Serving the residents of northern Rio Arriba County since 1997, Luciente is a nonprofit organization fueled by the efforts of its board members, volunteers and donations from supporters, United Way and grants. We work hand-in-hand with people in our region to create opportunities and direct resources to strengthen our community.
At Luciente, we care. Our mission is to support the children in our communities by working to eradicate hunger; reduce the social determinants that negatively impact a child’s ability to connect, learn and thrive; and support hunger, educational and social programs that enable progress for all.
We envision is a future where healthy kids are the fabric of strong communities in northern New Mexico. In January of 2021, Luciente was Awarded a Certificate of Recognition from Governor Michelle Luhan Grisham. The state recognized Luciente for our accomplishments and contributions as part of our COVID-19 relief efforts in northern New Mexico.
“One rain does not make a crop.”
How It Started
Luciente began in 1995 with a weaving, a wonderful symbol of how we are all connected to make a beautiful and functional whole. Rose, a local weaver and artist, had a piece “disappear” from a Truchas gallery where it hung for sale. Denying the work was ever in his gallery, the owner refused to compensate Rose for her work. Several women from the Medanales/Abiquiu neighborhood gathered to help Rose and began meeting regularly to consider how they could address community needs. With each meeting the numbers increased, and they began envisioning community-owned services like a library, a local cooperative gallery, a farmer's market, a thrift store and a recycling center.
Rose was never compensated by the gallery owner for her lost weaving, however, her situation and the challenges other women faced inspired our multi-faceted, community development non-profit called Luciente.
In early 1996, the women began planning their first project: The Abiquiu Public Library. Over the next three years, The Abiquiu Public Library took shape thanks to unlikely partnerships, hundreds of hours of volunteer time, the talents of dozens of local artisans and the generous contributions of many, including with Alice and Seledon Garcia. The Garcias donated an old family abode to a church, which in turn, leased it to Luciente.
Through volunteers, we renovated the adobe and then filled it with books, computers and a collection of local art and artifacts. Helen Hunt, daughter of Texas oil tycoon H.L. Hunt, provided substantial financial support for the library.
Luciente, Inc. received its non-profit status in 1997, and the Abiquiu Public Library celebrated its opening in June 1999. The library has now evolved into the Pueblo de Abiquiu Library & Cultural Center. After the library was securely established, Luciente's role in the community evolved from project developer into project sponsor, fundraiser and fiscal agent of other community-based efforts.
The Work Continues
The local outpost of The Boys and Girls Club and The Northern Youth Project were among the first organizations Luciente sponsored. Other sponsorships included the Children’s Art Fund, the Rocky Mountain Youth Corps, Abiquiu Computers, Abiquiu and El Rito studio tours, Abiquiu Chamber Music Festival, and Rio Arriba Concerned Citizens, which is still sponsored by Luciente today.
In the mid-2000's, Luciente ran a store within Bodes that sold art from local artists. During that timeframe, fundraisers included Harvest Dinners and Farm Tours.
In 2018, Luciente partnered with Prosperity Works, a non-profit based in Albuquerque, to start up the Prosperity Kids Abiquiu program, which establishes Child Savings Accounts for kids enrolled in Head Start in Abiquiu. During 2020, Luciente responded to the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting loss of jobs and food security, by providing weekly groceries to 45 families, and participating in other bulk food distributions to families in need. At the end of 2020, to address the persistent problem of childhood hunger in the Rio Chama Valley region, Luciente set up, funded and began operating in-school Grab-n-Go pantries at the Coronado School complex in Gallina, and at Abiquiu Elementary School.
Our Current Challenge
The USDA estimated in 2017, that 1 in 4 New Mexico children live in food insecure homes, meaning the family is without the adequate food access to live healthy and active lives. Although food insecurity is harmful at any age, it can be particularly devastating to children. It impacts a child’s academic development and affects long-term physical and mental health, both of which negatively impact the community at large. Having secured daily meals is the foundation of any prosperous community. Luciente currently works with the New Mexico Governor's office, regarding their commitment to fight systemic childhood hunger across New Mexico.