FFL Awards Grants for Resident-Led Policy Change
2013 policy grants support advocacy work in transportation, criminal justice, and housing and blight.
New Orleans, LA (September 25, 2013) – Foundation for Louisiana (FFL) has awarded grants totaling $97,000 to three New Orleans nonprofit organizations, to support projects that will improve the quality of life for vulnerable persons and neighborhoods in New Orleans. The grants are part of the first year of the foundation’s TOGETHER initiative, which trains New Orleans neighborhood and community leaders in catalyzing change in their own communities, and supports policy-changing projects developed by the community leaders themselves.
This year’s funded policy projects focus on three policy areas – criminal justice, housing and blight and transportation.
- A $20,000 grant to a partnership led by Families and Friends of Louisiana’s Incarcerated Children (FFLIC) will support strategies to address the problem of the “school-to-prison pipeline.” The funding will help partners train parents, students and community advocates to propose changes to disciplinary policies at schools targeted by the project, in order to reduce the number of students who drop out or are pushed out of school and are eventually incarcerated. FFLIC’s partners on the project include the Juvenile Justice Project of Louisiana, Puentes New Orleans, Students for Education Reform, Kids Rethink New Orleans Schools, and the Justice and Accountability Center of Louisiana.
- A $27,000 grant to a partnership including Broadmoor Development Corporation, New Zion City Preservation Association, Inc. and Miller Urban Consulting will support a pilot project to address blight in New Orleans’ Zion City neighborhood. The partners will develop strategies to overcome tax and title hurdles in “weak market” neighborhoods, such as Zion City, where back taxes and code enforcement liens further reduce interest in property investment or redevelopment. The goal is to use the lessons learned in Zion City to develop strategies and how-to information for use by other weak-market neighborhoods in New Orleans and beyond.
- A $50,000 grant over two years to a partnership led by Ride New Orleans will support work to engage the city’s bus, streetcar and ferry riders in efforts to improve public transit in New Orleans. Among aspects of the work: developing a Transit Riders’ Bill of Rights, forming a Riders’ Advisory Committee to advise the Regional Transit Authority (RTA), and ensuring that the RTA’s upcoming planning around late-night service reflects the needs of the city’s low-wage, late evening workers. Ride New Orleans’ partners in the project include the Gentilly Civic Improvement Association, Bunny Friend Neighborhood Association, New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice/STAND with Dignity, and the Women’s Caucus of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1560.
“Foundation for Louisiana is built on the core belief that the people of Louisiana have the wisdom to know how best to improve their own lives and those of their families and neighbors,” said Foundation for Louisiana President and CEO Flozell Daniels, Jr. “Our TOGETHER Initiative, including these three projects, provides a path for wise community leaders to translate their knowledge and experience into action. The result – transformative policy changes that will uplift and bring equity to distressed neighborhoods and communities.”
Participants in this year’s TOGETHER Initiative included more than 40 neighborhood and nonprofit representatives, many of whom represented neighborhoods in or near the city’s Claiborne Corridor, in keeping with a foundation goal to ensure that millions of public, private and philanthropic dollars being invested in the corridor’s redevelopment create long-term community benefits for residents and small businesses of the area. Foundation for Louisiana plans to launch the next year of the TOGETHER initiative in January 2014, building on lessons learned from the pilot year of the program.
The TOGETHER initiative includes three phases:
- LEAD (Leadership, Engagement, Advocacy and Development) Community Training Program – neighborhood and nonprofit leaders participate in advocacy and outreach training workshops over several weeks;
- Equity Caucus – participants meet in working groups to identify key community-level issues and strategies that shape specific proposals to address those issues; and
- Grant cycle and implementation phase – proposals shaped by participants during the Equity Caucus phase are considered and selected to receive funding and move into implementation.
- Foundation for Louisiana’s TOGETHER Initiative is supported through funding from The Convergence Partnership, Ford Foundation, the Greater New Orleans Foundation, JP Morgan Chase, Surdna Foundation and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.
The mission of Foundation for Louisiana is to invest in people and practices that work to reduce vulnerability and build stronger, more sustainable communities statewide. For video comments from representatives of the organizations that received funding, visit https://vimeo.com/user9730098/review/79496405/78b2138626
Published September 23, 2013