Villages ReLaunch

Villages RELAUNCH. Over the past months, we have learned so much and I strongly feel that Villages has a responsibility to our senior community, not just to Villages members. If we have resources to share that help others, beyond our members, don’t you feel the same?


We advertised a ReLaunch Party for Thursday, September 9th, but with the COVID cases going through the roof, the gathering is put on hold for now. We will refund any tickets purchased this next week.


Our in-person services are now available. This includes transportation and helping hands, so email or call us when you need help.


Recent grants from Los Alamos National Laboratory and Triad National Security, LLC, and Community Health Funder Alliance, which consists of Anchorum, Christus St. Vincent, and the Santa Fe Community Foundation give us the chance to extend our community outreach of our online exercise, mental health, and technical programs to senior centers in Northern New Mexico.


Last year, Villages of Santa Fe was recognized nationally by AARP for its innovative programs and Maria Francis, myself, and Judith Rhodes received the 2021 Innovation Award from AARP New Mexico. Support from AARP New Mexico allowed us the financial security to provide FREE exercise programs to everyone for over a year.


What do your dues pay for?

As with almost all Villages nationwide, our biggest expense is insurance. We make sure our volunteers are covered as well with volunteer insurance, volunteer-hired car insurance, above and beyond general liability, and director’s liability. If anyone wants to know what insurance issues local villages face, you can attend the state village meeting, September 14th. You’ll get an earful. Many villages can’t afford or even find insurance, therefore leaving their directors and volunteers at risk.


Our current dues are only $150 – reduced to the bare minimum to keep Villages alive during COVID. Dues return to $240 October 1ST. Even so, our dues are still one of the lowest in the country. Taos’ Village TENT dues are $350 individual and $450 for household and some dues at other villages are as high as $800 per household. One member thinks we are ‘nickel and diming’ members by charging for the September party (not sure where you can get dinner, beer and wine, and dessert for only $10), but dues only pay for about 65% of expenses. The rest comes from donations and grants.


Other expenses are internet service, website maintenance, newsletter publishing, tax preparation, compliance with state regulations, including filing with the Attorney General’s office, gross receipts tax filing, federal tax filing, printing for membership handbooks, etc. What is not in our expense line is office rental, cell phone costs, payroll, travel, conferences, entertainment (well, we did buy some beer at the Santa Fe Brewing Company when checking out the space for the fall relaunch).


If we have an expense for an event – making copies, renting a room, providing refreshments, all these are expenses that must be paid for in some way. Your dues are vital for the core business expense, but for us to host events, we might ask for you to contribute to the cost.


The online classes get the word out about Villages and allow us to reach so many new friends. With the generous support of AARP New Mexico, we were able to offer FREE classes to everyone for over a year, not just Villages members. There was no way to provide the level of programming without AARP. This support paid our instructors and Zoom costs. Not a penny of your dues went towards these classes, but many reaped the benefits. AARP New Mexico continues to support us, but not at the level as before, so again, we ask you to contribute to the cost for the great instruction by Maria, Judith, Sharon, and Ambrose, by purchasing a pass or membership to the classes. And oh, Michelle, Maria, and I spend significant time behind the scenes, setting up programs, studio lighting, and audio, paying the bills, handling tech calls, writing grants, planning events, hosting events, writing and sending newsletters, updating the website, talking with prospective and new members, coordinating volunteer tasks for members, maintaining the database, and it goes on.


I am thrilled to say that Villages survived and thrived during COVID-19. Please continue to support Villages – not only for your own peace of mind but for our collective commitment to our senior community.


Warmest regards,

Ann Church, co-founder, Villages of Santa Fe