We believe a philanthropist is a person who donates time, money, experience, skills, or talent to help create a better world. Anyone can be a philanthropist, regardless of status or net worth.
What Is Emerging Philanthropists of New Orleans?
Following a dinner conversation in 2008, a group of young professionals in the Greater New Orleans area created the first EPNO giving circle. That group raised funds and recruited the giving circles to come. In 2011, EPNO was codified with a mission to inspire and educate young community members to become effective, strategic, and lifelong philanthropists. EPNO has over 475 alumni who have gone through the program.
How are Greater New Orleans Foundation and EPNO working together?
In March 2023, the Greater New Orleans Foundation officially welcomed EPNO to the Foundation’s family, creating a longstanding relationship that will welcome Southeast Louisiana’s next generation of philanthropists. This strategic partnership represents an important step to build upon EPNO’s 12-year history of successes while strengthening the program to be more sustainable and impactful in the future.
EPNO’s Board of Directors worked tirelessly to identify the right partner to work with in honoring EPNO’s rich history and mission to:
- Inspire and educate community members to become effective, lifelong philanthropists
- Impact the Greater New Orleans region through grantmaking to impactful nonprofits
- Connect leaders with each other and the community
How it Works
EPNO uses the Giving Circle model to bring together individuals in the Greater New Orleans region to collaboratively and collectively make changes in their communities by learning and giving together. EPNO separates each year’s class into smaller groups—or impact teams—to focus on building participants’ skills and knowledge base in nonprofit mission areas each participant has previously identified. The impact teams gather as a class to attend series of educational sessions, with topics such as “Grantmaking 101,” and learn from expert guest speakers from the community.
Through a high-engagement, six-month program, local emerging leaders are connected with other emerging leaders, nonprofits, and the greater community to positively impact our region through granting funds to organizations tackling some of our toughest problems. A founding principal of EPNO, and something that EPNO participants understand, is that anyone can be a philanthropist regardless of their status or net worth.
In their groups, session participants review proposals from nonprofits in the Greater New Orleans area seeking support, conduct site visits, and decide how to allocate funds. Grants that EPNO makes to organizations are flexible in giving to direct service and general operating projects and are often the first grant a new organization will receive. Giving circle participant fees are matched by sponsorships and alumni contributions to make a pool of funds.
Why This Is Important Work
By sharing the knowledge and awareness of philanthropy and community, the goals of giving circles are to encourage members to be active participants in their community and inspire them to give strategically throughout their lives. The giving circle model provides a way for EPNO to support grassroots organizations by scaling which also helps to build stronger organizations.