GNOF Spring 2017 IMPACT Newsletter

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MENTORSHIP CHANGES OUR COMMUNITY’S FUTURE, ONE CHILD AT A TIME It is in that belief that THE SILVERBACK SOCIETY coordinates 150 men who voluntarily teach life skills to more than 600 young men in 20 schools. The Silverback Society is one of 50 organizations that recently received a highly competitive IMPACT grant. To date, The IMPACT program has invested $7 million in 150 stellar nonprofit organizations.

OUR COMPASSIONATE COMMUNITY When tornadoes ripped through our neighborhoods on Tuesday, February 7, the Greater New Orleans Foundation raced into action—opening the Helping Our Neighbors: Tornado Victims Fund within hours. Having been through Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the BP Oil Spill and other recent calamities, we knew what families would be facing. We also knew that nonprofit organizations would be springing into action but would only be as impactful as their resources would allow. Our first big break came when Trombone Shorty proposed matching contributions to our fund by dollar for dollar up to the first $50,000 in donations. It worked! In just 64 hours our generous donors met the match and within a few more days our incredible team pushed $100,000 out the door and into the hands of our experienced and effective nonprofit partners working tirelessly to help the 800+ families impacted by the storm. All the gifts were heartfelt—made by people who cared deeply about our community. Over $50,000 came directly from the incredibly generous fundholders here at the Foundation. We also received dozens of smaller donations. One $50 check came from Barbara Broecker in Chicago, who wrote, “please accept this donation in the name of my granddaughter, Brooke, who is a teacher in one of the schools in the area of the tornado.” The giving hasn’t stopped. When the NBA All-Star game arrived in New Orleans, our New Orleans Pelicans and their partners at the NBA and the NBA Players Association made generous donations. NBA partners Jordan brand

THERE’S A WHOLE LOT OF The years of planning, preaching, and teaching are starting to pay off for the green infrastructure movement in greater New Orleans.

and Nike also made significant contributions, with Jordan brand also giving away 2,500 pairs of athletic shoes and sports apparel to the families with the help of one of our partner organizations, Household of Faith. Local recording artist PJ Morton even sponsored a benefit concert, raising more funds! Their efforts helped us provide another $150,000 in donations to nonprofits hard at work in the field. Since joining the Foundation less than six months ago, I’m often asked what I like most about leading the Greater New Orleans Foundation. It’s moments like these—where the great team at the Greater New Orleans Foundation galvanizes the incredible people of our community to meet the challenges we face. Whether it’s volunteering to remove debris, delivering canned goods to a nonprofit partner, or making an online cash donation, we’re a compassionate community of people who care, and care to give back so generously. — Andy Kopplin, President & CEO

GREEN GOING ON Over the past several years, the Greater New Orleans Foundation has worked hand in

Here’s to the environmental coalitions, consortia, collaborations and committees,

hand with many partners—including government, nonprofits and for-profits —who

who have developed proposals and plans and blueprints and new paradigms for the

share a commitment to making the green dream a reality for the whole region.

region’s approach to water. They’ve dreamed a new vision and it’s all green and all good and balances the human, the urban, and the natural needs of the watery south Louisiana biosphere. Now their water dreams are flowing into real projects, scaling across neighborhoods, and changing for the better the way we all live with water. Just look around town - you’ll see rain gardens along the Hollygrove Greenline and more rain gardens in Broadmoor and Treme. The KIPP Central City Primary schoolyard is a green infrastructure and stormwater management classroom where children are getting a degree in water literacy. There are bioswales at Coliseum Square, by the lakefront, and in the Lower Nine. Coming soon in Gentilly will be a 25-acre plot that will be the site of a water garden and community park. All across the cityscape there are blue rain barrel cisterns recycling storm water into water-friendly front yards and public rights-of-way planted with native, water-loving shrubs and trees. Since 2013, the Greater New Orleans Foundation’s Urban Water initiative has leveraged funding, programs, training and energy to align a movement across greater New Orleans.

Are you an architect, landscape architect, or engineer who would like learn more about green infrastructure? Please join us for a series of lectures and workshops designed to deepen the technical knowledge of private and public sector professionals to design, develop, and install the latest green infrastructure techniques. EMAIL ELLA DELIO AT ELLA@GNOF.ORG TO LEARN MORE OR CALL HER AT (504) 598-4663.

CEDRIC GRANT “The Greater New Orleans Foundation is an integral partner in the green infrastructure movement. For years, they have been investing in organizations committed to our sustainability. We’re now seeing the pay-off as more and more residents and professionals are joining the movement and getting excited about our possibilities” –Cedric Grant, executive director of the Sewerage and Water Board New Orleans

NATHAN LOTT “To learn to live well with the water all around us, we must work together. Water knows no boundaries so collaborations across neighborhood, cultural and political boundaries are necessary, even mandatory, as we develop urban water management solutions and green infrastructure at all scales - from individual properties to regional networks.” –Nathan Lott, director of the Greater New Orleans Water Collaborative, and GNOF grantee

WHEN GIVING IS A FAMILY AFFAIR With the Freemans, philanthropy is a genetic thing. It courses through generations. Giving of their time, talent, and fortune to make a more beautiful, a more just and a more thriving community for all is simply the way this family is wired. Now the fourth generation is working with the Greater New Orleans Foundation to refresh a 17-year-old grantmaking program designed to honor the work and commitment of Richard West Freeman and his wife Tina. Since its inception, the Freeman Challenge has awarded over $350,000 to help establish endowments at over 24 nonprofits in education, the environment, and the arts.


