New Orleans, LA | May 1, 2013 – The Greater New Orleans Foundation announced two new strategic grants to help jumpstart distressed neighborhoods from its Community Revitalization program, the Foundation’s nationally-recognized and award-winning housing and blight reduction initiative. “So many of our neighborhoods are rich with potential, but because resources are limited, we have to carefully target our investments to ones that offer the greatest impact both financially and socially,” said Ellen Lee, senior vice president of programs for the Greater New Orleans Foundation who oversees the Foundation’s Community Revitalization program.
Since its inception in 2007, the program has provided housing for over 9,000 families and awarded a total of $21 million to over 50 organizations. “As this grantmaking portion of this work comes to a close, we are grateful to the national and local donors who have made this work possible over the past six years,” said Lee.
A recent grant was given to the Center for Community Progress (CP) in the amount of $125,000. “CP has a track record of success in identifying innovative approaches to reducing blight and restoring market viability in neighborhoods,” said Lee, who several years ago brought together CP with the City of New Orleans and the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority (NORA) to streamline the city’s processes for code enforcement and vacant land management which reduced blight by 3,615 properties in 15 months.
With the new grant, CP will continue to work with the City of New Orleans and NORA to identify innovative ways to dispose of vacant and abandoned properties. “Using comparable data on up-and-coming neighborhoods we can make timely and strategic investment decisions,” said Nicole Heymann, a local expert on vacant and blighted properties with CP and director for New Orleans Vacant Properties Iniative.
A second new Community Revitalization grant of $100,000 was awarded to the Broadmoor Development Corporation (BDC). Created in 2006 by the Broadmoor Improvement Association, the Broadmoor Development Corporation spearheaded the recovery of the neighborhood’s residential properties after the devastating floods of 2005 reducing housing renovation costs for over 28% of the neighborhood and assisting nearly 1,000 households with renovation resources. Due to these efforts, Broadmoor boasts a recovery rate of 86%. This work has been recognized locally and nationally as a model for disaster recovery. With most of the neighborhood recovery complete, BDC has shifted its focus to renovation and development activities within the neighborhood’s poorest census tract, tract 103, which includes the Andrew H. Wilson Charter School and the Rosa F. Keller Library and Community Center.
“Strategic revitalization is investing in housing adjacent to schools and community centers,” said Isabel Barrios, program officer with the Foundation, who works closely with developers, government officials, and nonprofit leaders to leverage investment to revitalize neighborhoods. “We’re creating a healthy cluster that will radiate out and spur additional revitalization.”
Additionally, because BDC will be able to pay back the Foundation’s $100,000 investment once the rental revenue is in place, the $100,000 grant is recoverable by the Greater New Orleans Foundation. These resources will then be used to jumpstart another project in another neighborhood.
“We are grateful for the support of the Community Revitalization fund at the Greater New Orleans Foundation, which has helped Broadmoor to recover much more quickly and thoroughly than would otherwise have been possible,” said Santiago “Chago” Burgos, executive director of the Broadmoor Development Corporation. “The way to raise the quality of life for all Broadmoor residents is to target redevelopment in the areas where help is the most needed.”
For a complete listing of all Community Revitalization grants, please visit dev.gnof.org/recent-grantees.