Meet our members! AFN’s greatest asset is our members—a diverse network of national, regional, and community-based foundations, financial institutions, and grantmakers—investing in advancing equitable wealth building and economic mobility. Check back each month and meet your peers!
1: What’s your main interest/focus on asset building in 2021?
The Laguna Community Foundation’s strategic direction is aligned with the Pueblo of Laguna’s core cultural values, to support the community in culturally-responsive ways of building long-term generational wealth. We do this through community-based research, understanding the education-to-employment pathways in Pueblo, and by presenting our recommendations to Pueblo Leadership. We look forward to contributing to the development of a future hub for lifelong learning and skill-building for Kawaika (Laguna) people.
2: What’s the most “ah-ha” provoking new book or research that you’ve read in the past year?
During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic I read Toward What Justice?: Describing Diverse Dreams of Justice in Education, edited by Eve Tuck and K. Wayne Yang. This book is critical to my work as an Executive Director and my research as a doctoral candidate pursuing a degree in Educational Leadership because it addresses the many daily struggles that BIPOC folx experience.
3: What advice would you give to a colleague starting out in the asset building field?
We cannot just talk about diversity or fit within the realm of what’s trendy in philanthropy. We have to take action and measurable steps to get there. We must address the deep-rooted systemic racism, the gatekeeping of funding and knowledge, while also ensuring that we make permanent moves towards radical liberation by aligning philanthropic dollars to empower our communities beyond the insecurity narrative. We need to set up community for success in ways that are reflective of Indigenous core values.
4: What’s the first concert you ever attended?
Buju Banton at the Sunshine Theater in Albuquerque, New Mexico
About Joannie Romero, Executive Director, Laguna Community Foundation
The mission of the Laguna Community Foundation is to generate resources and charitable support for initiatives that strengthen Laguna Pueblo. We do this by aligning with the Pueblo’s annual priorities, understanding how we can provide culturally-responsive levels of support, and through local capacity-building.
As Executive Director of the Laguna Community Foundation, I am honored to have stepped into a role that is reflective of my own core values. I feel inherently responsible to uplift, empower, and inspire community through the work that we do. Whether it is through briefing funders about our work, highlighting our amazing Pueblo community, leading our food distributions, or delivering care packages to elders, I’m always ready to put in the work!