SouthWest Organizing Project

Empowering communities since 1980!

aka SWOP   |   Albuquerque, NM   |


Working to empower the disenfranchised in the southwest to realize racial and gender equality and social and economic justice.

Ruling year info


Executive Director

George Lujan

Deputy Director

Juan Reynosa

Main address

211 10th St. SW

Albuquerque, NM 87102 USA

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NTEE code info

Minority Rights (R22)

Youth Development Programs (O50)

Environmental Quality, Protection, and Beautification N.E.C. (C99)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

New Mexico continues to rank as one of the poorest states in the nation, with disproportionate affects on communities of color. A historically majority people of color state, New Mexico's major social indicators, particularly for young people and other vulnerable demographics, are all at crisis levels, with high food insecurity, criminalization by law enforcement, and unsatisfactory educational outcomes, all of which disproportionately affect families of color. Moreover, the policy decisions concerning these issues are not based in affected communities, and therefore do not reflect their values, culture, and collective knowledge. SWOP is fighting these conditions with an agenda that uplifts our families and young people, recognizes their lived experiences, places them at the center of the conversation on the issues they care about, and develops and implements solutions.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Environmental Justice

SWOP defines our environment as where we live, where we work, and where we play. SWOP works to assure a safe environment in both the community and the workplace, and to increase community participation in decisions on the use of water and other precious natural resources.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people
Indigenous peoples

SWOP is committed to providing leadership development to young people with opportunities and access to resources we need to think for ourselves and analyze our surroundings, to have a voice in decisions that affect our lives, and to build power in our communities.

The SWOP youth group serves as a space for solidarity, where leadership is fostered, and political education is at the forefront.

The SWOP youth work on various issues; currently, they are working on campaigns relating to food justice, the school to prison pipeline, and the Student Bill Of Rights.

Folks who regularly attend meetings become eligible to be a part of our Core Membership. All and any youth are welcome.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people

NM Con Mujeres is a ‘foundation and movement’ within SWOP with the primary intent of addressing poverty and violence among women. We address this growing condition by looking at the root causes, mechanisms and structures - patriarchy, colonialism and capitalism. We know culturally that gender justice and climate justice are intrinsically related.

NM Con Mujeres is the US Anchor organization for the World March of Women/Marcha Mundial de Mujeres. We engage internationally with women of color to reframe the conversation of feminisms to encompass the perspective of low-income women of color throughout the world.

NM Con Mujeres defines feminism as a lens that is used to understand the responsibilities toward the sacred system of life. We believe and are guided by the laws of mother earth – the laws of nature that have been violated to the point of destruction and degradation. Women are the stewards of our water, our land, our air, our seeds and each other.

Our chant is - It Takes Roots to Resist, Defend, Articulate, Heal and Transform … it is our stories, our experiences and that of our ancestors that are the roots. Our mission is to recreate and co create healthy forms of public coexistence.

We do this by working towards ending war and militarization; recreating/co creating a feminist restorative/regenerative economy; stopping violence against women and by halting the privatization, commodification of our public services and air/water/land – our mother the earth.

Population(s) Served
Women and girls
Economically disadvantaged people

Project Feed the Hood is a food literacy and community gardening initiative of SWOP that aims to improve community health through education and revival of traditional growing methods.

Across the globe, exploitive food systems undermine health, dignity, democracy and human rights. Low-income communities of color face daily obstacles to provide quality meals for their families. Project Feed the Hood’s goal is to engage people in an alternative food system steeped in history, tradition and sustainable agriculture that empowers them to improve their community health.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people
Children and youth

We use civic engagement campaigns to increase the participation of low-income families to ensure greater control over public policies that affect them. We mobilize our base for various urgent political moments and events throughout the year as necessary. ArribaNM brings together artists, organizers and designers to create immersive environments and mobile organizing tools for New Mexicans to dream about a better future for everyone. The project tests immersive cultural and art-based engagement tools alongside things like door knocking, phone banking and other traditional civic engagement tactics, and connects cultural networks and communities of passion to one another to inspire community imagination and build power.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people
Ethnic and racial groups

Where we work


Juan Jose Pena Activist Award 2019

El Centro de La Raza

Community Award 2019

National Association of Chicano and Chicana Studies

Affiliations & memberships

Grassroots Global Justice 2000

Climate Justice Alliance 2013

People's Action 2015

May First Movement Technology 2012

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

For 40 years, SouthWest Organizing Project’s (SWOP) role in social movements and community organizing has shifted and adapted to the political climate and needs of our communities. We transform alongside our members and partners and prepare for the next strategic moment. As the world changes faster than ever, so does our approach.

