New Orleans organization doles out over $1 million in grants to fight racial disparities

Updated: Feb. 1, 2021 at 6:24 PM CST
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - From the physical toll to financial impact, the coronavirus pandemic has been especially hard on some communities and the Greater New Orleans Foundation is doling out money to non-profits to help foster more racial equity.

Andy Kopplin is President and CEO of the Greater New Orleans Foundation which announced over $1 million in grants to black-led organizations in the region to address racial inequities.

“Twenty-eight new grantees, 28 black-led non-profits in our region, again working to address systemic inequity or to build wealth through housing, job creation, small business growth for African American families,” said Kopplin.

The grants are part of the foundation’s Greater Together Fund for Racial Equity.

“[Its] Really designed to fund non-profits that were black-led, that were working on the frontlines in addressing inequities and also building wealth for African American families in our community,” said Kopplin.

The organization, Thrive New Orleans received a $50,000 grant from GNOF. Chuck Morse is Executive Director of Thrive New Orleans.

“Thrive New Orleans’ mission is to help people go from surviving to thriving,” said Morse. “I am so grateful to GNOF.”

Morse said his organization provides workforce development, small business development, and housing services and operates a community center in the 9th Ward.

He said the grant funds will be used to help small businesses that are struggling survive and avail themselves of federal Paycheck Protection Program loans from the federal government.

“Our ability through this funding to help them really get back on their feet, to help them link to PPP and other loan opportunities is going to keep their business going and many of them are legacy businesses that’s part of the family,” said Morse.

Kopplin agrees that with the pandemic the extra help is essential to helping individuals and businesses.

“It’s critically important, as we’ve seen in the pandemic, we’ve had greater disparities in terms of the incidence and the fatality rates among communities of color,” said Kopplin. “All small businesses are struggling but black-owned small businesses are closing down at a more significant rate.”

He said the Greater New Orleans Founded seeded its fund with $350,000 and Facebook contributed $1 million dollars. So far, almost $1.5 million has been given away.

“So, we’ve raised about $900,000 locally plus the million dollars from Facebook,” Kopplin said.

And Kopplin and Morse believe helping the under-served or disadvantaged will benefit the entire city.

“One of the things that we’ve noticed in communities that are successful is that there’s less disparities between different racial sectors of the city,” Kopplin stated.

“We’re trying to do our best to make sure that the rising tide does raise all ships and this funding will help us do that,” said Morse.

GNOF hopes to raise $3 million over the span of three years.

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