Meow Wolf is in the process of establishing a foundation to formalize its philanthropic pursuits and has hired Julie Heinrich, wife of U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich, to serve as its executive director.
The Santa Fe-based arts and entertainment company, which boasts successful attractions in Santa Fe, Denver and Las Vegas, Nev., announced the move Wednesday.
“The foundation is a piece of our evolution of a growing, purpose-driven company,” Meow Wolf said in an email response to questions.
Julie Heinrich comes to Meow Wolf after eight years at the Washington, D.C, global public relations firm Weber Shandwick, most recently as senior vice president.
Meow Wolf noted in the release the company has contributed more than $2 million to nonprofit partners since its founding.
Launching a foundation comes in the wake of a meteoric 2021 for Meow Wolf, which opened its first out-of-state attractions in February with Omega Mart in Las Vegas, Nev., and in September in Denver with Convergence Station.
“We’ve been working towards launching a nonprofit foundation for a while now, as a complement to our existing corporate citizenship and social impact commitments as a certified B Corp.,” Meow Wolf wrote in an email, referring to companies that meet high standards in a variety of fields, including social and environmental performance, plus transparency.
“It will mean that as the business grows, we can give back and better serve our communities (N.M., Colo., Nev.+ future communities),” the email continued. “We have a strong culture of volunteerism so our employees will play an important role in the Foundation.”
Meow Wolf’s three attractions together drew 1.7 million visitors last year, the company reported.
Meow Wolf does not release revenue figures, but it likely multiplied several times over since 2019.
Meow Wolf states it has nearly 1,000 employees in New Mexico, Colorado and Nevada. The company dropped to as low as
270 employees in the early months of the pandemic with the state-mandated closure of Meow Wolfs’ first permanent installation, House of Eternal Return, on Rufina Circle in Santa Fe.
“The foundation is a demonstration of how Meow Wolf can be a force for good in our communities,” Meow Wolf CEO Jose Tolosa said in a release. “There’s a strong altruistic spirit at our company and many of our employees are eager to volunteer with partner organizations. As we grow, so will our impact in communities.”
Heinrich was raised in Colorado and served as digital media director for the city of Albuquerque and as chief communications officer for former Albuquerque Mayor Jim Baca.
She and Martin Heinrich, a Democrat, have two sons. The senator is a former Albuquerque city councilor.
“The Meow Wolf Foundation will work alongside the company as a mission-driven entity, using art and imagination to build community, encourage more equal access to culture and impact change,” Julie Heinrich said in the news release.