When more people have more opportunities, we all benefit.
For too many New Orleanians, saving money and building generational wealth is out of reach and this creates an obstacle to our progress. According to a 2018 Prosperity Now report on The Racial Wealth Divide in New Orleans, median income among African American households is $25,806, while the median income of white households is $64,377. If the Greater New Orleans Region is to thrive, we must create more opportunities for families and individuals to realize their full economic potential through meaningful employment, paths to affordable home-ownership, savings and investments, financial education and counseling, and small business growth and development.
Building Strong Financial Education and Coaching Programs
Supported by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, our Economic Opportunity Community of Practice (EO CoP) brings together a cohort of nonprofits to receive training and technical assistance from The Financial Clinic, an organization with a coaching and training practice that has successfully worked with families and individuals to build financial security by addressing their immediate financial challenges and helping them set long-term goals to achieve financial mobility. The EO CoP organizations provide striving families with financial education, tools, and resources to become more self-sufficient. In addition to training with The Financial Clinic, EO CoP members receive technical assistance that includes financial analysis to understand the organization’s financial health; staff support to interpret the financial analysis, and a plan wto bolster the organization’s financial health.
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Advocating for Opportunity
We support the work of local advocates through an advocate-led Community of Practice started with substantial support from the Kresge Foundation. The advocate-led CoP was started by member organizations of our Advocacy Forum, which was begun in 2015. The purpose of our Advocacy Forum is to increase the strength and connections of the people and organizations working to create communities that promote equity and access to opportunity. The Advocacy Forum meets throughout the year for legislative briefings, workshops, and information sessions about the work of advocates in the area, and the advocate-led CoP convenes on a bi-monthly basis.
Strengthening Nonprofits that are Committed to Increasing Economic Opportunity
As in other program areas, the Foundation supports investments in nonprofit leadership and effectiveness among nonprofits working in the field of economic development.
Increasing and Securing Housing Opportunities
The Greater New Orleans Foundation created the Community Revitalization Fund (CR Fund), a five-year initiative in partnership with national and local foundations after Hurricane Katrina. The CR Fund supported housing production, increased the capacity of community development organizations, promoted equitable and sustainable rebuilding, and increased GNOF’s capacity as a leader in community revitalization. Ultimately, the CR Fund raised $23 million, made 75 different grants to 59 grantees over a period of seven years, supporting the production of 9,378 units of affordable housing. For more information about the CR Fund, please visit the site of the fund’s final evaluation at crfnola.org.
Since the sunset of the CR Fund, we have focused our investments on increasing affordable housing opportunities through advocacy for better affordable housing policy and programs, and through our support for financial education and coaching programs that prepare prospective homeowners so that they are better positioned to achieve their goals.
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