Newsweek Article Recognizes Baton Rouge Area Foundation
In a special issue about Americans helping others, Newsweek's July 10, 2006 issue acknowledged the Baton Rouge Area Foundation on a list of nonprofits that raised the most for Katrina relief. At $41.5 million, the Foundation ranked No. 8 in a list of top 10 nonprofits raising money for hurricane relief. The seven organizations ranked ahead of the Foundation were all national charities, including the United Way of America, Red Cross, and Catholic Charities USA.
Displaced Residents Fund Issues Additional Grants
On May 18th, the Baton Rouge Area Foundation issued the seventh set of grants from the Hurricane Katrina Displaced Residents Fund, totaling $857,485. To date, approximately $5.7 million has been issued from the fund to organizations working to assist people impacted by the storm. Through May, the Foundation has received over $41 million in contributions for all relief funds. Through 3,068 grants, more than $18.9 million has been disbursed, including $7.1 million from employer-sponsored assistance programs. For details of all grants issued from the Displaced Residents Fund, click here.
The eight grants issued in this round represent the diverse and far-reaching long-term effects of Hurricane Katrina. The Baton Rouge Area Foundation granted ACORN Housing $150,000 to offer housing counseling to displaced residents. To the Capital Area Family Violence Intervention Center, we awarded $76,500 in support of its work with abused and displaced women and their children. Catholic Community Services received $171,750 for a project titled Drive Away Disaster, aimed at providing displaced families with reliable vehicles. We granted $149,175 to The Center, Inc., an organization that provides adult health care services for elderly and disabled evacuees. The Idyllwild Arts Foundation, located in Idyllwild, California, received a grant of $46,980 to include 12 displaced children from our community in the organization's summer arts program. Pointe Coupee Better Access Community Health received a grant of $46,480, in continued support of the agency's efforts on behalf of the displaced community. We awarded The Urban Restoration Enhancement Corporation with a grant of $116,600 to extend its rental, utility, and case management services over the next twelve months. Finally, the YWCA received a grant of $100,000 to provide displaced families with quality literacy services.
Charrettes throughout Louisiana Generate Plans
Charrettes conducted by Duany Plater-Zyberk & Company as a part of the Louisiana Recovery Authority's planning efforts are yielding concrete plans for the recovery of south Louisiana. Duany Plater-Zyberk & Company is one of four firms hired by the LRA Fund/Support Foundation to create comprehensive recovery plans for those areas devastated by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
Numerous updates on the charrettes can be found on the News page of this site.
A resolution passed by the Lake Charles City Council regarding the charrette process can be viewed here.
Additional information on the LRA Fund/Support Foundation can be found in a letter from John Davies, and on their web site (www.lrasupportfoundation.org).
Renaissance Village Work Featured in New York Times
The work of Sister Judith Brun through the Baton Rouge Area Foundation at Renaissance Village in Baker, Louisiana, was featured in an article on the front page of the National Section of the New York Times on June 1, 2006. Shaila Dewan writes:
Child health experts and advocates for evacuees say that Baker, on the outskirts of Baton Rouge, is not unique. Throughout the areas where hurricane evacuees ended up, they say, are pockets where education has fallen by the wayside, raising the possibility that thousands of children could become permanent dropouts. More alarming, said Sister Judith Brun, who works with children at Renaissance Village through the Baton Rouge Area Foundation, is that the problem is not limited to high school students. "I think the big reason is that school has not engaged them, not comforted and motivated them," she said. "They all had terrible stories racing around in their heads. "Since many of the parents did not graduate from high school, the children's relationship to school was already tenuous, Sister Judith said. "Any breeze is adequate to keep them out of school, any vicissitude."
To read the entire New York Times Article, click here.
PricewaterhouseCoopers Releases Healthcare Report
On April 26, 2006, the Public Health and Hospitals Task Force of the Louisiana Recovery Authority (LRA) received a comprehensive report on Louisiana's healthcare system in the aftermath of hurricanes Katrina and Rita, including recommendations for improving the quality of healthcare for all Louisianans and strengthening the safety net system of care for the poor and uninsured.
The 244-page report, drafted by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP for the LRA Support Foundation, addresses three critical areas: emergency preparedness and disaster recovery; healthcare workforce and medical education needs, especially in areas of highest devastation; and design of a health system that will ensure equal access to quality care for all Louisianans. Because restoring and improving the health care system in the areas most heavily affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita is broadly connected to the overall structure of Louisiana's healthcare financing and delivery systems, the PwC report makes recommendations in those areas.
"In the wake of this enormous disaster, Louisiana has an obligation to restore a high quality healthcare system that meets the needs of all our of citizens in our devastated communities," said Dr. Mary Ella Sanders, chair of the Public Health and Healthcare Task Force of the Louisiana Recovery Authority. "But we have another obligation as well: to redesign and improve the health care delivery system as we rebuild the damaged structures, just as the state is doing with the public schools in New Orleans. Because much of Louisiana's public hospital and medical education systems are anchored in the hurricane-affected areas and because redesigning and improving systems in those areas has statewide implications and financing requirements, this report sets forth a bold agenda and calls on all stakeholders of our health care system to embrace the possibility of change as we strive to achieve equity, quality and affordability in healthcare and continued excellence in medical education."
To download a copy of the LRA Press Release detailing the announcement of the report, click here.
To download a full copy of the PWC Report, click here.
Avon Foundation Establishes Domestic Violence Relief Fund
In the wake of Hurricane Katrina there has been a measurable increase in the number and severity of incidences of domestic violence towards women. This trend has been well documented in the press and is thought to be exacerbated by the multiple stresses caused by the Hurricane and the recovery process. Compounding matters, the Hurricane destroyed most of the infrastructure for offering help to family violence victims. Women don't know where to call for help, as many domestic violence help line numbers have changed or are inactive, and two of the area's largest shelters for battered women remain closed.
