-wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, has awarded 10 New Mexico organizations a total of $20 million through her Yield Giving foundation.

“We are so grateful and thankful, I have never cried for an email before,” said Ashley Martinez, Major Gifts and Public Relations director with Cuidando Los Niños.

For Cuidando Los Niños, $2 million is a much-needed gift to help prevent more New Mexican children from experiencing homelessness.

“Currently, we’re out of physical space in our building, we have a waitlist long enough to fill almost two new entire buildings,” said Natasha Gacinski, interim executive director for Cuidando Los Niños.

The South Valley-based organization provides housing, education, and resources for young people who could end up living on the street otherwise. With Scott’s donation, they can provide even more.

“I think it’s a testament to the work that we do here, the team that we have, but also how problematic this is in our very own backyards,” Gacinski said.

Organizers with Project Venture say their $2 million donation will help them reclaim something that was lost.

“Our goal with the money is to develop our own camp,” said McClellan Hall, founder and CEO of the National Indian Youth Leadership Project.

The long-running outdoor experience program offers adventure and service-based learning opportunities for Indigenous youth – hopefully steering them away from alcohol and substance abuse.

Officials say their old camp on Mount Taylor was sold out from under them years ago, but now they have the money for a new home.

“It’s really a blessing to have, you know, the opportunity to do that now and really do it right, and do it the way we want to,” Hall said.

For the folks at the New Mexico Environmental Law Center, $2 million is keeping their fight alive.

“I literally was just in disbelief, and in tears, or just feeling some of that weight being lifted off my shoulders,” said Virginia Necochea, executive director of the New Mexico Environmental Law Center. …