Mission & Approach
Created in 1986 Cornerstones initially operated under the auspices of the New Mexico Community Foundation and was known as Churches: Symbols of Community; we incorporated as a non-profit in 1994 as Cornerstones Community Partnerships. Cornerstones has always been dedicated to preserving the architectural heritage and cultural traditions of New Mexico and the greater Southwest, using a hands-on approach to teach and reinforce these methods to both adults and youth. We believe such involvement fosters a community’s pride in their historic buildings and strengthens their cultural values and traditions. Cornerstones works only on publicly owned or publicly used structures and has provided assistance at more than 380 architectural treasures and historic sites.
How We Help
Cornerstones responds to requests from communities for assistance with their historic preservation projects, always keeping their vision in mind and honoring their cultural heritage. We act as consultants while they take the leadership role. Cornerstones provides only the help they need – technical support, materials, tools, equipment, fundraising assistance and organizational help.
We involve as much of the community as possible. Emphasis is placed on hands-on teaching of traditional skills during the project and encouraging interaction between village elders and youth during the experience.
Cornerstones also makes every effort to include a youth training component in our preservation projects, helping to strengthen their community ties and teaching lifelong skills useful to both the youth and their communities.
Jake joined Cornerstones as Program Director in 2009 after retiring from a thirty-year historic preservation career from the National Park Service. The majority of those years were spent in the southwest focusing on earthen, stone and timber architecture where he served as project manager and architectural conservator. He began his career as a carpentry contractor in 1970 and started working in historic preservation in 1978 in the National Capital Region of the NPS. He first volunteered for Cornerstones in 1987 shortly after moving to Santa Fe. He was named Executive Director in April of 2016.
He earned a B.F.A from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill and his post graduate studies include architectural conservation certificates from the ARC course and Stone course at the International Center for the Study of Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM) in Rome and Venice, Italy. He is the 1996 recipient of the Appleman-Judd Award for Cultural Resource Stewardship in the NPS. He received the 2002 New Mexico Heritage Preservation Award and in 2015 he received the New Mexico Lifetime Achievement Heritage Preservation Award.
Maureen is a native of Connecticut, but moved to Santa Fe via Arizona in the summer of 2014.
Her professional background has focused on sales, marketing and fundraising. Maureen specialized in the sale of historic properties and was named #1 Broker in a Hartford commercial real estate firm having consummated the largest sale in the history of the company. She has received awards for Outstanding Community service (as well as sales) as a Realtor in the residential market in Tucson. While serving on the Board of Directors for Habitat for Humanity Tucson, she was persuaded to join staff and become the Director of Philanthropy, directing the fundraising and development efforts of the non-profit.
Maureen has always been deeply engaged in the community in which she lives, serving on the Boards of human services and arts’ not-for-profit organizations. She is currently a Board member of the New Mexico Committee for the Women in the Arts Museum, an affiliate of the Museum in Washington, D. C. and Kitchen Angels.
Maureen attended Hollins College, Virginia and the Sorbonne University in Paris, France. Travel is her passion, but she also enjoys film, the performing arts, reading and hiking.
Karen Kuranz joined Cornerstones in May 2018 as Development Assistant. She plans and implements communications for the web and print, oversees the volunteer programs and assists the Development Director in various fundraising activities.
Karen is a native Pennsylvanian and moved to Santa Fe via Virginia and Texas. She was born into a service-oriented family and, as board member of the Gupta Family Foundation, continues to support disadvantaged communities around the world that need assistance. While living in Chester County, PA, she joined the local literacy program, teaching English to a young Mexican mother of six and helping her obtain her driver’s license and U.S. citizenship. They remain close friends to this day. She also volunteered for many years at The Kennett Friend’s Home, helping seniors maintain interesting and dignified lives. In 1995, Karen and her husband, John, began volunteering for Habitat for Humanity, which took them on international blitz builds in the Philippines, South Korea, and Mexico. Today, much of Karen’s volunteer work is focused on her Santa Fe, New Mexico community where she volunteers at the Interfaith Shelter, among other forms of outreach. Karen attended Widener University in Chester, PA and the Sorbonne University in Paris. She enjoys baking, hiking, skiing and film travel.
The cheerful voice answering the phone or the smiling face you’ll see when you pay a visit to Cornerstones is that of Jean Bowley. Jean is also the organization Historian, having first worked as a volunteer and then being persuaded to join Staff for a total of 23 years. She is the fount of all Cornerstones’ knowledge.
Jean was born in Kansas City, Missouri, attended college in that same state, but has spent most of her life in the Southwest, including California. She enjoyed a career as a para-legal and retired from that profession when she and her husband, Robert, moved to Santa Fe in 1992.