To address this need, the Avon Foundation has established the Avon Foundation Hurricane Katrina Domestic Violence Relief Fund at the Baton Rouge Area Foundation, which will provide critical, temporary support to the nonprofit organizations of the Greater Baton Rouge area who are working to assist victims of domestic violence. All recipient organizations receiving these grants will be notified that they were made possible by monies from the Avon Foundation. The Baton Rouge Area Foundation will use its established network of professional evaluators to identify and qualify eligible recipient organizations. Grants in amounts up to $25,000 will be awarded, with funding levels dependent on the nature and scope of the organization's programs.
With Two-Thirds of Katrina Funds Spent, Many Challenges Remain, Survey Finds
Six months after Hurricane Katrina battered the Gulf Coast, charities and relief agencies have disbursed more than $2 billion of the almost $3.3 billion they raised for the storm's victims, leaving less than $1 billion to help hundreds of thousands of people rebuild their lives, the Washington Post reports.
According to a Post survey, two-thirds of the $3.27 billion raised by nonprofit organizations went to assist evacuees and other Katrina victims with immediate needs, including food, temporary shelter, medical care, tarps for damaged homes, and school supplies for displaced children. The survey revealed that the American Red Cross has distributed roughly 84 percent of its Katrina and Rita funds, with 50 cents of each donated dollar handed out in the form of emergency cash assistance. The survey also found that 56 percent of the donations that have not been spent are controlled by faith-based organizations, including Catholic Charities USA, the Salvation Army, the United Methodist Committee on Relief, and United Jewish Communities.
What remains to be done in New Orleans and the rest of the region goes well beyond the costs of rebuilding infrastructure, however, with some estimates putting the long-term tally at $200 billion, not all of which will come from the federal government. "There are many, many needs that the federal government cannot cover," said Don Powell, a former Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. chairman whom President Bush selected in November to coordinate the region's long-term recovery. Many of those needs involve "the crucial part of life that we all depend on," Powell added. "It's not public works. It's not water, sewage, or utilities. It's the soul of our life."
Unfortunately, the line between federal responsibility and what the private sector can and should do is blurred. Even though some Gulf Coast residents are eligible for federal assistance for replacement housing costs, many others don't qualify. And the law that governs federal spending after a disaster strictly limits how much can go to private entities such as places of worship, arts groups, mental health service providers, youth programs, and child-care centers, leaving many charities bracing for the hard decisions they will have to make as they spend what is left.
In an effort to confront these issues head on, the Baton Rouge Area Foundation has hired a team of planners and consultants at a cost of $15 million to devise a blueprint for development in southern Louisiana, a task normally undertaken by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The foundation also is spending $1.2 million on consultants to map out a regional healthcare system.
Salmon, Jacqueline. Smith, Leef. “Two-Thirds of Katrina Donations Exhausted.” Washington Post 2/27/06.
Baton Rouge Area Foundation Listed in Top Ten Katrina Fundraisers
In a survey published February 23, 2006 in The Chronicle of Philanthropy, the Baton Rouge Area Foundation is listed as one of the top 10 charities raising funds for hurricane relief, at $34 million. Since the data for that survey was collected, funds raised by the foundation have increased to $41.5 million.
Here is the complete list the charities that have raised at least $10-million for Katrina relief, along with their donation figures as if February, 2006:
American Red Cross (Washington): $2.12-billion
Salvation Army (Alexandria, Va.): $325-million
Catholic Charities USA (Washington): $154.46-million
Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund: $110-million
Habitat for Humanity (Americus, Ga.): more than $95-million
United Methodist Committee on Relief (New York): $62.37-million
United Way of America (Alexandria, Va.): $45.8-million
Samaritan's Purse (Boone, N.C.): $36.89-million
Baton Rouge Area Foundation (La.): $34-million
America's Second Harvest (Chicago): $29.59-million
United Jewish Communities (New York): $28.5-million
Humane Society of the United States (Washington): $25-million
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (Chicago): $23-million
Southern Baptist Convention Disaster Relief (Alpharetta, Ga.): $20.1-million
AmeriCares Foundation (Stamford, Conn.): $15-million
Foundation for the Mid South (Jackson, Miss.): $11.6-million
World Vision (Federal Way, Wash.): $10.9-million
Mercy Corps (Portland, Ore.): $10-million
AmeriCares & Baton Rouge Area Foundation Announce Mental Health Grant Program
Following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, AmeriCares deployed a response team to the affected areas to determine the need in impacted communities, and has shipped over eight million dollars worth of medicines and supplies to shelters and clinics. As part of their longer-term recovery effort, they have partnered with the Baton Rouge Area Foundation to develop a grant program to support local mental health providers in recovery efforts in their own communities.
This grant program seeks to fund projects that will restore and strengthen the capacity of mental health providers to better serve the population of the Gulf region. Local, state-wide, or regional not-for-profit mental health organizations in Louisiana whose programs directly benefit impacted individuals and communities. The work of the applicant must focus on mental health direct services. Organizations must be established as a 501( c) (3). The Foundation will not consider grants for individuals, research, or policy related projects.
The Foundation will give preference to projects by organizations responding to unmet needs in local communities. A strong emphasis will be placed on organizations demonstrating collaborative efforts with other providers. Applicants may request support for project staff salaries and benefits, office operations, equipment, and other direct expenses essential to the implementation of the program. Indirect costs, not to exceed 10% of direct expenses, may be requested. The Foundation expects to award 15-25 one-year grants valued up to $100,000.
For complete details on the program, including the Request for Proposal and Application form, click here.