The Annual Letter from Founders, Lawrence and Suzanna

March 19, 2016 at 11:34 AM 1 comment

March 21, 2016

Dear Friends of Las Campanas Compadres,

It amazes us that LCC is now in its 9th year of operation. Much has been accomplished. More importantly, much remains to be done.

2015 In Review

We are proud of our achievements. Since inception in May 2007, LCC has underwritten over 8,000 ½-hour private tutorial riding and swimming lessons. Our student numbers continue to grow. We now have over 100 registered students on our roster and we continue to receive new applications on a regular basis. We currently underwrite 1,500 lessons per year.

Karen Evans, our riding instructor, continues to do a great job for us. It is amazing to watch the skill level our students have achieved and how they have grown in confidence. Luis Gonzales continues to be an invaluable member of our riding program. Our students love him and we all have a hard time imagining the program without Luis. David Caldwell, our swimming instructor, continues to expand his program and is always coming up with ways that we can improve on our offerings.

Our three horses, Sunny, Bolero and Ghost, soldier on for us. That being said, Bolero is probably coming to the end of his tenure. We are looking for a new horse and also a more permanent home for Bolero who has certainly earned the right to a quiet life in a field soaking up the sunshine and getting fat.

We are delighted that Jane Baxter has agreed to join our board. Jane has a medical background as well as a solid understanding of equine behavior. There is no doubt that she will have an immediate and positive impact on our operations and we thank her for stepping up to the plate.

We are immensely appreciative of all our board members who selflessly give their time and energy to our program. It takes a lot of time and energy to effectively run an organization of our size, and we certainly would not be able to accomplish anything like what we have done without a board that has a can do attitude.

We were once again proud to announce the winners of The Ron Walters Award for 2015.

The Ron Walters Award is presented each year to the Las Campanas Compadres volunteer who in the opinion of the founders, Lawrence and Suzanna Becerra, has demonstrated outstanding enthusiasm for the program. The recipient will have an unparalleled sense of ardor, determination, and compassion, character traits that Ron Walters lived by.

 It is always difficult to single out any one particular volunteer as all of our volunteers are incredibly helpful in so many ways. That being said, we are delighted to announce that last year there were several recipients, and the choices were easy ones to make.

Kate Schiliro is relatively new to our program but that has not stopped her from rapidly becoming one of our most valued and respected volunteers. Her commitment to the swimming program has been invaluable, and she has a kind and gentle way with our students who love her.

Gemma Sullivan has a cheery disposition. The students love her as she always brings compassion and a positive disposition to every lesson she undertakes.

All of last year’s recipients are the epitome of what the Ron Walters Award stands for and their recognition is richly deserved.

Our 7th Annual Mini Tri was a great success thanks to the hard work and dedication of our board, volunteers, The Club at Las Campanas staff, corporate sponsors, and individual donors. I am pleased to report that we raised $77,365.

We had approximately 185 tri participants with many of them repeats from previous years. We are told that we are fast becoming known as one of the premier triathlon events in New Mexico and we think this year can be a big break out year for us in terms of numbers of participants. We hope to attract 225 participants.

There were 17 special needs teams last year. Suzanna and I want to thank all team captains for pairing up with one of our students and giving them the chance to participate in the race. This is a big deal for our students and can only be accomplished if you have people less concerned about winning and more concerned about giving.

It is impossible to list the names of everyone who helped make this event the success that it was. That being said, it would be remiss of me to fail to mention some members of staff who put in a lot of hours to make our event possible. Special thanks, therefore, go to Kay Lee, who has a can do attitude and always went the extra mile for us; Pete O’Brien and Ruth Hamilton for making the pasta dinner event the success that it was; Todd Shaw, Mike Simpson, Jeff Cisneros and Ashley Quintana, who were tremendously helpful in organizing the logistics of the race; Tony Dawson who got behind the project early on in his tenure as The Club’s GM and has been a great supporter; and of course all of the dining and spa staff that always did their job with a smile and offered encouragement to all the participants.

Suzanna and I also want to especially thank all of last year’s volunteers. An event of this size is not possible unless a lot of people work together with a singular purpose in mind. They did a tremendous job and were the reason the event went off without a hitch. Many of them started the day at 5:30 AM and their energy and enthusiasm never flagged. We can only hope that they all step up to the plate again this year.

We are grateful to have so many corporate and individual sponsors. A special thanks, in no particular order, goes to The Lodge at Chama; FNB Santa Fe, LANB, Early & Early; Sotheby’s/Nancy Lehrer; Thornburg Investment Management; ACC; Constellation Home Electronics; Boniface & Associates, Corporate Travel Alliance, Roy’s Pest Control; The Club at Las Campanas, Sazon, The Compound, Four Seasons Resort, Albertsons, Amazon, Dos Rios, The Bells Magazine, Coronado Paint, Ellsworth Gallery, Siri Hollander, David DeVary, Jewel Mark, Meddleton Equine, and Eye Associates of New Mexico.

