Mike Kivitz retired in April 2021 after a long career at Adelante. As a CEO he was known for supporting new ideas and innovation. Mike also believed that developing leaders from within was a key aspect of an enduring nonprofit. So, it was only natural that Adelante set up the Mike Kivitz Legacy Innovation Fund to honor his work. In the months since, a committee has developed grant criteria and application documents. Now, Adelante is ready to take in our first applications for these Innovation Grants. We are looking forward to seeing new ideas arise. Not to mention, helping bring them to reality.

lightbulb signifying ideas that can be brought to life through Kivitz Innovation Grants

A History of Developing Leaders

Mike Kivitz has a long history of developing leaders at Adelante. He also had an impact on leaders throughout New Mexico. This is especially true in the nonprofit community. Here’s what local leaders have to say about Mike.

“I had the opportunity to work with Mike for a short time. During that time, I found Mike very approachable with a great sense of humor. I much appreciated his honesty, compassion and support. Through the years our paths would cross every now and then and the humor and rapport always remained. Congratulations to Mike Kivitz and on a terrific career of support to individuals, families, and the community! – Steve Ross, Executive Director, Supportive Housing Coalition of New Mexico

“When I entered the nonprofit sector as a funder, 16 years ago, one of the first nonprofit leaders I met and got acquainted with was Mike Kivitz. Over the years, I have learned so much about effective leadership in the nonprofit sector by watching what Mike was doing. I have also enjoyed becoming a personal friend. Mike, congratulations on your retirement! Thank you for the difference Adelante, under your stellar leadership, has made in our community and the lives that have been touched and often transformed, by your work.” – Randy Royster, President & CEO, Albuquerque Community Foundation

“I’ve known Mike Kivitz for 17-18 years. Mike has tremendous knowledge of nonprofits. He has tremendous knowledge along with a tremendous passion for helping the community. Mike is a doer and believes in the cause of building a better community.” – Ernie C’deBaca, President/CEO, Albuquerque Hispano Chamber of Commerce

“Mike always saw the big picture, and he wasn’t afraid to take risks. He also recognized that it takes collaboration and multiple perspectives to really get a big project going. He was excellent at being a convener, and he taught me the value of having difficult conversations.” – Annam Manthiram, CEO, HopeWorks

Mike had influence on developing leaders across the nonprofit community in our state. Adelante is thrilled to continue this tradition through the Kivitz Innovation Grants.

Developing Leaders through Projects

At times, people seem to have potential, but haven’t had a chance to lead. Giving them the chance to lead a project is a great way to help them learn to manage. First, it provides an opportunity to direct the work of other people. Second, it teaches how to accomplishing something by working with and through others. Even simple projects can teach new leaders to give direction more clearly, how to communicate priorities, to develop a timeline, and more.

The Kivitz Innovation Grants application also requires a simple budget. Helping people to think through financial aspects of a project such as supplies and labor costs. Of course, those are addition skills leaders need.

Getting to Lead a Project You Care About

Clients and staff alike care about what they do each day as part of Adelante. In addition, many people have interests that go well beyond this nonprofit. They volunteer for other nonprofits and service clubs. They have their own skills and passions, too.

Adelante believes in following that energy. Helping people share what they are interested in and truly care about. That is a key concept behind these grants. People are more likely to take action if it is an activity or cause they care about. These new grants, made possible by the new Mike Kivitz Legacy Innovation Fund, will help people take their ideas and turn them into projects that benefit Adelante or the community.

Are you a staff member or client of Adelante who has been connected to our organization for more than a year? Please consider applying. Check with your supervisor for more information.

If you support this type of leadership development, please consider a donation to the Kivitz Legacy Innovation Fund.

Lightbulb on left followed by a doodle line and ending with a green checkmark on the right. Signifying moving from an idea to a completed project.