She is the mother of three children, and has 7 grandchildren and 8 great grandchildren. When not “running” Cornerstones, Jean can be found knee-deep in her garden.
Georgina is a graduate of Universidad Centroamericana José Simeón Cañas with a bachelor’s degree in Architecture and master’s degree in Renewable Energy from University Don Bosco.
Her main interest is using local building materials and techniques in a modern way, and sustainable energy management. Through US/ICOMOS she applied to Cornerstones to learn how traditional methods are practiced in the Southwestern United States. She started her internship at Cornerstones in June of 2015. During her time here, she finished her Master’s Thesis “Methodology of Optimization of Steam Power Plants using Genetic Algorithms”.
John Eric Calvert (Eric) is from Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo. He was first introduced to adobe when he was 12 years old by his uncle, who enlisted him to help repair his dilapidated summer farm home outside of the pueblo. Eric developed a passion for all aspects of adobe work and today is an accomplished adobero, specializing in mud and lime plastering, as well as adobe stabilization and carpentry. He joined Avanyu General Construction in the 21-adobe home preservation project at Ohkay Owingeh pueblo in 2010 and continues to work with them on several preservation projects, including the restoration of the Ysleta Del Sur Pueblo. Okay Owingeh has embarked on a multi-year project to rehabilitate the historic core of the pueblo. Eric joined Pat Taylor Inc. in 2011 to work on the restoration of the San Francisco Presidio, Meyers Spring Ranch, Fort Garland, the Armijo Restoration Project and the Marfa Silla Project in Texas. He is currently a part time Project Manager with Cornerstones, restoring one of the historic homes on Plaza Del Cerro in Chimayo, leading a viga repair workshop at Wupatki National Monument and repairing adobe walls on a Death Valley National Park building.
Kurt Gardella specializes in online and field-based adobe construction education with a focus on adobe brick production, wall construction and natural plaster. He holds a Certificate in Adobe Construction from Northern New Mexico College and is also certified as a Specialist for Building with Earth (Registration #01-208-0810) by the Dachverband Lehm (German Association for Building with Earth) and the Handwerkskammer Ulm (Ulm Chamber of Trades and Crafts). He currently teaches for Adobe in Action, Santa Fe Community College and Adobe is not Software.
Don Sena is a graduate of Santa Fe High School and studied Geology and Physics at New Mexico Highlands University and New Mexico State University. He began volunteering with Cornerstones in 2011 at San Miguel Chapel where he learned techniques of adobe restoration. As a project manager, Don does site inspections, work estimates, and supervises interns and volunteers. Prior to working at Cornerstones, he worked at New Mexico Department of Transportation for twenty-six years, was a supervisor on an oil rig for four years, and was an underground miner at a uranium mine for four years.
Bob has worked in the field of preservation for 40 years, beginning as bridge and building
foreman for Amtrak railroad helping preserve the historic stations along a Northeast corridor.
He then worked for the National Park service, first as a woodcrafter/trainer for the Historic
Preservation Training Center and later for the Western center for Historic Preservation. During
his time with the Park Service he built windows for the White House, restored windows for
Independence Hall, doors for Fort Point in California, preservation/maintenance of the original
Amphitheater at Arlington Cemetery and the leprosy colony in Kalaupapa, Hawaii. He is a
master carpenter with advanced woodworking skills and is currently working with Cornerstones
as Field Project Manager.
Wilson Mason spent 30 years in counseling, mediation, and appraisal of commercial and investment real estate with WKMason Company in Dallas, TX. He has been active on local and national boards, professional organizations and civic/community endeavors. With retirement he continues a life-long interest in restoration of unique properties with Cornerstones’ community development projects. Santa Fe has been Wilson’s second home for over 23 years and he welcomes this new and expanded opportunity for community involvement and service.
Monie Blum is a native New Mexican and she and her husband Tom moved to Santa Fe in 2007. Monie has been in Banking and Mortgage Lending for over 35 years and is currently a Mortgage Loan Officer with Guardian Mortgage. Monie and Tom have two daughters, Starr and Alexandra, and enjoy traveling, hiking, skiing and spending time with family and friends.
Lynne Spivey has lived in Santa Fe off and on since 1974. She is involved with Native American culture, worked at The Original Trading Post in the 1970’s, volunteers at the Wheelwright Museum, and worked with her late husband Richard Spivey in his business. As a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, she also volunteered in theSouthwestern Department of the University Museum. Presently, she is active with the Folk Art Alliance, The School of Advanced Research Library and the Laboratory of Anthropology Library.
