Founded in 1977 as a permanent endowment for El Paso and the surrounding borderland region, the El Paso Community Foundation provides grants and scholarships, manages charitable funds, and connects the community to information and resources. The Community Foundation has given back more than $249 million to a wide variety of organizations and projects in education, health, human services, arts, environment, and animals.
The Community Foundation’s many major initiatives include the Ford Foundation-funded Border WaterWorks project, which helped provide running water to homes in the colonias in the 1990s; the restoration of the historic Plaza Theatre in 2006; the creation of the Plaza Classic Film Festival in 2008; the opening of the Roderick Artspace Lofts in 2015; the creation of the cross-border Run Internacional — The U.S.-Mexico 10K race in 2015; and current efforts to build the La Nube, the El Paso children’s museum and science center, in partnership with the City of El Paso, as well as to renovate Murchison Rogers Park on Scenic Drive and the Wyler Aerial Tramway.
In 2011, the Community Foundation significantly increased its commitment to education with the Classroom Fund, which awards grants to teachers for much-needed classroom materials. Its supporting organization, the Down Syndrome Coalition for El Paso, opened Every Little Blessing, the first preschool in the area serving children with Down syndrome and learning disabilities, in 2017. The Community Foundation partnered with the University of Texas at El Paso for the area’s first paid teacher internship program in 2019. In 2020, the Community Foundation, in a partnership with the City of El Paso, broke ground on La Nube, a new, $60 million children’s museum and science center in Downtown El Paso.
The Community Foundation responded to the mass shooting in 2019 with the creation of three funds for victims, and partnered on One Fund El Paso, which gave nearly $12 million in donations to the families of victims and survivors of the mass shooting. The COVID-19 pandemic led to various funds and projects, such as Get Shift Done El Paso, which created hundreds of paid, temporary jobs for laid off hospitality workers, and Feed the Frontline, which provided meals for medical workers and first responders.
To establish permanent charitable endowments.
To provide a vehicle for donors’ varied interests.
To promote local philanthropy.
To provide leadership and resources in addressing local challenges and opportunities.