Foundation Releases White Paper on the Role of Philanthropy in Gulf Coast Oil Spill Recovery

June 14, 2013

June 13, 2013 | New Orleans, LA – The Greater New Orleans Foundation, the regional community foundation responsible for raising and awarding significant philanthropic dollars following the Gulf Coast Oil spill, released a report identifying gaps in community needs that will go unmet by the federal recovery plan for the BP oil spill catastrophe.  The RESTORE Act ensures that 80 percent of Deepwater Horizon civil and administrative penalties will go to Gulf Coast restoration, and sets up a framework to enable coordination between the Gulf States and the Federal government. 

The report titled Where is the Role of Philanthropy in the RESTORE Act? acknowledges that the Act does provide support for environmental and economic recovery along the Gulf Coast, but does not provide for significant citizen participation in deciding how funds and projects are implemented in their communities.  Nor does it provide for an endowment to address long-term and emerging issues resulting from the spill.

“As we know from our community foundation partners in Alaska, ecological and human effects may not be realized for years,” said Marco Cocito-Monoc, Ph.D., director of regional initiatives at the Greater New Orleans Foundation.  “After the Exxon Valdez spill, fishermen enjoyed three years of herring harvests, totaling more than $20 million. Then the fish vanished and have not returned. That is why it is imperative to set aside dollars today for problems that may arise tomorrow.”

“Just as important as short-term relief is the strategy for addressing the long-term effects of this disaster,” said Albert Ruesga, president and CEO of the Greater New Orleans Foundation. “Real recovery means having impacted individuals at the table when decisions are being made about long-term solutions to the challenges. Ensuring this happens is the role of philanthropy and others.”

Where is the Role of Philanthropy in the RESTORE Act? includes contributions by Cocito-Monoc, Mark Davis, Director of the Tulane Institute on Water Resources Law and Policy, and author, John M. Barry and offers four recommendations: 

  • Establish a RESTORE Council citizen’s advisory committee,
  • Provide citizens with the tools they need to actively engage,
  • Set aside permanent, flexible funding for the unforeseen, and
  • Equip philanthropic organizations to address emerging community issues.

Download the Role of Philanthropy in the RESTORE Act here.

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