Who We Are
The New Mexico Community AIDS Partnership (NMCAP) was founded in 1993. NMCAP works to assure that the diverse populations of New Mexico receive high quality, culturally appropriate HIV prevention, education and care. We focus on innovative and collaborative programs, targeting otherwise underserved and vulnerable populations.
Expanding Regional Capacity For HIV Prevention & Services
NMCAP is working to increase regional capacity to provide HIV/AIDS services and to develop the next generation of nonprofit workers. Since 2006, NMCAP has hosted teams in AIDS United’s AmeriCorps/Caring Counts program, which encourages young people with an interest in volunteerism and the nonprofit sector to consider entering the HIV/AIDS workforce.
NMCAP’s “Team New Mexico” has placed 46 volunteers at state and private agencies, where they spend a year providing service to the community while receiving professional training and development. This year, Team New Mexico members are working directly with Youth Shelters and Southwest Care Center in Santa Fe and with First Nations Community Healthsource, NM’Power, the Transgender Resource Center and UNM Truman Health Services in Albuquerque.
Since our inception in 1993, NMCAP has provided more than $1.5 million in support to HIV-related programs in New Mexico. Our grant making has focused on projects and programs that target underserved and fragile communities, including residents of the US/Mexico border region; young gay and bisexual men of color; Native Americans and members of the transgender community.
Due to changes in focus at some of our largest funders, NMCAP is taking a break from grant making in 2014. We are using this hiatus as a time to explore how we can best support innovative and collaborative HIV-related programs in the future. If you have ideas you’d like to share with us, do not hesitate to write or call.
Although NMCAP is not holding an RFP for funding in 2014, we continue to provide to support to various communities and community based organizations. If you are aware of a gap in HIV prevention or support services in New Mexico and would like help in exploring ways to fill that gap, we would love to hear from you. If you work with a group or organization that is considering offering HIV prevention or client services in your community and you need information or support, we are happy to meet with you to discuss your plans and how we can support the work you want to do.
Responding To The Evolving Needs Of People Living with HIV/AIDS
In the waiting room of a New Mexico waiting room, a young Spanish-speaking woman and her cousin were speaking about their need to pool their money for groceries for themselves and their families in order to get by until payday.
The woman had been diagnosed with HIV/AIDS and cervical cancer, and the costs and stresses associated with these diagnoses were threatening her family’s health and well-being. Fortunately, the receptionist heard the conversation and told the young woman that help is available.
Thanks to NMCAP’s Comida Buena program, which provides food assistance to people living with HIV/AIDS, the young woman now has regular access to groceries through the program’s “pantry”—and one less worry for herself and her family.
This woman is one of many people living with HIV/AIDS in New Mexico who are in dire need of financial and other support services to help them face the daily costs and challenges associated with chronic illness
Comida Buena was created by NMCAP to serve people living with HIV/AIDS who are unable to access the food they need to provide quality nutrition for themselves and their families. We currently work with local partners to maintain pantries in Santa Fe, Albuquerque and Las Cruces.
The geographic and cultural realities of New Mexico sometimes make it difficult for information to flow efficiently. We are the fifth largest state in the country, but have a population of only two million, about half of whom live in small towns and rural areas. We are a majority minority state. Almost 50% of the state population identifies as Hispanic or Latino and 10% as Native American Among the Native Americans, there are twenty-two sovereign tribes and more than half a dozen languages. With large distances and cultural divides, information about things happening at the state level often does not reach large sectors of the population and the needs and perspectives of state residents often do not reach those in power.
NMCAP holds an annual forum series for which we travel around the state to meet with those infected and affected by HIV/AIDS. Each forum is designed to create an opportunity for two-way communication. We share important developments in state and federal programming that will affect community members and ask community members to tell us about their experiences with local programs and service providers. In this way, we assure that the populations affected by HIV are kept up-to-date on important developments and increase NMCAP’s ability to respond appropriately to the needs and concerns of the state’s diverse populations
Working For Equity & Social Justice
Recognizing that social and economic determinants strongly affect individuals’ and communities’ risk of HIV infection as well as their access to medical and support services, we work with others to address inequities in access to care and services and to increase social justice. Because youth from communities of color and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) youth are disproportionately affected by HIV and other health concerns, we support programs that seek to increase the health of these populations through community building, esteem building and leadership development.
Since 2010 NMCAP has partnered with the Office of Student Wellness of the Santa Fe Public Schools (SFPS) on programs designed to increase the safety and well-being of students who belong to marginalized groups. We were instrumental in the development and instrumentation of SFPS’ Safe Zone program which has trained more than 200 faculty members to provide support to students who are experiencing bullying or harassment or need support in exploring aspects of their identity. We have also offered presentations to groups in the schools on gender, sexuality and other issues related to inclusion and diversity.
NMCAP is partnering with DNAWORKS, an organization “dedicated to furthering artistic expression and dialogue, focusing on issues of identity, culture, class and heritage” to develop a program called IDENTIFY: Identity. Dialogue. Experience. New Mexico Theater Initiative for Youth.
This project has three primary goals: 1. To support youth in becoming stronger and healthier individuals, more comfortable with the various aspects of their identity, including racial/ethnic background; class; immigration status; (dis)ability; sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression 2. To engage community members in dialogue that leads to greater acceptance and support for all youth. 3. To increase feelings of safety and inclusion among all youth in Santa Fe, particularly those who experience bullying, stigmatization or marginalization due to one or more aspects of their identity.
We also have three primary strategies. We host open workshops for youth that include discussions about social issues and healthy decision making and use experiential exercises to help participants explore their identity and the experiences that have supported or hindered the exploration of those aspects of identity that are controversial in our society. We work with groups of youth to develop performance pieces based on their experience and the issues they think are most relevant to identity building and expression in our community. We sponsor community events where the performance pieces are presented and audience members are led in discussions of the material presented.
In 2013, NMCAP worked with members of the community to create an online resource for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and two spirit (LGBTQ2) Native Americans in New Mexico. The website, which can be found at nmlgbtq2.info is designed to provide information about LGBTQ2 Native Americans and programs in New Mexico that target this population. It also includes space for news and stories that are relevant to the community.
We are currently developing an online directory of Native-led nonprofit organizations and tribal programs in New Mexico. The directory is designed to meet three goals: 1. It will help Native Americans find organizations that offer services they or their families may need. 2. It will help foundations and other funders who want to invest in Native American communities to find groups they may want to support. 3. It will help nonprofits and tribal programs to find others who are doing similar work and with whom they may want to partner.
NMCAP’s Work Is Supported By
Abbvie, AIDS United, Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, the Con Alma Health Foundation, Gilead Sciences, Janssen Therapeutics, the MAC AIDS Fund, the Santa Fe Community Foundation, and United Way of Central New Mexico.