Among the El Paso Community Foundation’s leadership roles is that of convener, which serves to improve the community through education, sharing resources, and promoting collaboration. We believe individuals from all walks of life should be included in learning about and supporting our community.
This is a Community Foundation project started as a forum to convene and educate the community about food systems and sustainability. Previous forum topics have included the gardening cycle of life and the case for native plants. The quarterly Cultivate forum is free and open to the public.
The roundtables are convened address issues facing animal, cultural and LGBTQ+ organizations in the region. The Community Foundation convenes like-minded groups for quarterly summits to provide a forum for the exchange of ideas, opportunities to develop partnerships, and brainstorm solutions to challenges faced within each respective community. The goal is to utilize the collective strengths of the participating organizations to exact meaningful outcomes for the El Paso community.
The El Paso Animal Collaborative formed in 2018 and is comprised of 22 organizations including the Second Chance Wildlife Rescue, El Paso Animal Services, and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. The Collaborative has spearheaded free pet vaccination clinics, developed the Animal 915 handout to provide resources for all things animal related, and met with U.S. Rep. Veronica Escobar to discuss state laws and ways to improve the animal community. The Collaborative is working on a pilot project to map disease and vaccination rates in the region.
The El Paso Cultural Roundtable formed in 2018 to foster cooperation and partnerships among participating organizations, promote the arts in the community, and increase the visibility of arts-related programs in the community. Members include two dozen of the City’s major museums, the historic Magoffin Home, music, arts, and other organizations. Among its initiatives are the creation of an inter-collaborative events calendar to help with scheduling, and an Educator Night in 2019, attended by more than 100 teachers and educators, to illustrate how cultural resources can be used in the classroom and through field trips to member institutions, such as the El Paso Zoo and museums.
The LGBTQ+ Roundtable formed in 2019 with 21 members including the Border AIDS Partnership, ACLU of Texas, Alliance of Border Collaboratives, and groups dealing with youth, students, military veterans, and others. The Roundtable’s goals include increasing education about and visibility in the community, collaboration on initiatives, fighting bigotry, promoting holistic health and wellness, providing leadership to and representation of marginalized LGBTQ+ youth, and making resources more accessible.
The Community Foundation participates in regional, state, and national educational funder networks that exchange ideas and discuss best practices, lessons learned, and educational trends. The goal is to improve educational initiatives in our community.
In partnership with the Council on Regional Economic Expansion and Educational Development (CREEED) and the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), the Community Foundation provides leadership for a teacher pipeline task-force that supports teachers, from the selection of teaching as a career to preparation through the first year of teaching. The pipeline ensures that there is a quality teacher in every classroom in the region.
After the Wyler Aerial Tramway closed in 2018, the Community Foundation partnered with State Rep. Lina Ortega, State Sen. Jose Rodriguez, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the Atkins engineering firm to host public meetings on its future. The tramway once hosted more than 45,000 visitors a year. Built by El Paso broadcast pioneer and philanthropist Karl O. Wyler in 1959 for his KTSM TV and radio stations, it was open to the public from 1960 to 1986, closing due to insurance costs. Mr. Wyler willed the stations and the tramway to the El Paso Community Foundation in the hopes it would reopen. In 1999, the Community Foundation donated the tramway and 170 acres of adjacent property to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, which reopened it in 2001.
El Paso, Ciudad Juárez and Las Cruces are uniquely positioned to leverage a binational community of people, ideas, languages and innovation. The region boasts tech innovation, higher education, military might and a strong workforce. With a rich history, a vibrant community and a bright future, the intersection of possibilities is here.