Three Grant Recipients Recognized with Exceptionalism Awards

Our Foundation is truly blessed to work with amazing nonprofit partners across New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas. The foundation trustees recognized three of our grant partners for their exceptional creativity, innovation and leadership with the Foundation’s inaugural Exceptionalism Award – an unrestricted grant of $30,000 to each recipient: Avenues Early Childhood Services in Gallup, NM; Home of Hope in Vinita, OK; and Texas Beef Initiative in Dripping Springs, TX. Read more about their work and the impact they are making in their communities.

Avenues Early Childhood Services

Gallup, NM


Avenues Early Childhood Services provides no-cost, high-quality parent support to all families in McKinley County (prenatal to five years old) through home visits and other services so families can be self-sustaining and advocate for their own needs. The leadership is vigorously inculcating a strong culture of service, continuous learning, process improvement and excellence. Seven of their 12 staff members, including the Executive Director and Board Chair, have engaged in outcomes and evaluation work and integrated that work into their daily culture. As they enter their ninth year of service, they are moving from start up, survival mode to collaboration, robust staff development and future planning. Their program expansion includes developing and launching a new ground-breaking, multilingual early childhood dental health program.

Home of Hope

Vinita, OK


Home of Hope addresses the needs of 250 adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities through housing, activities, day programs and employment across five counties in Oklahoma. Experiencing what many organizations are continuing to face – successive employee turnover, especially among entry level employees – Home of Hope creatively tackled that challenge by opening a child care center for employees’ children and developing strategies to meet other needs usually outside the scope of an employer. While Home of Hope continues to provide traditional employee benefits – as well as sign-on bonuses, referral and retention bonuses and longevity bonuses – it also provides support to help employees experiencing food insecurity, housing instability and barriers to other opportunities. They can help staff obtain a GED or driver’s license and make additional training and credentialing available for higher paying positions and promotion opportunities. This holistic perspective to address the health and wellbeing of its employees helps strengthen the organization and its mission.

Texas Beef Initiative

Dripping Springs, TX


The founders of Texas Beef Initiative, cattlemen and amateur team ropers, realized there were plenty of cattle in Central Texas but very little meat protein available at food banks (peanut butter is the most common protein distributed). From handling cattle purchases and donations, to transportation, veterinary care and processing, Texas Beef Initiative makes meat protein available in food banks, food pantries, and other charitable organizations across, and beyond, Central Texas. They found a similar model elsewhere in the country and adapted it to create a sustainable source of meat protein that otherwise would not exist and go to waste, providing 130,000 meals through 40 partner agencies last year.