by George Zamora
(Right: Are we having fun yet? Children and teachers from the New Mexico Tech Children’s Center look on as the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) makes a $10,000 donation to the newly established Children’s Center Endowment Fund. Jim Ulvestad, director of NRAO’s New Mexico operations (left of check) presents the check to Dr. Ricardo Maestas, Tech vice president of student and university relations (right of check). Above check is Tracy Cardenas, manager of the Tech Children’s Center.)
SOCORRO, N.M., Sept. 27, 2005 – A newly established endowment fund at New Mexico Tech is off to a great start after recently garnering two major contributions to kick off the fundraising campaign for the university’s on-campus child care facility.
The New Mexico Tech Children’s Center Endowment Fund received a $10,000 donation last week from the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO), which maintains its Array Operations Center (AOC) on the university campus.
In addition, an individual contribution of $1,000 also was made to the university’s newest endowment fund just prior to the NRAO donation.
However, even with $11,000 in the bank, there’s still a long way to go, since university administrators have set a goal of raising $250,000 for the New Mexico Tech Children’s Center Endowment Fund.
Plans call for interest generated from such an endowment corpus to be used to better ensure the ongoing operation and sustainability of the child care facility and its related early education programs.
“Despite having implemented a five percent increase in tuition fees earlier this year, the Tech Children’s Center is still projected to end the fiscal year with a deficit of about $50,000,” said Tracy Cardenas, manager of the Children’s Center and adjunct instructor of education at New Mexico Tech.
“As a practical solution to alleviating this recurring situation, the Tech Children’s Center Parent Advisory Board decided to establish an endowment fund to assist with expenses,” Cardenas explained, “mainly by supplementing salaries and benefits for teachers and staff at the Center.”
The Tech Children’s Center — the only full-time child care program available in Socorro — has four full-time staff members and six student teachers, who are currently charged with educating and caring for 25 pre-school children.
Of the 25 children currently enrolled at the New Mexico Tech Children’s Center, eight are children of Tech students, seven are children of Tech faculty and staff, three are children of NRAO employees, and seven are children from the local community whose parents are not employed at Tech.
“Two of our teachers have been working at the Children’s Center for more than ten years each, and we would like to keep them,” said Cardenas. “We hope that establishing this new endowment fund will work toward allowing us to do so.”
Once the New Mexico Tech Children’s Center Endowment Fund reaches its fundraising goal, Cardenas also has hopes that generated income will be used for staff training and travel expenses.
“There is an enormous amount of new knowledge and technology available for early childhood education and care, and allowing our teachers to learn about recent developments in their field complements their professional development,” Cardenas said. “In turn, they can then bring this new knowledge back to the classroom, ultimately benefiting the children and families as well.”
Informational brochures about the fundraising campaign for the New Mexico Tech Children’s Center Endowment Fund recently were mailed out to Tech alumni, soliciting their financial assistance, and are currently being mailed out to Tech faculty and staff, in hopes of building up the corpus of the endowment fund.
For more information about contributing to the Tech Children’s Center Endowment Fund, call the New Mexico Tech Advancement Office at 505.835.5525.