The 2020 UNM Gives United Way campaign begins Thursday, Oct. 1, and this year, maybe more than ever, critical needs across a variety of areas are being highlighted due to a worldwide pandemic.

2nd annual Salsa Showdown

UNM’s campaign will once again have a spicy twist to it as the 2nd annual Salsa Showdown is set to take place Oct. 6 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in SUB Ballroom C or while supplies last.

Entrants have submitted their favorite homemade salsa recipes. Chartwells Catering will prepare all the salsa the day of the event. Attendees will pick up a grab-and-go bag of chips and salsa, taste at the location of their choosing, and vote for their favorite online at

This year’s UNM Gives United Way campaign runs through Dec. 1, which is #GivingTuesday, a global movement of generosity movement designed to unleash the power of people and organizations to transform their communities and the world.

This year’s campaign couldn’t come at a better time as community needs soar as many families continue to suffer during the pandemic. Jobs have been lost, people are having trouble making ends meet, putting food on the table, and keeping a roof over their family’s head all due in part to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Among our defining characteristics as Lobos are our generosity of spirit and our sense of civic responsibility,” said UNM President Garnett S. Stokes. “Each year, the UNM Gives campaign provides faculty and staff with the opportunity to give back to our community through a contribution to the United Way of Central New Mexico. This year in particular, as our community and country struggle with the challenges of COVID-19, your support and compassion have never been more critical. With your help, our pack can impact positive change—and change lives across our state.”

One of the direct ways the United Way of Central New Mexico (UWCNM) is trying to assist those in need is through its COVID Relief Fund. Donors can choose to donate to the UWCNM COVID Relief Fund which focuses on addressing hunger, homelessness or insecurity, and family stability. This fund provides ongoing donations to 14 non-profit agencies that can quickly and efficiently address the immediate ongoing basic needs of those New Mexico community members affected by COVID-19 and the economic impact of the pandemic. Thanks to the generosity of the Thornburg Foundation, gifts to this fund will be matched, up to $25,000.

A few of the organizations benefiting from the COVID Relief Fund include Albuquerque Healthcare for the Homeless, Domestic Violence Resource Center, New Mexico Veterans Integration Centers, Presbyterian Medical Services, and Roadrunner Food Bank.

The Community Impact Fund combines your gift with those of your coworkers to create a BIG impact! Feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, keeping children safe, and empowering the disabled and elderly are just a few examples of what giving to the Community Fund can accomplish.  Last year, over $2.1 million was granted to 52 nonprofit agencies in Bernalillo, Sandoval, Torrance, and Valencia counties.

Through a combination of collaborative change projects, public policy advocacy, community mobilization efforts, and grantmaking, UWCNM is also working with hundreds of community partners to focus and align a set of shared strategies designed to improve family stability and educational attainment in our community through its Community Impact Fund, which focuses on family stability and education including Mission: Families and Mission: Graduate, respectively.

These two initiatives represent a comprehensive approach to improving outcomes for children, youth, and families in central New Mexico. Mission: Families is geared towards delivering trauma-informed care training to practitioners virtually, while Mission: Graduate is providing virtual college and career exploration opportunities, virtual professional development opportunities for educators, and virtual attendance conferences.

Other COVID-relief funds include the Emergency Action Fund, a UWCNM, and Albuquerque Community Foundation led effort designed to deploy funds to support nonprofit organizations struggling with lost and non-recoverable revenue due to COVID-19, and the Feeding Families Fund, an effort that helps nonprofit agencies provide meals for families. Each meal is purchased from a local restaurant which also helps the business community stay strong.

“This year, we hope to generate excitement about the campaign and showcase our culinary talents while also following state health orders during the Grab & Go Salsa Showdown,” said UNM Gives Campaign co-chair Abra Altman. “Each year during the UNM Gives campaign, faculty, and staff raise money to help make a positive impact in New Mexico. This campaign is more important than ever, with the economic challenges caused by COVID-19. At UNM, where each of us defines all of us, if each of us can pledge even a small amount, we can really make a profound difference in our community.”

To learn more about the various ways your donations to UWCNM can help those affected by COVID-19 in NM visit UWCNM.

Donating is easy and there are many options available. Individual donors can choose to donate to any of the United Way programs or you can designate another organization you’re passionate about, too. It’s easy to donate online. If you are a UNM Employee (including UNM HSC), you can donate online by logging in to your myUNM account and clicking on the United Way logo to the left to get to the donation portal.

Individuals employed by UNM Hospitals (UNMH), UNM Medical Group (UNMMG), or UNM Sandoval Regional Medical Center (SRMC), should click on the UNM Health System Pledge Now button and log on to the system using your UNMH, UNMMG, or SRMC NetId credentials.

For easy online donating visit, step-by-step online pledge instructions. Individuals may also download a United Way of Central New Mexico pledge form and send the completed (original) form to send the to the University Controller's office MSC01 1300 or give to your United Way Coordinator.

For those wishing to give to the UNM Foundation, go to

The UNM Gives United Way campaign is coordinated across all UNM campuses and hospitals by a planning committee that has met for several months to develop and lead ways in which faculty, staff, and employees can come together to donate time and money to charitable organizations to give back to the community that has provided so much for the institution.

UNM has been a proud supporter of the United Way for over 26 years. Its participation in the United Way Campaign goes far beyond supporting the annual campaign. Throughout the year, many faculty, staff, and students volunteer with UWCNM, participate in events, and help through service and volunteering. As the challenges of COVID-19 continue, a small donation from every Lobo can potentially have an enormous cumulative positive impact on our state.

For more information, visit UNM Gives United Way campaign.