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John Martinez, new president of the NHCC Foundation.
Photo courtesy of John Martinez.

NHCC Foundation has new president

John Martinez will be leading the Albuquerque-based organization devoted to preserving Hispanic culture.

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The National Hispanic Cultural Center Foundation has chosen its new president and CEO to be John Martinez. He will be leading the NHCC Foundation in its goals to raise funds for the National Hispanic Cultural Center (NHCC).

He replaces Roberta Ricci, who had led the foundation since July 2018. 

The NHCC is a state-run organization in New Mexico devoted to preserving Hispanic culture, art, and humanities. The NHCC Foundation is a non-profit fundraiser for the NHCC. 

Martinez was serving in his fourth year as a board director for the Foundation, as well as the Vice Chair when the President role became available. 

Concerned about the prospect of a lengthy search and how it would likely result in setting back the progress that had been done within the Foundation over the years, Martinez decided to take on the role. 

“Because I knew what was needed for our future I elected to leave my former employer and board position and move into the role with unanimous support from the full Board,” he wrote in an email to AL DIA News.

While fundraising is a new endeavor for Martinez, he has funded similar organizations in the past and will reverse engineer fundraising approaches that he found persuasive.

For his first year as president, Martinez noted two priority strategies. He said he will strengthen the ties between the NHCC and the Foundation, and also fill key positions within the Foundation to put them on the path of meeting their financial support commitments.

Prior to joining the Foundation, Martinez built a long career working in governmental roles, including serving under three governors and also as a Public Affairs Director for the New Mexico Office of the Attorney General. 

In his new role as President and CEO for the Foundation, he is seeking to promote the NHCC, garner support for its mission, and begin new outreach. 

“We need to expose our brand nationally to gain support beyond just New Mexico,” he said. 

To do this, he will be partnering with the NHCC Executive Director Dr. Margie Huerta. 

“My plans are to demonstrate how supporting our efforts will align with the funding organization's mission,” Martinez added. 

Opening in 2000, the NHCC and its Foundation work to preserve and share New Mexico’s Latin American cultural heritage. They host events such as film screenings, workshops, live music, and guided art tours.

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