Drought in New Mexico

I just returned tonight from a weekend visit to New Mexico, a state rich in history and desert beauty. I adore the Indian motifs everywhere and the startling bronze statue of an Indian warrior leaping out to greet visitors, an eagle soaring from off his hand. The tranquil beauty belies the trouble facing this western state.

I was invited to speak at the Annual meeting of Sangre de Oro (Gold Blood), the hemophilia foundation that serves New Mexicans with bleeding disorders. I was very honored to attend, and yet so saddened to hear of the struggles facing the members.

The Ted R. Montoya Hemophilia Program and Treatment center, established in 1980 by the New Mexico State legislature to identify and care for New Mexico residents with bleeding disorders, is facing severe budget cuts. Add to that a lack of staff as their long-time hematologist recently left. This is also a huge state, and many families live great distances. So the challenges they face are huge, particularly in this era of healthcare reform, in which we don’t know how this will all play out.

I must say the families who attended were delightful–especially the young boys who eagerly tried to answer my questions to the audience: How many people are there with hemophilia in the US? “1 million!” exclaimed one young teen. “100,000!” said another. (Correct answer: 17,000).

What impressed me most was the dedication of the staff, including executive director Loretta Cordova and president Johanna Chappelle (who I have known forever!). Great ladies, who with their team, are dedicated to advocacy to get funding and taking care of their members until things settle again. My deepest admiration to them all!


Good Book I Just Read
Doing Good Better: How to Be an Effective Board Member of a Nonprofit Organization
Edgar Stoesz and Chester Raber

This 1997 book has not lost any of its timely information on how to run a nonprofit effectively. It covers in a no-nonsense way how boards should form, act and what to expect as your nonprofit grows. The special emphasis on conflict resolution (conflict is good and necessary for growth) is excellent. There are also lots of templates for executive director/CEO performance reviews, and checklists for filing paperwork and board self-assessment. A quick read and very valuable! Three stars.

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