GNO Foundation Announces $3M Fund for Racial Equity

Ellis Marsalis Jr.
The late Ellis Marsalis Jr., seen performing at the 2019 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, was honored at the Greater New Orleans Foundation’s Celebration of Black Philanthropy.. (Photo by Amy Harris/Invision/AP)

NEW ORLEANS – The New Orleans Agenda reported that the Greater New Orleans Foundation hosted its third annual Celebration of Black Philanthropy. The virtual event, supported by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, “elevated the history, current investments and issues important to black philanthropists.” The event honored the philanthropic legacy of the late Ellis Marsalis and the notable recent philanthropy of New Orleans Pelicans Star Jrue and Lauren Holiday.

“While large gifts and donations to big institutions often get the most attention, black giving has always been robust, but is largely done at grassroots levels in church and civic organizations,” said Andy Kopplin, president and CEO of the Greater New Orleans Foundation.

“The racial disparities in the impact of COVID-19, recent shootings of black men and women by police, social unrest, and the subsequent cries for justice have made our Foundation think about what more we could do to help heal the old wounds that continue to separate us and to truly create a vibrant, sustainable and just region for all,” said GNOF Board Chair Leann Moses. “I am proud to share that over the last five years, more than 87% of our discretionary grant making has supported black communities, and one-third of our grants have gone to black-led organizations. However, this moment is challenging us to think hard about how we can do so much more. That’s why we’re excited to announce that we are raising $3 million for the new Greater Together Fund for Racial Equity.”

Seeded by an initial investment of $350,000 from GNOF, the Greater Together Fund for Racial Equity will make large, sustained investments in a number of nonprofits leading on racial equity whose work has scalable local, regional, and even statewide impact. In addition, the Greater Together Fund for Racial Equity will provide critical sustaining support to nonprofits working tirelessly on the community level in the following areas:

  • Provide leadership in ending institutional racism: engaging speakers and using our convening power to host conversations and advance dialogue promoting systems change in our region. 
  • Bolster the work of black-led nonprofits leading on racial equity: making investments to sustain the work of local nonprofits that are having an impact in eliminating inequitable systems. 
  • And close the racial wealth gap by investing in initiatives to help small, minority businesses grow their share of gross receipts in our region from a mere two percent to create meaningful prosperity, as well as investing in housing and other strategies that can build wealth for black families.

Nonprofits interested in the Greater Together Fund for Racial Equity should email

If you missed the event, click here to watch it.

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