"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.

Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has"

Margaret Mead, Anthropologist
(used with permission)

"If you don't like the news .... go out and make some of your own !!"

Wes "Scoop" Nisker, Newscaster


Government is a slow and tedious process. While it often includes citizen and neighborhood involvement, non-governmental, private organizations have created movements and interesting groups which can create positive change in our cities and towns.

I am fascinated by the way groups are created and how they influence public decision making. This blog merely recognizes them and forwards the description of these groups from their own websites.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Greater New Orleans Foundation

Location: New Orleans, LA

Website: www.gnof.org

At the Greater New Orleans Foundation, we look to create a resilient, sustainable, vibrant community in which individuals and families flourish and the special character of our region is preserved, celebrated, and supported.

Recognizing that New Orleans is more than a city–it is an interconnected region–we serve the surrounding parishes of Assumption, Jefferson, Lafourche, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. James, St. John the Baptist, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, Terrebonne, and Washington.

Like other community foundations, the Greater New Orleans Foundation serves both donors and recipients–linking philanthropists with the needs and aspirations of the greater community. We pull together people, ideas, and resources; we serve as a champion of civil society and civil solutions; and we help the effectiveness of nonprofit leaders.

By partnering with donors, we help them achieve their charitable goals–whether that means starting a fund, creating an endowment, leaving a legacy, or just making a gift. Since our founding by forward-looking community leaders in 1983, the Foundation has grown from scarcely $4 million in assets to more than $275 million in assets under management–and 700 donor funds–today. Hurricanes Katrina and Rita devastated the region, but also prompted an outpouring of generosity from long-time supporters and new donors from around the world.   The Foundation played a key role in the region’s recovery, coordinating donor efforts and rallying support for the Unified New Orleans Plan–which made possible the release of hundreds of millions of dollars in federal aid.

Our housing and community development efforts since Katrina included the Economic Opportunity Community Revitalization Fund, a five-year, $25 million initiative to support the organizations, people, and systems that produce affordable workforce housing in the City of New Orleans. Since 2007, the Community Revitalization Fund has made 63 grants and other investments to 51 organizations, supporting the development of nearly 9,500 housing units.

We also worked with the City of New Orleans Redevelopment Authority, and the Center for Community Progress to reduce the city’s number of vacant, abandoned, and blighted properties in the city.

Southeast Louisiana faced another unprecedented disaster when the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded on April 2010, causing the largest oil spill in the nation’s history. The Foundation responded within days by opening the Gulf Coast Oil Spill Fund, designated for projects that would restore and strengthen the communities and environments affected by the disaster. Donations poured in from around the world and were channeled into millions of dollars in grant assistance over the next three years. Recognizing that a full 44 percent of our region’s residents live in threatened coastal parishes, addressing both the short-term and long-term needs of these residents–and the environment upon which we all depend–is one of the Foundation’s top priorities.

Most recently, the Foundation’s Coastal 5+1 Initiative has been helping the region’s coastal parishes and the City of New Orleans identify and implement immediate, concrete solutions to long-term problems created by marginalized economies, poor planning, and environmental degradation. Today, GNOF manages more than 700 funds devoted to charitable, environmental, cultural, and economic development purposes. As one of the oldest and largest philanthropic organizations in the region, we’re proud of our investments in creating a thriving community for all.

Today, GNOF manages more than 700 funds devoted to charitable, environmental, cultural, and economic development purposes. As one of the oldest and largest philanthropic organizations in the region, we’re proud of our investments in creating a thriving community for all.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Young Creative Agency

Location: New Orleans, LA

Website: www.youngcreativeagency.org

Young Creative Agency is a youth design studio that pays teens an hourly wage to work after school and during the summer on digital media and graphic design commissions from local businesses and individuals under the tutelage of experienced mentors. Teens will be empowered by the process of project-based learning, mentorship, client conferencing, and a fair hourly wage. Clients will receive a polished product with a philanthropic lean.

Low-income New Orleans teens are not exposed to digital media training that will prepare them to compete in the creative tech economy. Youth in New Orleans are four times more likely to live in poverty and drop out of school without a HS diploma than elsewhere in the US. There is no public access to job training programs in digital media for teens; only 7 public high schools offer any digital media curriculum. GNO is the fastest growing digital media sector in the US with 10,000+ workers required by 2023. There are 10,000+ job openings nationally in this field right now.