David has had a long and distinguished career in theatre and non-profit performing arts institutions and foundations. Throughout his career he was actively involved in organizing cultural and educational advocacy and development in states throughout the country. He served as Executive Director of Chicago’s renowned Steppenwolf Theatre Company from 2004 to 2015. Early on, as a result of this work in the Midwest in the states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, North and South Dakota, he was appointed a senior staffer to the National Endowment for the Arts to develop a national pilot program in support of arts activities in smaller, more isolated, rural communities.
Carnell Chosa is from Jemez Pueblo, New Mexico. He co-founded and co-directs The Leadership Institute, a project of the Santa Fe Indian School. His work focuses on developing innovative programs for youth and community through a new engagement lens that links individuals to community in meaningful ways. In 2013, Carnell received a Luminaria Award from the New Mexico Community Foundation for his work. He received his BA from Dartmouth College, his Master’s from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education and
his Doctorate in Justice Studies from Arizona State University’s School of Social Transformation. Carnell currently serves on the Chamiza Foundation Board, Three Sisters Kitchen Board, International Folk-Art Alliance Advisory Board, One New Mexico Board and the Doris Marner Scholarship Fund Board. His personal interests include time with family, gardening and silversmithing.
David is a resident of Santa Fe and native New Mexican born and raised in Chimayo. He is a ninth generation Chimayo weaver and was represented in the Spanish Market in Santa Fe, and featured in publications such as New York Times, New Mexico Magazine, Outside Magazine, Field and Stream Magazine. He understands New Mexico offers a unique, diverse, modern and traditional lifestyle that has something for everyone. David grew up with the family’s homebuilding company, owns art galleries in Santa Fe and Northern New Mexico, and is a film producer, actor and casting director with his company Route 66 Studios. He completed three New Mexico themed movie scripts. He has a bachelor of arts from University of New Mexico in economics and international business studies. He serves on the Board of Directors for Santa Fe Realtors Association.
Coralee “Corky” Hays recently retired from the National Park Service after nearly 40 years with the agency and stationed in a dozen different parks. She began her career in the division of interpretation and visitor services, and later in park operations and planning. As a park superintendent, she oversaw a number of cultural resources based projects, in addition to other management responsibilities. She also served on and led teams for the Department of Interior International Technical Assistance Programs including two assignments to Georgia (former Republic of Georgia) and one in Ukraine. For a number of years, Corky served on and was chair of the National Park Service Vanishing Treasurers Leadership Committee whose responsibilities are directly linked to the Cornerstones’ mission. She is now a full-time Santa Fe resident.
Lorna Ortiz Calles
Lorna is the perfect example of the Santa Fe native, whose family dates back to the Spanish Colonial period and of one who wishes to keep that history alive! She and her descendants have been entrenched in Santa Fe education, politics, service and philanthropy. Lorna and her husband, Earl, continue that tradition with their belief that the nature of the true New Mexican is a philanthropic one. They are also very entrepreneurial, owning and supporting a number of small Santa Fe businesses. Her involvement in Cornerstones work is to preserve the state’s unique 400-year old heritage by passing it down to its youth. Lorna is also currently an active member of the Spanish Colonial Arts Society and has served on many non-profit boards in the community. She considers volunteering a privilege…and is the proud mother of three men, Adrian, Diego, and Stephen (wife Maya).
Ellen Bradbury Reid
Ellen grew up in Los Alamos, where her father worked at Los Alamos National Laboratory, and she has maintained a great interest in the history and legacy of the Manhattan Project.. Following high school he attended the University of Vienna and then the University of New Mexico where she received both her Bachelors and Masters degrees, and was enrolled in the Ph.D program for American Art. She was Curator and later consultant for the Minneapolis Institute of Arts in Minneapolis, MN, and Director of the Museum of Find Arts in Santa Fe. She is currently founder/director of Recursos de Santa Fe, a 501©3 educational, non-profit travel agency specializing in idea-driven travel excursions for extraordinary clients such as the School for Advanced Research, Smithsonian Journeys, the American Museum for National History, Harvard and Yale Universities and others.
Jake Rodriguez brings his experience as an architect to the Board. He received his BFA in Architecture from the University of New Mexico and is a licensed architect in the State. He is a member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and currently serves as a Board Member of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe’s Commission for the Preservation of Historic Churches. He is a former member of the Santa Fe Public Library Board and the Old Santa Fe Association.