Last year was the first year where our newly established Helping Hands Fund handed out grants. A total of $3,606 out of the $5,000 made available was spent on items ranging from speech therapy lessons, i-pads used for educational purposes, and speech recognition software. This year there is $6,394 available and the committee, chaired by Suzanna Becerra, has just finished redesigning application forms and placing them with families. We expect that requests will exceed the amount of available funds, and therefore the committee will have some hard choices to make.

2016 In Focus

We do not anticipate that student growth will slow down during 2016. If anything we believe it will increase. Our challenge will be to accommodate this growth as we have capacity constraints both physically and financially. We will continue to accept new students and have instituted a rotation system in order to accommodate our increasing numbers.

Our volunteer pool is growing but we can always use more volunteers. As our program grows, so do our needs. Beyond volunteers for the actual riding and swimming programs, we can always use pro bono help with legal, accounting, and grant writing services.

We wanted to thank Devon Gilchrist who will no longer be looking after our website. Devon put in a lot of work to improve our website and we wish her well in her new endeavors. We are fortunate, though, to have Heidi Mitchell of Plum Studios pick up the baton. Heidi has already done some work on our website and the results are fantastic. We encourage people to visit There you can find updates on what’s going on, download volunteer and student application documents, visit a photo library, and even make a donation using PayPal.

LCC’s blog page and a Facebook page run by John and Darlene Romero are going strong. You can go to: to go to our blog page to check out what’s going on in our program and to add your own commentary. You can also check out our page on Facebook. You can also follow and tweet us on Twitter at “L_C_Compadres”.

Our Albertson program ended last year. While it wasn’t a huge amount of money, it certainly helped and their sponsorship will be missed.

Our Amazon program can be used by anyone in the USA. It is a simple process of logging on to Amazon Smile and choosing Las Campanas Compadres as the beneficial charity. If all of our friends, and their friends, use this simple yet effective method of turning their everyday shopping into an event that effortlessly raises money for our program, this could be an enormously successful program. But it starts with each of you signing up and then encouraging your friends to do so as well. In fact, one can choose multiple charities, so this is not just of benefit to our specific program but to the entire philanthropic movement being embraced by an increasing number of thoughtful and forward looking businesses. We sincerely hope and respectfully ask you to please sign up. It will take five minutes of your time but can have a huge impact on the lives of our students.


It is the policy of Las Campanas Compadres to be completely transparent regarding finances.

LCC entered 2015 with $148,727 in the bank. We ended the year with $151,576. We have been overwhelmed by people’s generosity and our sincere gratitude goes without saying.

While our cash balances may appear healthy, the continued growth of the program coupled with the challenging economic landscape necessitates the need for continued support. Our goal is to assure the perpetuity of the program. A healthy balance sheet is of utmost importance in allowing us to achieve our goals, and while the current snapshot of LCC’s finances shows a vibrant and healthy patient, continued support is required in order to assure continued good health and longevity. It costs us approximately $60 dollars per lesson, $35 of which is the cost of the instructor. In order to achieve our goal of underwriting 1,500 lessons per year, we have to raise $90,000 from private sources.

During 2015 our total operating expenses were $82,719. Expenses are divided into two main categories. The largest expense category is the cost of our instructors and equipment. Last year this accounted for $60,159 of our operating budget. The balance of $22,560 was for office infrastructure and other programs to include the Helping Hands Fund.

All LCC officers work pro bono. There are no salaried employees. All office infrastructure expenses are funded by the founders.

Our budget for 2016 is $106,600. We have budgeted $97,094 for all programs and $9,500 for office infrastructure.

We know it will be difficult reaching our fundraising goals and can only hope that our donor base of individuals and corporations continue with their generosity.

It goes without saying that none of this would be possible without the generosity of a great number of people. Suzanna and I are truly grateful. We believe LCC has a positive impact on the lives of families in our program as well as the community at large.

Suzanna and I want to thank you once again for your support and generosity and we look forward to seeing you all during 2016.

Kindest Regards,

Suzanna & Lawrence Becerra


LCC Founders

LCC Founders

Entry filed under: 2015 fUNDRAISING, Annual Letter, Fundraising for non-profit group, Las Campanas Compadres Update. Tags: , .

LCC on CROWDRISE! The Annual 2016 Triathlon Fundraising Has Begun! It’s Time!!!

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. John M. Romero  |  March 21, 2016 at 1:22 PM

    2015 was great. 2016 will be even better!


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 72 other subscribers

Recent Posts

Las Campanas Compadres Awards Day

Awards at the Equestrian CenterOctober 14, 2013
Columbus Day---LCC Awards Day! Each student receives a participation award.

Follow me on Twitter

%d bloggers like this: