Carlsbad non-profits 'step up' during COVID-19, spend millions to support community

Nov 07, 2021

Adrian Hedden, Carlsbad Current Argus | November 7th, 2021

The impact of Carlsbad’s nonprofits is felt throughout the community, as public services are bolstered by support for those in need.

The city’s nonprofit groups spend millions in the community every year helping clothe children, feed families and take care of the elderly.

Twenty-six nonprofits in Carlsbad spent a total of about $45 million in the community in 2019 and 2020, per the latest data from the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office.

The spending was a combination of operating costs for the groups and programming in the Carlsbad community to directly benefit those in need.

Lakeview Christian Home spent the most during those two year, expending a total of $14.7 million in 2019, per its latest tax records, with most of its expenditures going to programming at $11.1 million.

Lakeview was followed by CARC Inc., which spent $11.6 million in 2019 with about $10.3 million going to its programming in the community.

Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway said the power of nonprofits in his city was in their direct and diverse benefit to local people.

He said nonprofits in the city “stepped up” during the COVID-19 pandemic to help feed students when schools closed and care for the elderly as the health crisis rendered them more vulnerable than ever.

“As we certainly found out over the past year, our nonprofits are really there to step forward when the need is greatest. Nonprofits helped keep our seniors and students fed throughout the COVID-19 pandemic,” Janway said.

“They help every day with drug prevention efforts, with assisting animals in need, with behavioral health treatment and in a thousand other ways. We’re so happy to have these hardworking and dedicated volunteers and employees who make these projects happen.”

Nonprofits in Carlsbad and throughout the state also benefit from partnerships with local industry.

The New Mexico Oil and Gas Association announced Thursday its slate of grant funding for New Mexico groups through the Association’s Brighter Future Fund, which raises thousands of dollars each year for nonprofits and charities around the state.

This year, the Carlsbad Chapter of the Boys and Girls Club received $7,500 through the program, while local science education summer camp Inspired by Science received $5,000 to support it annual event.

In total, NMOGA provided $100,000 in funding for nonprofits this year and reported it granted $400,000 since the Brighter Future Fund began in 2019.

“Helping our next generation of children learn, expanding opportunities for our workforce, and providing relief to those in need of a warm meal are just some of the ways the Brighter Future Fund helps our fellow New Mexicans,” said NMOGA President Leland Gould.

“These are game-changing organizations, and the oil and natural gas industry is here to ensure they keep pushing New Mexico forward today, tomorrow, and well into the future.”

Ashly Key, director of Carlsbad MainStreet, a local non-profit that promotes businesses and events in downtown Carlsbad said nonprofits also benefit the community in intangible ways.

“Nonprofits are a huge contributor to our community. Nonprofits have the ability to help not only our businesses, it’s our children, families in need,” she said. “Funding for mental health. People are able to get involved and put their time into something they care about. Their passion.”

During COVID-19, Key said MainStreet and other nonprofits served as an “information hub” for local businesses by providing information on state protocols related to the health crisis and facilitating grant applications for needed relief dollars.

“It is our duty to get the information whether its from the state, federal or different organizations to the businesses so they don’t have to search far,” she said.

Carlsbad MainStreet was in the midst of its “Downtown Rejuvenation” project this year, replacing trash cans and benches in the downtown area, while also facilitating the recently-completed mural at the Eddy County District Courthouse.

Key said MainStreet was also developing an app to show visitors where to shop, eat and stay the night in the Cavern City.

She touted the recent successes of MainStreet’s Third Thursday and Farmer’s Markets events that drew hundreds of people to the downtown area to local frequent vendors and food trucks.

Looking ahead, MainStreet is planning to partner with the Carlsbad Arts and Culture District on an Electric Light Parade to celebrate the holidays, while continuing to promote Small Business Saturdays and the upcoming Santa Fun Run.

These events create a “sense of togetherness,” Key said, and help community members take care of each other.

“I think they better our community by bringing the community together. It’s like bringing the community together like a family to take care of one another, whether that’s through events, food drives or family support or just fun activities,” Key said.

“I’m passionate about the downtown businesses and I care that they are successful. I believe it is my responsibility and that of everyone in the community to make sure we thrive.”