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2017 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Think New Mexico

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Human Services

Mission: Think New Mexico is a results-oriented think tank whose mission is to improve the quality of life for all New Mexicans, especially those who lack a strong voice in the political process. We fulfill this mission by educating the public, the media, and policymakers about some of the most serious problems facing New Mexico and by developing and advocating for effective, comprehensive, sustainable solutions to those problems. Our approach is to perform and publish sound, nonpartisan, independent research. Unlike many think tanks, Think New Mexico does not subscribe to any particular ideology. Instead, because New Mexico is at or near the bottom of so many national rankings, our focus is on promoting workable solutions. Consistent with our nonpartisan approach, Think New Mexico's board is composed of Democrats, Independents, and Republicans. They are statesmen and stateswomen, who have no agenda other than to see New Mexico succeed. They are also the brain trust of this think tank. Think New Mexico began its operations on January 1, 1999. It is a tax-exempt organization under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. In order to maintain its independence, Think New Mexico does not accept government funding. However, contributions from individuals, businesses, and foundations are welcomed, encouraged and tax-deductible.

Results: Think New Mexico is best known for its successful initiatives making high-quality full-day kindergarten accessible to every child in New Mexico; repealing the state’s regressive tax on food and successfully defeating efforts to reimpose it; establishing a Strategic Water Reserve to protect and restore New Mexico’s rivers; expanding access to Individual Development Accounts to help alleviate New Mexico’s persistent poverty; redirecting millions of dollars a year out of the state lottery’s excessive operating costs and into full-tuition college scholarships; reforming title insurance to lower closing costs for homebuyers and homeowners who refinance their mortgages; streamlining and professionalizing the state’s troubled Public Regulation Commission; modernizing the state’s regulation of taxis, shuttles, and moving companies to promote job creation, business formation, and lower prices for consumers; and creating a one-stop online portal for all business fees and filings.

Target demographics: Improve the quality of life for all New Mexicans

Direct beneficiaries per year: 26,000 children now have access to full-day kindergarten, the average family of four has an additional $250 a year thanks to the food tax repeal, and New Mexico's high school graduates have an additional $9 million a year in college scholarships through our lottery reform law

Geographic areas served: New Mexico

Programs: Think New Mexico has successfully developed and championed the enactment of over a dozen landmark laws and constitutional amendments, including laws repealing the state’s regressive food tax, making full-day kindergarten accessible to every child in New Mexico, and redirecting millions of dollars a year out of the state lottery’s excessive operating costs and into full-tuition college scholarships.

Community Stories

5 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters


Rating: 5

Excellent organization that advocates and is constantly representing the disadvantaged. Thank you for your hard work and please keep up the good fight!


Rating: 5

A few years ago my frustration with local volunteer efforts (specifically, safety culture in rural volunteer fire departments, and enforcement practices at the state level) impelled me to learn more about the underlying politics of the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission (PRC)...which led me to Think New Mexico's efforts at PRC reform.

Many may quip "you can't legislate common sense", but Think New Mexico's varied and diverse efforts just may be an exception to that old saying. Thank you!


Rating: 5

Think New Mexico selects issues that benefit NM citizens politically and economically and then forges the bipartisan coalition to enact enabling legislation. New Mexicans are much better off because Think New Mexico 's staff and board are so attuned to what needs to happen to improve the quality of life in the State and is so effective.



Rating: 5

Think New Mexico is one of the most effective non-profit organizations I have encountered that is committed to improving the way that state government serves all its people. The think tank’s success in achieving the concrete legislative results it seeks is thanks to its particularly thorough, principled, big-picture, non-ideological approach to issues of urgent public interest. A diverse, cross-partisan board and dynamic organizational structure—employing a small, talented staff and rotating cast of accomplished interns and volunteers—ensure the consistently high quality of the policy proposals Think New Mexico produces. And, importantly, the organization ensures that these well-researched proposals are not resigned to the desk-drawer graveyards of the political class, but earn their due attention, regularly contributing key perspectives toward productive solutions in such complex areas as education, poverty, natural resources, and bureaucratic corruption and reform. I am honored to have contributed modestly to help keep this organization doing its important work, and I raise a grateful voice on behalf of fellow New Mexicans for the ways it continues to positively affect our lives.


Rating: 5

As a New Mexican living in New York City, I have found in Think New Mexico the best investment of my charitable dollars in terms of having a lasting impact on the residents and environment of my home state. Each time Think New Mexico takes on a new issue - lottery reform, water rights, school reform - I marvel at their ability to garner support across the political spectrum. I appreciate Think New Mexico's focus as an organization, sticking to the issues they have committed to, even when it means forgoing new, perhaps sexier, campaigns. The fact that they have managed so many policy successes with a shoe-string staff further attests to the efficiency of their organizational model.