Despite Tough Economic Times, Seven Local Nonprofits Open Endowments

New Orleans, LA | November 30, 2012 — The Greater New Orleans Foundation is pleased to announce that seven local nonprofit organizations successfully completed the Richard West Freeman Endowment Challenge and raised enough dollars to open an endowment at the Foundation. The Freeman Challenge matches one dollar for every two dollars raised by participating nonprofits for the purpose of  opening an endowment to ensure their financial stability.

“We salute the nonprofit organizations that successfully met the Freeman Challenge because raising money is hard in these tough economic times and raising endowment dollars is even more difficult,” said Alice Parkerson, vice president for development at the Greater New Orleans Foundation. “Because nonprofit organizations have so many immediate needs, donors often want to help meet today’s needs, not tomorrow’s.” A study conducted by the Foundation found that many local nonprofits do not have enough cash to weather inevitable downturns in the economy. In fact, nearly half of the respondents reported that they have less than a three-month reserve of “rainy days funds.”

The following seven nonprofit organizations collectively raised over $150,000 and were matched with $75,000 by the Freeman Challenge: Communities in Schools, Choice Foundation/Lafayette Academy, Kids Rethink New Orleans Schools, Metropolitan Center for Women and Children, Terrebonne Historical and Cultural Society, and Woodlands Conservancy.

Established in 1999 by the Freeman family, in partnership with the Greater New Orleans Foundation, the Freeman Challenge has awarded over $250,000 to help establish endowments for 13 local organizations.

“Our job at the foundation is to grow the endowed dollars entrusted to us,” explained Ryan Crespino, vice president for finance. “We invest the principal and a percentage of the earnings of the fund balance goes back to the nonprofits every year.” The principal can never be invaded, but the interest that grows over time can help supplement a nonprofit’s operating reserves.

“The Freeman Challenge is an opportunity to discipline ourselves to plan for and protect the future health of the organizations we lead,” said Julia Bland, executive director of the Louisiana Children’s Museum, and one of the first Freeman Challenge participants. LCM’s endowment was opened with $20,000 plus a match of $10,000 from the Freeman Challenge. With additional contributions to their endowment, plus earnings, the fund balance has grown to $122,000 today.

“We are forever grateful to the Freeman family for their foresight,” says Parkerson. “Building stronger nonprofits today will make for a stronger community tomorrow.”

To learn more about participating in the Freeman Challenge in 2013, please sign-up for the GNOF’s newsletter at

About the Greater New Orleans Foundation

The Greater New Orleans Foundation is the community foundation serving the 13-parish Greater New Orleans region. We design and lead initiatives that improve the region, connect donors to community needs, identify and support great nonprofits, and strengthen civil society.