Donor Story

Innovate, ABQ!

Credit Union’s Gift to UNM Boosts Economic Collaboration Effort

By Wendy Antonio and Todd Staats

Posted February 15, 2015

CreditUnionImagine a place where you can live, work and play; where smart, creative people from diverse backgrounds bump into each other in the course of their day, and serendipitous collisions of ideas and actions are commonplace.

That’s the idea behind Innovate ABQ, an economic collaboration project spearheaded by UNM to create a high-density innovation center and economic development district in downtown Albuquerque.

The city and other government entities are now on board, but it was New Mexico Educators Federal Credit Union (NMEFCU) that stepped up as the first founding partner of Innovate ABQ with its $3 million gift in support of the project.

NMEFCU is a longtime supporter of UNM. Its giving is consistent and widespread. In fact, the member-owned financial cooperative has given almost $5 million in gifts to dozens of University programs since 1985, including the Presidential Scholarship Program, UNM Hospital and Children’s Hospital, Athletics, Colleges of Education and Nursing, Schools of Medicine and Law, Taos and Valencia campus programs and Popejoy Hall.

“New Mexico Educators Federal Credit Union is proud to be a founding partner of Innovate ABQ,” said NMEFCU President and CEO Terry Laudick. “This investment was made to improve the educational and economic opportunities for New Mexicans. A stronger, more viable community has a positive impact both for our members and everyone in the community.”

“We can only go so far from an education and government perspective. Having a private partner is critical to making this venture work,” UNM President Robert G. Frank said. “New Mexico Educators Federal Credit Union is unrivaled in its vision, community support and leadership.”

Innovate ABQ will promote opportunities for jobs by fostering entrepreneurship and innovation. Albuquerque already has key elements required for sustainable job creation: UNM, a nationally competitive research university with an associated teaching and research hospital; high research national laboratories; leadership from the city’s mayor, and a committed business community. This initiative combines these elements to create an economic ecosystem to nurture creativity and encourage job growth.

“Innovate ABQ connects our local research community directly to private and government resources in a small, efficient environment,” said Laudick. “Based on early results from similar projects in other states, this collaborative approach is incredibly effective.”

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