When did the Freeman Challenge start? After my grandfather Richard West Freeman died in 1985 and his wife, my grandmother, Tina Freeman died in 1998, their three grown children wanted to do something to memorialize their parents who had done so much for the community. The family decided to create something called the Richard West Freeman Challenge, which would help local nonprofit organizations start endowments. How did the younger generation adjust the model?

Like so many things, the art of grantmaking needs constant refinement and improvement. What we learned through the years by working with the Foundation staff is that while endowments are good, they are not necessarily right for every organization. Sometimes, what is needed most is a reserve or a rainy day fund. So now that option is part of the Freeman Challenge process.

How does the Challenge coach and support nonprofit applicants?

We work very closely with all organizations on the front end to make sure that they choose the right path. We conduct and require readiness workshops, we offer fundraising toolkits and seminars, and we coach Challenge winners all the way through their fundraising campaigns. We want them to meet the Challenge and get those matching funds. We want them to succeed! Opposite: Laura Freeman, DVM, a long-time horse rider and dressage competitor, is one of the Freeman family members who worked with the Greater New Orleans Foundation to reboot the Challenge to make it more relevant and more helpful to nonprofits. In 2017, the Freeman family members who will serve on the Freeman Challenge grants committee include Sarah Carey, Andrew, Catherine, Courtney, and Laura Freeman. They are reestablishing their family’s commitment to strengthening nonprofits who are making a difference for all.

MEET THE FREEMAN WINNERS Four community-enhancing organizations successfully participated in the Freeman Challenge program in 2016. Not only did they secure $1 for every $2 raised, but because of the coaching that accompanied the organizations throughout the process, their organizations emerged stronger with staff and board members better prepared and more energized about the future.


THE COLISEUM SQUARE ASSOCIATION (CSA) A neighborhood association supporting New Orleans’ Lower Garden District

Campaign Success: To maintain and enhance the historic fountains and green spaces throughout Coliseum Square and the Lower Garden District, CSA raised $68,000 and received $25,000 from the Freeman Endowment Challenge.

New Orleans’ first and only nonprofit, public interest newsroom Campaign Success: To add to the stability of newsroom’s operations, in just a few months The Lens raised more than $10,000 and received $5,000 from the Freeman Board Restricted Cash Reserve Challenge.


Provides people with disabilities opportunities to succeed Campaign Success: To help ensure that the Lighthouse remains a beacon of hope for people with disabilities for generations to come, the organization secured a $150,000 gift and received $75,000 from the Freeman Endowment Challenge to establish the George Villere Endowment.


Strengthens communities through programs encouraging youth development, healthy living and social responsibility Campaign Success: To ensure the long-term viability of the organization, the Y successfully raised $50,960 for its Heritage Club Endowment Fund and received $25,000 from the Freeman Endowment Challenge. For in depth stories on the winners and to learn more about the Freeman Challenge, visit

Karon Reese, real estate agent and Coliseum Square Association board member, is quick to give credit to the Freeman Challenge for making it possible for the Association to restore and maintain the fountains in Coliseum Square. According to Reese, their highly successful fundraising campaign, which earned matching dollars from the Freeman Challenge, did more than raise an endowment. It energized and encouraged neighbors to work together. It increased Association membership. She is also appreciative of the numerous workshops CSA volunteers attended at the Greater New Orleans Foundation, making her organization stronger and more focused on its mission than ever before. “That’s a beautiful thing to happen for us.”


WINNER My name is Dante. I’d like to share my story, and why

the Louisiana Center for Children’s Rights is so important to young people like me. I grew up in an abusive home – physical at first, later emotional. The stress would often boil over at school. My first suspension happened when I was 7 years old. Many more followed. No one ever asked if I needed help at home. As my struggles at home and school got worse, I was placed under court supervision as a “child in need of services.” It was far easier to punish me for acting out than figure out why I was acting out. I am not alone. Many kids growing up in unstable households or violent neighborhoods end up at court. Things started to change when my case was taken on by the Louisiana Center for Children’s Rights. They gave me an attorney, Jordan, and a pair of social workers, Heather and Christine. This was my team. For the first time, I felt



like I was actually being heard. Jordan always made sure that I understood what was happening at court. He’d explain my options and ask how I would like to proceed. Heather and Christine connected me with a therapist and helped me enroll in a new school. They also made sure that I had a safe place to stay when things got too chaotic at home. Court was just a symptom of the struggles I was going through. My LCCR team helped address the cause, both at home and in school. They believed in me, in my potential. That helped me to start believing in myself. I was proud to join the LCCR team in 2015 to help launch their new Youth Voices for Racial Equity in Juvenile Justice project. As one of the project’s core interns, I worked to change the justice system for the better so that kids like me can get a helping hand, not handcuffs.

Above Right: This is Dante–a young man redirected and truly transformed by the public defense services and support of the Louisiana Center for Children’s Rights. He’s on his way to a brighter future. Photo by Danielle Miles

With the $100,000 grant awarded to LCCR by the Impact 100 Women’s Giving Circle, LCCR will extend their life-changing and life-affirming public defense services to 143 of the most vulnerable juvenile offenders ensnared in the Louisiana juvenile justice system. More kids like Dante will get a helping hand and a new direction. After all, transforming lives for the better is the ultimate purpose of the Impact 100 Women’s Giving Circle.

919 St. Charles Avenue New Orleans, LA 70130-3903

Design: Tom Varisco Designs | Cover Photo: Jackson Hill | Additional Photography: Robert Warren, Charles E. Leche and Jackson Hill


Now entering its fifth year, Impact 100 has granted over $600,000 to 16 nonprofits who are working tirelessly to make this a better community for all. Want to join a group of women making an impact in our community? Contact Allie at or call Allie at (504) 620-5264 for 2017 information.


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