OUR MISSION

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 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.

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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 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.

A history of rising to the occasion

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 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, the 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. View our work here.

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Contact the page author Julia MacMullan