News from the Greater New Orleans Foundation
Special Edition: Anniversary of Hurricanes Katrina and Ida

Greater Good News

A Letter from our CEO & President, Andy Kopplin
Dear Friends,
A year ago today, Hurricane Ida made landfall in Louisiana. Seventeen years ago, Hurricane Katrina hit. These are difficult anniversaries, and we continue to mourn those we have lost and do our best to honor their legacies with the work we do today.
From my vantage point, one thing is clear: this region is strong in the face of disaster. Just as happened after Katrina, after Hurricane Ida hit, our Foundation rose to the occasion. Our donors met staggering need with extraordinary and swift generosity. Our nonprofits met individuals and families devastated by loss with empathy and innovation. 

In today’s newsletter, we reflect on our disaster response and recovery and re-commit to the work of creating a vibrant, sustainable, and just region for all. I am confident that together we can meet these challenges, and I am grateful that you are a part of this community.

With appreciation,

Hurricane Ida Impact Report

We are proud to announce the launch of our Hurricane Ida Impact Report website which details the Foundation's investment of over $5 million in grants for community organizations working on the front lines in the days, weeks, and months following Hurricane Ida. None of this would have been possible without the incredible generosity of the people of our region. We are proud to share stories about our extraordinary grantees and the incredible donors who together made such a difference for so many of our neighbors as part of the Foundation's response.  

Foundation Awards $225,000 to
Habitat for Humanity Rebuilding Project

Today, New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity is celebrating the first home built through its Rebuilding Program in the Town of Jean Lafitte.  At the event, residents, Jefferson Parish President Cynthia Lee Sheng, and other community leaders will write notes of encouragement for the new homeowner on the studs of the fortified home being built, which will be the first of dozens. 

In February, the Foundation awarded $75,000 towards Habitat's Hurricane Ida Rebuilding initiative. 

Today, we are proud to announce the Greater New Orleans Foundation is awarding Habitat with an additional $150,000, half of which will further mobilize efforts in Lafitte. In addition to construction, the program will pay Lafitte residents who currently do not have a source of income to work on rebuild projects. The remaining $75,000 will support the launch of rebuilding efforts in Ironton, a historic African American community, in Plaquemines Parish. Leveraging these resources even further, the Jefferson Community Foundation, an affiliate of the Greater New Orleans Foundation, has added a $75,000 matching grant to support work in Lafitte, bringing the total new investments being announced to $225,000

Employee Assistance Funds: Helping Employers
Like LCMC Health Support Team Members

During times of disaster, we pivot from our daily routines. This can impact how we show up in our work. Community Foundations like ours are in a unique position to design and implement company-specific Employee Assistance Funds (EAFs), an important service that helps both employers and employees alike.  An EAF is a tax-deductible fund set up by an employer to help its employees cope with unexpected hardships that result in financial and/or emotional stress, particularly after a qualifying event (like a pandemic or hurricane).

We spoke with Chad Courrege, Senior Vice President of Human Resources at LCMC Health, about the 
LCMC Health Employee Assistance for Catastrophic Loss*, a $1.2 million EAF developed and implemented in partnership with the Foundation that made grants to over 350 employees. Here's why Chad believes an EAF is an HR must-have:
  • Why was LCMC's EAF a crucial service for employees during and after Hurricane Ida? We realized the impact Hurricane Ida had on our community as a whole and specifically on our employees. We heard from our team members about what they were going through in terms of personal loss, and we wanted to do a little extra. They're dedicated to providing extraordinary care even in times of catastrophic events and we wanted to take care of them. We had initially set up a fund to put dollars into the hands of our employees immediately. Once we had a better appreciation of the magnitude of this event and the impact it had on our people, we reached out to the Greater New Orleans Foundation to set up an Employee Assistance Fund. This provided a longer-term solution, in which we could bridge the gap between individuals' insurance plans and FEMA. Ultimately, we wanted to help our staff get back on their feet and bring themselves and their families back to New Orleans.
  • Why did you reach out to the Foundation to develop and launch this support service? I remember a couple days after the storm I was personally sheltered in one of our hospitals. In talking to employees, I brainstormed who would be the best partner in our community to move this plan forward. LCMC Health already had a working relationship with the Foundation, specifically in terms of workforce development... helping us fund some pathways to get individuals ready for employment. Knowing this, and knowing Andy Kopplin, we realized our mission, vision, and culture were really aligned. Both LCMC Health and the Foundation are here to connect financial and programmatic resources to individuals and communities. 
  • In what ways has this helped retain and/or attract employees? We were able to put our values into action. We talked about doing something extra, being more extraordinary... and what we've demonstrated by this partnership is that we put our words into action. Our employees see this... they respect it. We've only received positive feedback from employees. So with this, they are able to spread word of what LCMC Health is all about. People who are interested in working for an organization, like LCMC Health, that values their employees. We appreciate the Foundation for making this complex process manageable. Together, we made the impossible possible.
*The Foundation partnered with Postlethwaite & Netterville, a local CPA firm, to increase the Foundation's capacity in the aftermath of Ida. P&N assisted with the design and implementation of the program to efficiently disburse resources to LCMC Health's employees.
We're proud to host multiple EAFs at the Foundation, including The Fidelity Bank Here for Good, LCMC Health Employee Assistance for Catastrophic Loss, The Sally Support Fund, The Commander's Palace Employee Relief Fund, The Service & Hospitality Family Assistance Program, and the St. Bernard Tornado Assistance Program

