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Community Foundation renovating historic building

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The Community Foundation of Southern New Mexico (CFSNM) has been raising money to help others for more than 30 years. It is now asking for the community’s continued support as the foundation nears its $1.6 million goal to purchase, renovate and maintain a new home.

“This community has been amazing,” said Terra V. Winter, president and chief executive officer of the foundation. Winter noted CFSNM has received contributions of $5 to $100,000 during the capital campaign and welcomes additional donations of any amount. CFSNM was within $135,000 of its $1.6 million goal as of Jan. 18, Winter said. The campaign continues through the end of February.

CFSNM has purchased the Cutter Gallery – the Hadley-Ludwick House – at the corner of El Paseo Road and University Avenue, which is just south of the foundation’s current location and more than three times its square footage.

The building, which housed the jewelry store and gallery of Glenn and Sally Cutter for many years, is currently being renovated by Noble Builders, Inc. of Las Cruces, owned by Johnny Talley. All of the project’s subcontractors are also local, Winter said.

“We’re so excited to be in here,” she said, noting that the move is not only a step up for CFSNM, it also is helping preserve an important piece of Las Cruces history, the Hadley House, which is 114 years old.

Winter said CFSNM will preserve many of the property’s existing indoor and outdoor features, including the chandeliers added by the Cutters, although CFSNM staff will replace their 180 standard light bulbs with LEDs.

Following up on a suggestion made by Casa de Peregrinos emergency food bank Executive Director Lorenzo Alba, Winter said there are plans to partner with the NMSU Art Department to create ceiling art as part of the renovation. The south-facing patio will include an agriculture-themed mural being created by Las Cruces Public Schools art teacher Frances Gomez.

CFSNM will share the space with Mesilla Valley CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates), with CASA and its six employees in the front (the original house) and CFSNM with its three full-time employees, interns and volunteers in the back.

Winter said the plan is to make the property “a community space,” with two meeting spaces available inside and the patio and another large outdoor space available.

When renovation is complete, it will include a catering kitchen, and CFSNM will use the significant wall space to highlight the work of local artists.

Winter said the renovation will include a donor wall recognizing all those who helped fund the project.

“Every donor will be recognized,” she said, and indoor and outdoor features will be named in honor of donors and others.

Winter said CFSNM and Mesilla Valley CASA should both be moved into their new home by early February, and a grand opening is being planned for April.

To donate, visit www.communityfoundationofsouthernnewmexico.org/building-campaign.

Contact CFSNM at 575-521-4794.

A bit of history

The Hadley-Ludwick House was built in 1907 for Hiram Hadley, who founded Las Cruces College (now New Mexico State University) in 1888 and served as its first president. The house, with its Colonial Revival architectural style, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) in 1991. “Constructed of yellow brick with a side-gable roof (the house) has a finished attic and basement,” according to its NRHP registration form.

The house “has further historic significance for its connection with Russell Ludwick (he bought it in 1936), who was a leader in New Mexico agriculture and for many years closely associated with the agricultural orientation of NMSU,” according to the registration form.

Ludwick sold the house in 1974 to Donald Dwyer, who owned the nearby Greenhouse nursery. The house was later used as an NMSU fraternity, first by Sigma Nu and then Lambda Chi Alpha, according to the NPHP form. The Cutters bought the property in the 1990s.

Foundation impact

CFSNM manages more than 300 endowments, including 46 nonprofits and more than 35 scholarships. As a center for charitable giving, the foundation supports the arts, literacy and health, feeds the hungry and supports many other causes in the 10 counties it serves: Catron, Chaves, Doña Ana, Grant, Hidalgo, Lincoln, Luna, Otero, Sierra and Socorro.

In 2020, CFSNM awarded more than $350,000 in grant funds; more than $670,000 was awarded in Covid-19 response grants, including support for 38 nonprofits and 18 restaurants, with almost 3,000 individuals supported and more than 2,000 meals served; more than $215,000 in scholarships were awarded to 295 students; 55 nonprofits were supported with grant funds; 23 new funds were opened. CFSNM’s total assets were almost $40.5 million.