Our mission is to create a thriving community for all.
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 the people and the place is preserved, celebrated, and supported.
Recognizing that New Orleans is more than a city—it is an interconnected region—our mission encompasses 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 see ourselves as the region's gravitational center, pulling together people, ideas, and resources; serving as a champion of civil society and civil solutions; and supporting the effectiveness of nonprofit leaders and organizations.
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.
Through our partnership with the community, we help to develop the effectiveness of the region's nonprofit sector—guiding national foundations who wish to invest in our community; connecting donors with nonprofit leaders and the strategic issues they face; and coordinating diverse efforts for optimal impact.
A history of rising to the occasion
Since our founding by forward-looking leaders in 1983, the Foundation has grown from scarcely $4 million in assets to more than $214 million in assets—and 700 donor funds—today. Our growth has resulted, in large part, from our response to unprecedented challenges. Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, for example, devastated the region, but also prompted an outpouring of support 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 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 9,000 housing units.
We also worked with the City of New Orleans, the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority, and the Center for Community Progress to reduce the city's 43,000 vacant, abandoned, and blighted properties.
Southeast Louisiana faced another unprecedented disaster when the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded in 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 support 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% 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 will empower the region's five coastal parishes and Orleans in identifying and implementing 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.