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Mike Kivitz led Adelante for over 40 years. Equally important, he pushed the nonprofit to innovate its programs and services. He helped Adelante thrive. Mike saw the potential in staff at all levels of the organization. Furthermore, he saw the potential in Adelante’s clients — people with disabilities and seniors. He created a culture that empowered everyone at Adelante to be a “community resource”. This attitude affected the community, too. Tens of thousands of people were helped in a variety of ways. When Mike retired, Adelante decided to honor his work and vision. As a result, the Michael Kivitz Legacy Innovation Fund was created in summer 2021. The fund will help Adelante continue to innovate and adapt. Grants from the fund will also create opportunities for new leaders to emerge and grow. Finally, the funds will help Adelante find new ways to give back to and improve the community.  

Mike Kivitz, former CEO of Adelante, accepts a check from United Way early in his career.
Mike Kivitz, former CEO of Adelante, accepts a check from United Way early in his career.

Mike’s History of Innovation

Mike was hired on April 1, 1979. At that time, the agency served six clients. It had just one program. It was originally called “The Teaching Home.” Later, the name was changed to Adelante Development Center. The goal was to reflect the expansion in services. Adelante means ‘forward’ in Spanish. The updated name also allowed Adelante to highlight its focus on helping people with disabilities move forward in their lives. More importantly, to push past stereotypes.

Under Mike’s leadership, Adelante grew from supporting just six people to having a positive impact on as many as 80,000 people a year. Mike was known for innovation throughout the community. He worked hard to support and grow Adelante. Second, he worked to support the entire nonprofit community with program developments like GiveABQ. Third, Mike served on many local and national boards. He truly cared about our community.

On April 1, 2021, Mike Kivitz started the next chapter in his life. The same exact date on the calendar as his hiring. Mike thought it was a good bookend to his life’s work. The team at Adelante wished Mike well for his retirement. However, they wanted his legacy to live on at the organization.

Innovation Grants: Factors for Funding

The Innovation Grant funds will support projects that help Adelante, our staff, and clients. In addition, grants can help other nonprofits. This is part of Adelante’s effort to be a resource to the community. After all, we all benefit if the whole community moves forward. Ideas will be welcomed from all levels of staff and clients. Each person will have the chance to take their project from idea to reality. And learn a long the way, while helping others.

Adelante is now accepting donations for the Legacy Innovation Fund. To kick start that effort, Adelante is giving matching funds to support the effort. Donor gifts will be matched by Adelante up to $10,000. Your gift today of $20 could become $40 toward the fund. Your donation of $250 will become $500 for innovative projects.

Adelante will be accepting and weighing grant applications starting in January of 2022. Multiple departments will be involved and mentors may be assigned to staff and clients who have ideas but need help building detailed plans and budgets.

Factors that will play a role in the granting process:

  • Clear, measurable goals
  • Adding new features or improving Adelante, or addressing a community need in a new way
  • Outcomes tied to Adelante staff, clients, or our mission
  • Achievable
  • Numbers of people that will be helped
  • How the project will benefit Adelante staff or clients (or a nonprofit partner)
  • Chances for clients or staff learn new skills
legacy innovation grant factors
Mike Kivitz with board members, donors, and a construction at a ground breaking in Belen in the 1990s.
Mike Kivitz with board members, donors, and a construction at a ground breaking in Belen in the 1990s.

Get Involved to Support Adelante’s Innovation

Do you value Adelante’s mission? Looking for a new way to improve the community? Would you like to help new leaders emerge in local nonprofits? If so, please consider a donation toward the Legacy Innovation Fund. Have questions about how you can donate? Please contact Ernest Rodriguez-Naaz at ERNaaz@GoAdelante.org.

Give today to support the Legacy Innovation Fund!