Community & Economic Development

All of our grant making, low-interest lending, convening and knowledge creation has one major goal: to increase economic opportunity among Louisiana’s most vulnerable communities. In our early days, this goal was focused on south Louisiana, in the areas hardest hit by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. As our mission shifted from recovery to include building resilience, Foundation for Louisiana has begun to expand its work beyond New Orleans and the Gulf Coast into Shreveport, the Delta region, Lake Charles and Lafayette. In all cases, we steer investments to communities that have fallen behind in recovery along with those that have suffered historic disinvestment long before the disasters of 2005.

The Community Investment Fund (formerly known as Program-Related Investments) has been a critical piece in supplying communities with the resources to launch large development projects that bring much-needed resources back into devastated areas. Since 2008, Foundation for Louisiana has provided approximately $3.6 million in loans to projects and initiatives such as affordable housing units, healthy food access hubs in underserved communities and co-working, and place-based initiatives where the cultural economy can thrive. Our policy working groups also strive to stimulate economic development at the grassroots level.

Projects We Support

Mardi Gras Indian Cultural Campus Project: Eyes on the Park

FFL program fellow Matty Williams served as the project manager for a joint proposal that resulted in a half-million dollar investment by ArtPlace to create a Mardi Gras Indian campus in uptown New Orleans. Click to read his explanation of the project's vision and impact.

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Rising Out of Homelessness

Helping people rise out of homelessness is one of the toughest challenges in the affordable housing arena. Every story of homelessness is heartbreaking; those of homeless veterans are especially tough.

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Unity of New Orleans is redeveloping this building into 109 units of affordable housing

Cultural Innovation District

The Cultural Innovation District (CID) is an exciting community development project to transform the space in a 19-block area — from Canal Street to St. Bernard Avenue — underneath the I-10 bridge. Built with green infrastructure, the CID will include a world-class market with arts, crafts, produce and seafood vendors, classrooms and exhibit space, interactive technology and education demonstrations and will be a site for youth programming, health, environmental and social services, community projects, workshops, and special events for the residents of the Claiborne Corridor. As a culture-based economic driver, the CID will support indigenous entrepreneurs and culture bearers in achieving their goals for equitable and sustainable community development.

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