The W.K. Kellogg Foundation chose a leader to oversee its charitable activities in New Mexico.
The Battle Creek-based foundation said last week that it appointed Chamiza Pacheco de Alas as the new director of New Mexico programs. She will begin her new role Feb. 1.
Pacheco de Alas will be responsible for providing leadership and oversight of the foundation’s longstanding investments in New Mexico to further create conditions that ensure children and families have opportunities to thrive in equitable communities.
She will be based in WKKF’s Albuquerque office (when COVID-19 health and safety restrictions are lifted) and will lead the foundation’s statewide grantmaking priorities in collaboration and partnership with the New Mexico team, grantees, communities and other stakeholders throughout the region.
“Empowering children and families to improve their lives is at the heart of my lived experience and of New Mexico’s future,” Pacheco de Alas said. “As the director of New Mexico programs for the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, I am excited to use my experience and education to carry forward my unwavering commitment to support communities in our state. The foundation’s commitment to serve children and our state is generational, and so is mine, and I look forward to what our local and national teams can accomplish together.”
La June Montgomery Tabron, WKKF president and CEO, said Pacheco de Alas “brings extensive leadership and experience in developing partnerships to this role.”
“As we continue to grow our longstanding collaboration with grantees and partner organizations in New Mexico, her deep knowledge and community perspective will accelerate our collective efforts toward thriving children, working families and equitable communities in the state,” Montgomery Tabron said.
Pacheco de Alas has held various positions at the University of New Mexico. Most recently, she was the chief of staff of the executive vice president at the UNM Health Sciences Center in Albuquerque. In this role, she built and oversaw a diverse executive team. She was instrumental in creating a systemwide program of excellence in addressing child maltreatment, fostering partnerships to provide health care services to people experiencing homelessness, overseeing a behavioral health partnership to support student-athletes of vulnerable populations and managing the emergency health care response for recently released refugees.
Pacheco de Alas also led state and federal policy strategies to advance measures that empower immigrant, tribal and other vulnerable communities in New Mexico. These efforts resulted in the successful passage of several health-related bills and about $45 million in new appropriations in 2019 and $15 million in 2020.
Before that role, she was the director of community outreach at the UNM Health Sciences Center office of the chancellor, where her dedicated racial equity principles within the health science community led to the successful engagement with medical experts and partners in tribal, immigrant and refugee communities throughout the state. Pacheco de Alas also served as the associate university counsel at UNM Health Sciences Center, where she was primary counsel to the University of New Mexico Hospital, a 400-bed facility that includes the state’s only Level I Trauma Center and Children’s Hospital and adult and children’s psychiatric hospitals.
She also served as past guardian ad litem and youth attorney at Advocacy Inc.; development, outreach and inclusion officer at United Way of Central New Mexico; and staff attorney for New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty.
Pacheco de Alas has more than 17 years of board service experience. Currently, she is involved in several local and national organizations, including serving as a Trustee of the National Hispanic Cultural Center Foundation and the Albuquerque Academy and as a member of United Way of Central New Mexico’s Women in Philanthropy and Hispano Philanthropic societies; the State Bar of New Mexico’s children, health and law sections; and UNM’s United Way Campaign Cabinet.
Pacheco de Alas holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and economics/philosophy from the University of New Mexico and a Juris Doctor from Yale Law School. She is licensed to practice law in New Mexico and is conversant in Spanish.