Environment

Louisiana’s coast is eroding at an alarming rate of approximately one football field per hour. Moreover, the Louisiana coast faces the highest rate of sea level rise worldwide, with New Orleans projected to be under water by 2100. Although there is general awareness of coastal issues like coastal erosion and sea level rise, there is...
Coastal-Issues

Louisiana’s coast is eroding at an alarming rate of approximately one football field per hour. Moreover, the Louisiana coast faces the highest rate of sea level rise worldwide, with New Orleans projected to be under water by 2100. Although there is general awareness of coastal issues like coastal erosion and sea level rise, there is a need to further educate coastal communities about these issues and how it affects them. Another reality is that government agencies have not effectively engaged coastal communities before developing policies and plans that affect these communities.

The Foundation envisions a thriving 13-parish Southeast Louisiana region that is educated about the issues and risks facing them due to coastal land loss and sea level rise. This awareness leads coastal communities to support coastal restoration and protection efforts and make informed decisions regarding actions they need to take based on the risks that they face. The Foundation envisions a state government that prioritizes coastal restoration and protection efforts while ensuring the vitality and safety of their constituent communities.

Strategy

Grantmaking

In order to achieve this vision, the Foundation, through its Environmental Fund, strives to support organizations that:

  • Deepen the knowledge of Southeast Louisiana communities that will be affected by coastal land loss and sea level rise on coastal issues and various coastal restoration and protection efforts
  • Help government agencies engage more effectively with at-risk coastal communities in Southeast Louisiana
  • Advocate on a parish and state level to ensure that:
    • Coastal restoration remains a funding priority
    • Coastal communities, especially underserved populations, are harmed as little as possible due to coastal restoration and protection activities and that these populations are properly engaged in planning these activities
    • Coastal restoration and protection activities are science- and data-based
  • Serve as a watchdog to track the state and federal funding flows involving BP oil spill reparations and coastal restoration and ensure accountability and efficiency
  • Start the conversation about how to plan for and execute future transitions among policymakers, government practitioners, and at-risk coastal communities, and, when appropriate, help coastal communities adapt to such transitions

The Foundation provides grants in the form of operating support, programmatic support, and technical assistance. It recognizes that various community-based organizations that are doing critical work in the coast need the flexibility that operating support funds provide.

Technical Assistance

Aside from the funding support the Foundation provides to nonprofit organizations working on the Gulf Coast, the Foundation helps build the capacity of these organizations through its Organizational Effectiveness work. The Foundation has provided technical assistance funds and staff support for the following organizations since 2015:

  • BISCO – to perform organizational planning (2015) and leadership transition planning (2016)
  • Lower Ninth Ward Center for Sustainable Engagement and Development – to go through a strategic planning process (2016)
  • United Houma Nation – to provide leadership coaching (2016)
  • Woodlands Conservancy – to provide marketing and social media support (2016)

Hear from Donald Bogen, Organizer for GNOF Grantee BISCO

Hear from Mark Davis, Director of GNOF Grantee Tulane Institute on Water Resources Law and Policy

Equity in Action

By serving as a convener, GNOF has helped raise the voices of important nonprofit and community-based organizations during civic processes.

In early 2017, GNOF convened a group of 11 coastal community-based and environmental advocacy organizations to come to a consensus on their recommendations and questions regarding the draft of the 2017 Coastal Master Plan. The group met in January and February to discuss where these organizations all agree regarding to the 2017 Coastal Master Plan. The group’s initial comments were presented to the Planning Team of the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) in March. There was a productive discussion between the nonprofits and state representatives. After the March meeting, the nonprofits finalized their recommendations, questions, and concerns regarding the 2017 draft Coastal Master Plan and outlined it in a document that GNOF submitted to the CPRA on behalf of the group. The Foundation supported the group’s comments, which included comments on flood risk reduction, Master Plan project selection, and community outreach and engagement.

GNOF went through a similar process in February 2018 when it convened ten community-based organizations and environmental nonprofits to come to consensus on recommendations and questions regarding the draft of the draft FY 2019 CPRA Annual Plan. The group met in early February and submitted comments to the CPRA that same month.

Grants

$20,000 to United Houma Nation for leadership development and tribal training on coastal issues and effective decision-making in order to increase the tribe’s capacity and confidence in engaging in coastal issues.

$20,000 to Bayou Grace to expand local volunteer restoration engagement and engage residents in education activities on land loss, coastal restoration, and hazard preparation.

$20,000 to Bayou Interfaith Sponsoring Committee to fund general operating expenses as well as community convening, organizing, advocacy, and strategic partnership activities around coastal restoration and protection.

$20,000 to Louisiana Appleseed to implement education and advocacy activities that will streamline and review the system to remove legal hurdles involving title clearing in coastal communities.

$20,000 to Lower Ninth Ward – Center for Sustainable Engagement and Development to (a) create and launch a residential and community coalition that will engage the Lower Ninth Ward community in a restoration and ecosystems project designed to protect and enhance targeted species, landscape, and water systems for the betterment of the Lower Ninth Ward and (b) create the Lower Ninth Ward Neighborhood Resiliency Program with training workshops focused on environmental and water management education.

$20,000 to Southeast Louisiana Legal Services to convene Isle de Jean Charles tribe leaders to develop an advocacy strategy and work plan to achieve the tribe’s goals and provide leadership training.

$30,000 to WWNO to operate the Coastal Desk