What we do
For 33 years, the Chamiza Foundation has continued its commitment to support the continuation of Pueblo culture. The Board of Directors, members of the Phillips family and staff carry out the work of the Foundation and are undeterred in their dedication to the mission. This has ensured the Chamiza Foundation’s continued relevance to Pueblo communities now and for generations to come.
Although a family Foundation, from the beginning, at least half of the Chamiza Board has consisted of Pueblo members. Currently, the board of eleven members includes eight Pueblo members. Pueblo members continue to guide grantmaking decisions into areas where support is most needed.
The Foundation is committed to a grassroots approach to grantmaking that supports leadership in Pueblo communities and their efforts to effect positive and innovative change that sustains culture and traditions.
The Chamiza Foundation is dedicated to on-going collaboration and long-term relationships with Pueblo communities.
Funding priorities are focused on cultural preservation and include:
- Language Revitalization
- Sustainable Agriculture
- Traditional Building
- Traditional Arts and Crafts
- Storytelling / Oral History
- Youth Education
- Leadership Programs including environmental stewardship and ecology
- Intercultural Exchange
Board of Directors
The Chamiza Foundation’s Board of Directors includes leaders from the Phillips Family, from Pueblo communities, and from the local community, all of whom are dedicated to thriving Pueblo communities.
MARJORIE PHILLIPS ELLIOTT, CHAIR
Marjorie Phillips Elliott has served on the board since 1999 and as chair since 2010. She also serves on the Members Board of the Phillips Collection in Washington DC. Among other non-profit experiences, while also pursuing her career in film and photography, Marjorie served as the chair of the Tarrytown Environmental Council from 1993 to 2003.
ALICE PHILLIPS SWISTEL, VICE-CHAIR
Alice Phillips Swistel has served on the board since 2007. She is a current board member of the Phillips Collection in Washington D.C. and has served since 2002. She received a B.F.A. from Tufts University and the School of Museum Fine Arts in Boston.
JAMES L. PHILLIPS, FORMER CHAIR
Jim Phillips has served on the Chamiza Board since 1990 and served as Chair of the Board from 2000 to 2010. He is an investment advisor and is president of JP Capital Management.
BRIAN D. VALLO, SECRETARY
Brian Vallo is a member of the Pueblo of Acoma tribe in New Mexico. With 30 years’ experience working in areas of museum development, cultural resources management, historic architecture preservation, the arts, and tourism, Brian has dedicated his career to promoting Native American arts and culture as well as advocacy on the protection of sacred sites and repatriation of ancestors and items of cultural patrimony. He recently completed a 3-year term as Governor of his tribe. A self-taught painter, Brian is inspired by his culture and the landscape of Acoma which influence his multimedia paintings.
Ted Jojola is a tribal member of Isleta Pueblo. He holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Hawaii, a BFA in Architecture from the University of New Mexico, and is currently Distinguished Professor of Architecture and Planning at the University of New Mexico and the Co-Founder of the Indigenous Design and Planning Institute at UNM.
Vernon Geronimo Lujan is a tribal member of the Taos Pueblo and currently works for the Taos Pueblo in the management of infrastructure and as a member of the Board of Education. He worked for many years for the Pueblo of Pojoaque as Director of the Poeh Cultural Center and Museum. Vernon is a former adjunct faculty member of the University of New Mexico in Native American Studies and Fine Arts.
Trisha Moquino is from Cochiti, Ohkay Owingeh and Santo Domingo Pueblos. She graduated with a B.A. in American Studies from Stanford University; she holds an M.A. in Elementary/Bilingual Education from the University of New Mexico, and she is trained in the Montessori Method for primary level (ages 3-6) and lower elementary level (ages 6-9). Currently, she serves as the Director and lead teacher at the Keres Children’s Learning Center at Cochiti Pueblo, a learning environment that incorporates the natural usage of the Keres language and Pueblo culture into an educational model that nurtures the whole child.
Ben Calabaza (Kewa) has 15 years of marketing and design experience. He is a managing partner with Iroots Media, LLC, a design and marketing group based in Santa Fe, NM. Calabaza has led many local and national branding projects, most recently the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture, the Native American Community Academy, the Tribal Solar Accelerator Fund, and the Pueblo of Jemez Department of Planning Development and Transportation. He worked at the Institute of American Indian Arts for ten years in various roles: outreach coordinator, adjunct instructor (first-year seminar, digital arts, cross country), activities assistant, and advisor to the Associated Student Government. He is a communications advisor to the American Indian Sight Initiative at the global eyecare non-profit, the Seva Foundation. Calabaza worked as the Public Relations Manager for the Wheelwright Museum (2018–2022) and assisted in gaining market position in the Santa Fe area through a comprehensive marketing plan, producing first place in the 2019 Journal North Readers’ Choice Awards. Calabaza recently assisted the museum with receiving a multi-year Google Ad Grant for greater online visibility.
AARON M. SIMS
Aaron M. Sims (Pueblo of Acoma), owner-attorney, for Chestnut Law Offices. Mr. Sims obtained his Juris Doctor from the University of New Mexico – School of Law with an Indian Law Certificate. Mr. Sims holds a bachelor’s degree in Government and Native American Studies from Dartmouth College. He is a member of the State Bar of New Mexico and the Federal District Court.
Before law school Mr. Sims was a project coordinator for the Leadership Institute at the Santa Fe Indian School (SFIS), a culturally and community-based Native American policy think tank. Mr. Sims continues to serve as a consultant and faculty member for the SFIS Leadership Institute’s Summer Policy Academy, a nationally recognized summer youth program educating Native American students on contemporary challenges and federal policies affecting tribal communities.
At the Chestnut Law Offices, Mr. Sims’ practice focuses primarily on Pueblo tribal governmental representation and cultural resource protection. He has extensive experience working to protect and repatriate sensitive items of cultural patrimony at auction in both domestic and international sales. He also has worked extensively with clients to protect cultural resources and traditional cultural properties in various federal undertakings.