In the News: These Black-led organizations in New Orleans will get part of $1M fund to boost racial equity

Jessica Williams, • February 1, 2021

The Greater New Orleans Foundation is awarding $1 million to 28 Black-led organizations in New Orleans in a bid to aid work to end institutional racism and close racial wealth gaps.

The grants come from the foundation’s racial equity fund, which launched in November and was recently bolstered by a $1 million contribution from social media titan Facebook.

The fund has awarded $1.45 million thus far under a multi-year plan that will eventually double that amount. It targets Black-led nonprofits that provide housing, that support minority businesses and that use other strategies to help build wealth for Black families.

“These organizations are working on the front lines to eliminate unfair and inequitable systems as well as to build wealth in Black communities.” GNOF President and CEO Andy Kopplin said. “We’re grateful to Facebook and our other investors for helping our region lead the way in creating an equitable future for all.”

Grants ranged from $20,000 to $50,000. Recipients include:

  • Groundwork New Orleans
  • Sankofa CDC
  • Ashé Cultural Arts Center
  • Junebug Productions Inc.
  • New Orleans African American Museum
  • No Dream Deferred NOLA
  • ACLU of Louisiana
  • Families and Friends of Louisiana’s Incarcerated Children
  • TrainingGrounds Inc.
  • Daughters Beyond Incarceration
  • Ellis Marsalis Center for Music
  • Our Voice Nuestra Voz
  • The 1881 Research Institute Center for Sustainable Engagement and Development
  • Made in New Orleans Foundation
  • Grow Dat Youth Farm
  • Birthmark Doula Collective
  • Familias Unidas en Acción
  • House of Tulip
  • Jane Place Neighborhood Sustainability Initiative
  • Louisiana Fair Housing Action Center
  • Operation Restoration
  • The First 72+
  • Home by Hand, Inc.
  • Thrive New Orleans
  • Ujamaa Economic Development Corporation
  • Citizen SHE
  • Corporate Internship Leadership Institute

In an earlier round of awards in fall 2020, the foundation issued $150,000 each to Good Work Network, Power Coalition, and the Urban League of Louisiana.

Bahiy Watson, founder and executive director of The 1881 Institute, said the funds will help his organization realize its mission of helping minority students enter engineering and manufacturing careers.

The organization runs in-school and after-school programs for kids and teens, and offers design fellowships and workforce training for older students.

“What we are looking to do is get them access, see if they can complete projects and be independent thinkers,” he said. “As we get to the higher levels, our success is whether or not we were able to get them into a career, or into school.”

ACLU of Louisiana Executive Director Alanah Odoms said her organization will spend its award on a program that represents victims of unlawful policing. Under it, people can request an attorney if they have been pulled over for “driving while black,” have had their cars searched unlawfully, or have been beaten.

“It means a ton to be able to have local support for this kind of racial justice initiative,” said Odoms, the first Black woman to lead the ACLU’s Louisiana branch in its 65-year history.

Over the past five years, more than 87% of GNOF’s discretionary grantmaking has supported Black communities, while one-third of its discretionary grants have gone to Black-led organizations, the foundation’s board chairperson Leann Moses said.

“We want to thank Facebook and other major donors to the Greater Together Fund. Their support for this important work will help us create a stronger and more just community for all of us,” she said.

From “These Black-led organizations in New Orleans will get part of $1M fund to boost racial equity”,, Jessica Williams, January 29, 2021