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Call for Native American VAF applications, new video marks 10 years of collective community giving, entrepreneurship award, new LANL Foundation CEO, national economic development conference
November 1, 2014
Elmer Torres (middle), shown here during the grand opening of his Than Povi Fine Art Gallery in Cuyamungue, is one of last year’s Native American Venture Acceleration Fund recipients.

Elmer Torres (middle), shown here during the grand opening of his Than Povi Fine Art Gallery in Cuyamungue, is one of last year’s Native American Venture Acceleration Fund recipients.


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Call for Native American Venture Acceleration Fund applications

Proposals for this year’s Native American Venture Acceleration Fund (VAF) are due on November 20. The fund, which represents a partnership between Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos National Security, LLC, the New Mexico Indian Affairs Department and the Regional Development Corporation, is designed to help recipients create jobs, increase their revenue base and diversify the northern New Mexico economy.

Business enterprises who are at least 51 percent owned by a tribe or tribal member from the Pueblos of Cochiti, Jemez, Nambé, Ohkay Owingeh, Picuris, Pojoaque, San Ildefonso, Santa Clara, Taos or Tesuque may apply to the Native American VAF, with the added stipulation that the company must be located in the counties of Los Alamos, Mora, Rio Arriba, Sandoval, San Miguel, Santa Fe or Taos. Individual grants will be in amounts of up to $25,000 and will be awarded on a competitive basis.

To apply, review the Native American VAF’s Request for Proposals (pdf) and email your completed proposal to the Regional Development Corporation’s Kathy Keith (Kathy@rdcnm.org) by 5 p.m. on November 20.

LANL Major Subcontractor Consortium celebrates 10 years of collective community giving with new video
Los Alamos National Laboratory formed the LANL Major Subcontractors Consortium in 2004 to serve as an economic development collaboration platform. A decade later the consortium has released a new video, Collaboration’s Harvest, in honor of their 10 years of collective community giving.

Most recently the consortium raised $50,000 for its Industry Cluster Development Grants, with another $50,000 matched by Los Alamos National Security, LLC. The Industry Cluster award recipients will be announced at the consortium’s annual meeting and holiday celebration on December 11.

Venture Acceleration Fund receives prestigious entrepreneurship award

The Venture Acceleration Fund (VAF) created by Los Alamos National Security (LANS), LLC and administered by the Regional Development Corporation won the 2014 entrepreneurship award from the International Economic Development Council (IEDC).

Serving more than 4,100 members, IEDC represents the largest network of economic development professionals in the world and provides a diverse range of services, including conferences, certification, professional development, publications, research, advisory services and public policy tracking.

“The VAF is part of the LANS Community Commitment Plan,” said Kurt Steinhaus, director of the Laboratory’s Community Programs Office. “For the 2014 VAF alone, LANS contributed $306,000, Los Alamos County $25,000, the Santa Fe city government $30,000 and the New Mexico Manufacturing Extension Partnership $25,000. An additional $30,000 came from repayment to the Regional Development Corporation by a VAF grant recipient from a previous year.”

“The Venture Acceleration Fund has effectively helped entrepreneurs start new businesses, grow existing businesses and contribute to a more diverse economy,” Kathy Keith, executive director of the Regional Development Corporation, noted.

The IEDC annually recognizes the world’s best economic development programs and partnerships, marketing materials and most influential leaders. The VAF program was one of 34 recognized by the IEDC. Judging criteria for the entrepreneurship category included measurable results, widespread community support, innovation, cost effectiveness and transferability to other communities.

LANL Foundation announces new CEO

The Los Alamos National Laboratory Foundation recently announced that its board of directors has named Jennifer Parks as the next Chief Executive Officer effective mid-January 2015. Parks will assume the role currently held by Susan Herrera, who announced earlier this year that she plans to retire after 17 years as its founding director.

Parks joins the LANL Foundation from the New Mexico Community Foundation (NMCF), where she has served as president and CEO since 2010, guiding the organization in its mission to support New Mexico’s most underserved communities, strengthen nonprofits and grow philanthropy by connecting donors to valuable projects and vulnerable communities.

Before joining NMCF, Parks served as project manager and New Mexico, Arizona and Utah state director for The Trust for Public Land, a national land conservation organization. In addition, Parks has experience as a real estate attorney and commercial real estate developer in Austin, Texas.

“The LANL Foundation board was looking for the next visionary leader to guide the LANL Foundation and its programs into the future,” said current CEO Susan Herrera. “Jenny’s experience and passion for education are a great match, and we look forward to building a continuum of success under her direction.”

Parks and Herrera will work in tandem for a six-week period to ensure a smooth transition of LANL Foundation leadership.

National economic development organization convenes in New Mexico for first time

The national University Economic Development Association, which brings together key stakeholders from higher education, private-sector businesses and economic development organizations, recently convened its annual conference in New Mexico for the first time. Over 220 participants from around the nation joined the Santa Fe event.

Los Alamos National Laboratory and Los Alamos National Security, LLC were recognized for their commitment to education and economic development.

To familiarize yourself with the national organization, visit the University Economic Development Association website.