Capacity Builders


Without Grants, None of This Would be Possible

You can find Capacity Builders, Inc. (CBI) along busy West Broadway in downtown Farmington, New Mexico. It’s easy to spot. Look for the building that says “Transforming Communities One Grant at a Time” across its front façade.

Grants are critical to CBI’s work within the “Four Corners” community (northwest New Mexico, southwest Colorado, southeast Utah, and northeast Arizona). With help from Resource Associates, not only does the nonprofit invest the grant funds it receives directly into its service community, but it also partners with Resource Associates to provide grant writing assistance to area nonprofits that can’t afford the service. In fact, it’s grants that make CBI’s work even possible.

Grants Fund a Worthy Mission

Founded in 1995 by Dr. Deborah Montgomery — also the founder of Resource Associates — CBI’s mission is to serve the resource development needs of tribal nonprofits and federally recognized tribes throughout the Four Corners. The nonprofit works to improve all facets of life for the Diné, or Navajo People, including fitness, nutrition, academic tutoring, life and career mentoring, economic development, nonprofit capacity building, and much more. “CBI doesn’t turn down any opportunity to serve and better the community,” states Rachel Nawrocki, former Executive Director for CBI. “Our mission is to help wherever and whenever we can. We see funding opportunities that align with our mission and local needs, secure those grants as we are able, and spend that money within the local community to improve wellness and the overall quality of life.”

To fulfill this mission, CBI needs grants, too. Farmington is a rural and high-poverty area; fundraising opportunities are scarce, but the need is high. Nawrocki says CBI’s work wouldn’t be possible without the grants that make up 98 percent of its funding. “We are dependent upon grants and Resource Associates’ help for our own existence.”

Grants Create Opportunity

In 2009, CBI approached Resource Associates for Grant writing assistance. “Not only did we not have the time to write grants, but we also didn’t have the time to learn how to do it effectively,” Nawrocki explains.

Since then, Resource Associates has helped CBI secure 56 grants, each and every one contributing to the deep impact the nonprofit has made within the Navajo Nation. Among its many contributions, CBI has helped:

  • Start or improve more than 1,300 businesses
  • Find more than 300 summer jobs for Navajo youth
  • Educate 6,500 Navajo youth about the risks of drug and alcohol abuse as well as teenage pregnancy prevention
  • Provide intensive academic tutoring services to 158 Navajo children
  • Recruit and train 350 youth service providers to be certified in Youth Mental Health First Aid

Funds for these and other accomplishments come from grants and varied sources, including the US Department of Agriculture, New Mexico Youth Conservation Corps, the US Department of Education, National Endowment for the Arts, the Nike Corporation, and more. But without the assistance of one key grant in particular, CBI would likely not even exist to do the important work it does today.

A Grant Defines a Nonprofit’s Purpose

CBI’s first large funding source came from the US Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Adolescent Health Teen Pregnancy Prevention Grant, awarded in 2010. “This was our flagship grant, and it’s the grant that set us up to do the work we’ve been doing for the last 10 years,” Nawrocki says.

Over a five-year period, the grant paid nearly $5,000,000 to CBI to provide a positive development and education program to Diné youth for the purpose of reducing teen pregnancy and increasing awareness around highly prevalent, high-risk activities that lead to unplanned pregnancy. According to US census and programmatic data, between the years of 2010 and 2015, there was a
75 percent reduction in the number of babies born to Navajo teen girls in CBI’s service area.

Nawrocki says “Because of Resource Associates’ help with writing this grant, CBI was able to successfully facilitate a positive youth development curriculum that reached and changed the lives of thousands of high-needs Navajo students.” That reach included five school districts, 15 schools and youth community centers, and 3,250 Navajo youth.

The grant also opened doors for CBI to receive more resources to educate youth about teen pregnancy and prevention. “This grant made us the authority on teen pregnancy prevention in our community,” reflects Nawrocki. “That recognition has opened up numerous funding streams and has helped to create a number of local partnerships.”

As a result of these additional grants:

  • 200 Navajo youth participated in a 9-month family planning program in New Mexico
  • 677 Navajo youth participated in a similar 9-month program in Arizona
  • 40 homeless youth who are pregnant or parenting will receive access to transitional housing

CBI is especially excited about the potential outcomes of a program funded by its most recently awarded grant, the National Campaign to Prevent Unplanned Pregnancy Innovation Challenge.
This grant has enabled CBI to design a highly specific, highly targeted curriculum exclusively for Navajo students.

The curriculum is culturally competent and is designed to leverage the unique Navajo cultural “intelligences.” Such a curriculum does not currently exist. Nawrocki explains: “There are eight kinds of intelligences. One is introspective, and Navajo students — by culture — are just better at analyzing themselves and their place in the world. Most other programs are designed for more urban students, and therefore, rely solely on the verbal intelligences which are highly cultivated in city-scapes. We’re innovating a curriculum that is introspective and imbued with stories about these students’ ancestors, culture and more.” The development and implementation of this innovative curriculum is just one of many CBI initiatives that target teenage pregnancy, STD, and HIV reduction. “Once again, the grants that Resource Associates is able to write and get awarded are vital to funding these important programs as well as the fundamental operations of CBI,” states Nawrocki.

Grants Ensure a Lasting Legacy and Impact

Nawrocki credits much (if not all) of CBI’s work to grants, and she appreciates the role Resource Associates plays in helping secure them. “I find Resource Associates to be so easy to work with,” she says. “I give a quick synopsis to them of what we can do with a potential grant, and they return to me a 75-page proposal.”

Those 75-page (plus) proposals have built CBI into the nonprofit it is today, and CBI will continue to rely on those grants for its future operations. “Through grants, we’ve strengthened our organization, built our staff and built our nonprofit operational competencies,” Nawrocki says. “Every year, we set aside a healthy grant writing budget; and we make sure to expend that money on writing those grants that most appropriately fit our vision and community needs. That’s how we continue to grow our organization and its impact on the lives of high-needs Four Corners’ citizens.”

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