SWOP’s mission is to “empower disenfranchised communities in the Southwest United States to realize racial and gender equality and social and economic justice.”

Today, we build power alongside our members, partners, and allies in three main areas:

• Economic Power
• Political Power
• Cultural Power

To achieve our focus, we have strategically created:

• SWOP as an organizing hub for our members, partners and allies
• SWOP as a cutting edge community engagement lab that invests in savvy cultural strategies and infrastructure
• SWOP as a home-based community and movement building institution

We uplift community voices by leveraging strategic partnerships, policies, and systems changes that represent the needs and values of children, families, and our communities.

We develop youth organizers from the barrio to build a thriving community that has economic security, food access and land sovereignty, quality education, respect for culture, and a commitment to equity.

Our cutting edge techniques ensure we are always where the community is now and where they’re going next. We design our engagement to reach people who have been deprived of their voice. True change is achieved when communities identify problems and solutions, and have the knowledge and support to act on them. To SWOP, this means creating intergenerational spaces for in-depth conversations of structural racism and the root causes of inequity, in addition to designing policy solutions by first acknowledging our shared racist, colonial past.

Communications strategies have dramatically shifted over the last decade. From analog to digital. From legacy to social. From linear to networked. But one thing will always remain constant. Social movements must use organizing and communications strategies to forge a shared language and a vision with communities.

At SWOP, we were the first to hire a communications organizer in the US for an organization like ours in the late 90’s, and focused on earned media and experimentation with blogs and the Internet. In the late 2000’s, we built on that work by creating our own content and experimented with social media. Today, we take all we’ve learned to focus on narrative and cultural power to create sustainable change.

Over the last 2 years, we created ArribaNM to work with organizers, designers, artists and technologists to build immersive environments and mobile engagement tools to inspire community imagination and civic engagement. This experiment has informed our communications strategies.

In the next three years SWOP will reach our 40th anniversary, a major milestone as we advance the mission crafted and pursued by our membership over these past four decades. While our current core program areas continue to be environmental justice, youth rights, feminisms, and food justice, these exist to advance our broader work of leadership development, capacity building, and power building to advance equity and sovereignty in low income communities of color.
SWOP's work is built on a foundation of community organizing and mobilization, which means that affected people will continue to identify problems, solutions, and strategies in conjunction with our organizers. Success to us looks like increased community involvement and control over the decision making that affects them. In the next few years this will include advancements in equity for students through policy changes at the district and statewide levels. These issues, like culturally relevant coursework and family engagement, will be advanced through the coalitions we've built over several years and will reflect the Student Bill of Rights that was developed by SWOP youth.

Similarly, our work to make the economy fully equitable will be based in the lived experiences and voices of working families. SWOP and our membership intend to take advantage of progressive leadership changes in the state, including the Governor's administration and the Mayor's administration in Albuquerque. We have a track record of mobilizing community to hold corporations accountable, and to prevent poor policy decisions. This area of work is a consistent partner with our environmental justice work area, as we combine defensive and visionary campaigns to create a more healthy environment for New Mexicans.

Another indicator of success to SWOP is the impact of leadership development practices. Dozens of former SWOP interns now serve in various roles around the state, in government, nonprofit, and private sectors. Many former youth members now lead their own campaigns, and contribute to SWOP every year. New Mexico will rise when organizers of color are well represented in decision making positions at large organizations and national campaigns, as well as community-based issue campaigns. This is a longtime focus of SWOP, and informs our work to this day. We will place homegrown youth and organizers where they can impact a number of campaigns, including the education reforms that will result from the PED lawsuit led by NM Center on Law and Poverty and.
SWOP fuses the efforts of local organizers with broad policy initiatives to have impact across the state's organizing spectrum. SWOP elevates community voice to improve campaigns of all sizes, from the hyperlocal to the global. We pursue victories in our organizing not only to create grassroots change, but also to build the vehicle that carries forward our long-term strategy to unify work across communities.


SouthWest Organizing Project

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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.


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Connect with nonprofit leaders


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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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SouthWest Organizing Project

Board of directors
as of 06/06/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Samia Assed


Term: 2017 - 2019

Janelle Astorga-Ramos

Ingrid Ordonez-Campos

Karlos Gauna-Schmieder

Alexandria Lyons

Yolanda Torres Martinez

Aidé Gonzalez

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 6/6/2022

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Gender identity

The organization's co-leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Gender identity

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

No data


No data

Sexual orientation

No data


No data