His portfolio of preservation work includes Santa Fe’s Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis, and San Felipe de Neri Church in Albuquerque’s old town. He has also worked on design of new churches, schools, civic, general commercial, and residential projects. His work on the Cathedral Basilica, San Felipe De Neri, San Jose Chapel at Santa Maria de la Paz, and Santa Maria de la Paz, have all been acknowledged by the AIA with awards for design or historic preservation. Jake was also a member of the architectural team that surveyed hundreds of New Mexico churches for the Archdiocese of Santa Fe and NM State Preservation Office. That effort was acknowledged with a National Preservation Honor Award by National Trust for Historic Preservation and was a motivation for the founding of the “Churches: Symbols of Community”, which was later incorporated as “Cornerstones”.
He is a native New Mexican and lives in Santa Fe in an old adobe built by his father. When he is not busy working out designs on his computer, he enjoys researching his family’s genealogy, and reading about New Mexico’s cultural and artistic heritage. Jake and his wife Barbara have four adult children, four granddaughters, and a bully mix dog named Andy, who demands daily walks and lot of treats!
OSCAR S. RODRIGUEZ
A native of New Mexico, Oscar Rodriguez is the father of three daughters and lives in Santa Fe with his wife, Amber.
He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Harvard College and a Masters in City Planning from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His career has centered on planning and financial management for government agencies, federal and city.
He is currently Chief Financial Officer for the New Mexico Finance Authority, helping manage loans to local governments and tribes throughout the state. He was previously Finance Director for the City of Santa Fe, NM; an Independent Consultant for the State of New Mexico Indian Affairs Department; and Town Manager of Taos, NM. Among other capacities he was an Independent Consultant for the World Bank and the United Nations Development Program on municipal services, financial management, and organizational development for projects throughout Latin America.
He is a prolific writer and has published works related to his areas of expertise and various other interests.
Joan Brooks Baker
Nancy Meem Wirth
Adobe in Action
Catholic Campaign for Human Development
The Catholic Foundation
Death Valley National Park
Fort Bowie National Historic Site
Guadalupe Mountains National Park
Historic Santa Fe Foundation
Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site
Joshua Tree National Park
La Bajada Historic Trails and Roads – US Forest Service
La Sala de Galisteo
Mojave National Preserve
National Trust for Historic Preservation
New Mexico History Museum
St. Gertrude the Great Parish
St. Michael’s High School
White Sands Missile Range
Hotel St. Francis
Hotel St. Francis, a Heritage Hotel, has an established history of cultural preservation initiatives. When you stay there, you encounter a distinctive story that celebrates New Mexico’s rich, multi-cultural legacy. Heritage Hotels & Resorts has been supporting cultural and artistic ventures for more than a decade by featuring regionally inspired design, custom artwork, decor, cuisine, music, and entertainment in their hotels. As a continuation of this tradition of supporting cultural preservation and advancement, they donate a portion of revenue from every room to culturally and artistically significant endeavors.
At Thornburg Investment Management, it’s more than what we do, it’s how we do it. Our flexible approach to investing focuses, quite simply, on helping investors reach their long-term financial goals. It’s also vitally important to us that we adhere to the core Thornburg values that have guided us since our 1982 founding. One of those values is being community minded. We believe in supporting our local communities by giving to a wide-range of non-profit organizations — and by encouraging Thornburg employees to volunteer with those that make a difference in their community.
Building Adventures Unlimited
Building Adventures Unlimited began in the construction industry in 1999. They specialize in building/remodeling in the historic district of Santa Fe. Building Adventures also does custom work with an emphasis on adobe, tile work, and cabinetry and works only with the best subcontractors in Santa Fe.
How do I...?
How does Cornerstones work with communities?
Our role is that of consultant and advisor. We provide the assistance the community needs – technical support, materials, tools and equipment, fundraising assistance and organizational help such as for workdays. Cornerstones expects the community to take the leadership role on their project and believes that an involved community leads to a successful project, one that the community will support long-term.
Is Cornerstones a contractor?
No, we are not a contractor. However, we can usually recommend a licensed professional for historic preservation projects when there is a special need.
How are projects chosen?
Only after contact from a community does Cornerstones take on a project and then on a first-come first-served basis. Cornerstones makes every effort to respond to each request for help.
How does Cornerstones work with federal agencies?
We are a member of the Desert Southwest Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Unit out of the University of Arizona. Through this group, the National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, National Forest Service, and Department of Defense can seek our assistance to research preservation issues and conduct workshops for the purpose of training federal personnel, students, volunteers, and other interested parties in preservation work associated with traditional building practices.
Are Cornerstones projects only in northern New Mexico?
While our primary focus is the northern part of New Mexico which contains numerous historic structures, Cornerstones also works throughout the entire state. On occasion, when a request meets our mission, we will go outside the state but we rarely do work beyond the Southwest.