Courageous Innovators

It takes courage to innovate. The Santa Fe Community Foundation knows that and wants to honor those who are doing it.

Brian Byrnes, president and CEO of the foundation, said it has been asking, “What’s the narrative the community might benefit from hearing so that others might find courage to innovate?”

This year, the answer is Breakthrough Santa Fe, the winner of the 2013 Piñon Award for Courageous Innovation.

Breakthrough Santa Fe is a tuition-free program for motivated but undersupported middle school students who come from single-parent households where the primary language is other than English. Talented high school and college students teach these middle-schoolers the academic, organizational and social skills they need to succeed.

Every year, the foundation recognizes local nonprofits and philanthropists for exceptional work in Northern New Mexico. This year’s awardees were chosen from 36 nominations. Each of the winners receives a crystal plaque and a $1,000 grant.

The foundation used to honor organizations working in its own fields of interest — art, education, health, human services and sustainability. But several years ago, it decided to highlight qualities of successful nonprofits instead. Hence the Courageous Innovation Award, as well as the Quiet Inspiration Award (Pecos Valley Medical Center), the Visionary Award (New Energy Economy) and the Tried and True Award (Aspen Santa Fe Ballet). The nonprofits will be honored at a ceremony Tuesday at the Lensic Performing Arts Center.


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