A meeting was organized with community and Chamber of Commerce leaders from throughout Lincoln County in December 2004 to discuss the opportunity and potential of a countywide community foundation. The focus would be to sustain and improve the area’s quality of life through charitable giving. Representatives from Carrizozo, Corona, Capitan, Alto, Ruidoso, and Ruidoso Downs decided to forge ahead with the concept and established a core group of volunteers to create the necessary organizational documents.
The New Mexico Public Regulation Commission and the Internal Revenue Service approved the Community Foundation of Lincoln County’s (CFLC) articles of incorporation and non-profit tax application in August 2005. Immediately following approval, the countywide volunteer board of directors began planning a fundraising kickoff event for February 2006. The event brought more than 125 Lincoln County residents together for the cause of supporting the fledgling foundation and raised $4,000. That money, along with some seed money from the Ruidoso Valley Chamber of Commerce and Ruidoso Valley Greeters, allowed the CFLC to begin soliciting contributions. The first fund set up was the Coach Bob Cerny Memorial Scholarship Fund in August 2006.
The CFLC operates with a fully volunteer Board of Directors and does not maintain an office. Expenses are minimized to allow maximum potential to award annual grants to area nonprofits. As of 2021 there are 25 different fund partners and the CFLC administers their cumulative assets. The CFLC's very own Legacy Fund continues to receive donations and build to its $1,000,000 goal. The Legacy Fund is a permanent community nest egg that will give back in the form of annual grants to local nonprofits in perpetuity.