To learn more about EAFs, reach out to

People of Philanthropy

We believe that everyone can be a philanthropist. Meet the people, grantmakers, and nonprofits that are making it a reality.

Laura Tuggle is the Executive Director for Southeast Louisiana Legal Services (SLLS).

Name: Laura Tuggle
Role: Executive Director
Organization: Southeast Louisiana Legal Services (SLLS)

Why did you decide to become a public interest attorney? Since grade school, I knew I wanted to do my part to make the world a better place. Louisiana's history of racism and injustice has resulted in our state having one of the nation's highest poverty rates. Every day I am honored to fight and push for change as a legal aid lawyer for marginalized people who otherwise wouldn't have access to our civil justice system.

What does being the Executive Director at Southeast Louisiana Legal Services mean to you?  I am privileged to lead a 165-member team who have dedicated themselves to fighting for equal justice for vulnerable people through handling cases, policy advocacy, and community education. I am proud to lead our incredible team who fight for the rights of everyday people in critical legal matters to help stabilize lives and strengthen communities.

The Foundation launched its Community Revitalization Fund in 2007 to address the longer-term housing needs following Katrina. SLLS was a grantee partner. How did SLLS utilize these funds, and how did they help the communities you serve?  We led an innovative partnership in collaboration with the Pro Bono Project and Louisiana Appleseed to help clear title by handling successions and other estate matters for low-income homeowners. Heir property owners whose homes were damaged by Katrina were unable to access rebuilding funds since they had not taken legal action to clear title. The project helped hundreds of homeowners obtain over $9 million in Road Home funds. This model became our standard in responding to other major disasters including the 2016 Baton Rouge floods and Hurricane Ida. 

To read the rest of the interview, click here.

The Good Word

What we’re reading and watching as we reflect on Hurricanes Ida and Katrina and work to adapt to and mitigate climate change.
  • Louisiana's coastal wetlands help protect communities from storm surge and hurricanes like Ida, but sadly they are disappearing at an alarming rate. While our communities continue to recover from Hurricane Ida, it is also time to look ahead to the next update of the state's coastal master plan. The Greater New Orleans Foundation supports a group of community organizations based in coastal Louisiana to help ensure effective community engagement in the complex restoration planning and implementation processes. This story and the striking photographs from National Geographic help everyone better understand our coast and its people, what's at stake, and how to move forward with restoration. Read the article. 
  • Louisiana's Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority has been putting in the work to help save and restore our coasts. One project, in partnership with Foundation grantee partner Glass Half Full, is using pulverized glass to slow coastal land loss. Another has restored 1,080 acres of barrier island habitat and 8.6 miles of beach within Terrebonne and Lafourche parishes.
  • New Orleans native Edward Buckles, Jr.'s debut documentary "Katrina Babies" is now streaming on HBO. The film details the generation of kids whose childhood became re-defined by the 2005 Category 5 storm. Buckles Jr., who was 13 years old when Katrina hit and who spent seven years bringing this poignant project to fruition, won Best New Documentary Director at this year's Tribeca Film Festival. Watch the trailer and read Time Magazine's interview with the filmmaker.
Hurricane Katrina changed the Foundation’s role forever. In the immediate aftermath, the Foundation created the Rebuild New Orleans Fund and directed more than 1,200 grants to organizations responding to storm victims’ needs. Suddenly finding itself in a position to advise national funders on how best to help the city rebuild, the Foundation coordinated local efforts of the Rockefeller Foundation, the Louisiana Recovery Authority, the Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund, and others to develop the Unified New Orleans Plan (UNOP), the city’s comprehensive plan for recovery and rebuilding.

By mid-2007, the Foundation moved beyond the initial phase of Katrina recovery and took a more proactive, strategic role. UNOP identified the lack of quality, affordable housing as the primary obstacle to recovery in the city. In response, the Foundation brought together 22 local and national foundations to create the five-year, $23 million Community Revitalization (CR) Fund, which supported the building and rehabilitation of nearly 10,000 new units of affordable housing in the region.

You can read the summative evaluation of the CR Fund here.
Thanks for joining us for today's special Hurricane Anniversary edition of The Greater Good. 

Stay safe,
The Greater New Orleans Foundation Team
Copyright © 2022 Greater New Orleans Foundation, All rights reserved.

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