Inaugural Beignet Fest Yields $25K+ In Grants For Local Autism Programs
NEW ORLEANS – On Tuesday, Dec. 6, the Tres Doux Foundation, the organizing body of Beignet Fest, announced it was giving away $25,157 in grants to local nonprofits dedicated to providing programs and services to children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). This comes just two months after the first ever Beignet Fest was held at Lafayette Square, attracting more than 10,000 people.
“We started well over a year ago with a vision to create a family-friendly festival that would help increase awareness and support for programs that serve children with developmental delays like autism,” Sherwood Collins, festival founder and event producer, said. “We ended up with a festival celebrating the iconic beignet, and one of the most widely-talked about events of the fall in New Orleans. We’re thrilled with the results.”
Organizations receiving grants will use the funding from the Tres Doux Foundation to expand programming to serve children with autism.
• YMCA of Greater New Orleans: $9,872 to expand its Brushes, Buddies, and Beyond art program to a second location
• Ochsner Hospital for Children: $6,285 to start testing and diagnosing children with autism, something that requires a wait list among most local major healthcare providers
• Families Helping Families of Southeast Louisiana: $5,000 to increase the amount of kids they can serve through the Prism Project, an inclusive performing arts program held in partnership with New Orleans Recreation Department between the ages of six to 14
• The Autism Society of Greater New Orleans: $4,000 for a Social Skills Development Workshop Series that includes both intervention with children and parent training components
“We have seen a great need in the community for programming that accommodates children with autism,” Gordon Wadge, president and CEO of the YMCA of Greater New Orleans, said. “With funding from the Tres Doux Foundation, the Y will be able to bring a successful program that we have been running at our Metairie location over to our Belle Chasse location, providing programming on the Westbank where there has been none before.”
Festival organizers said their hope for year one was to be able to give away at least one $10,000 grant. The actual amount is 2.5 times that.
“The support and enthusiasm that people have had for our efforts from the very start has been nothing short of extraordinary,” Amy Collins, Beignet Fest co-founder, said. “The best part of all of this is giving away these grants. It means we are fulfilling the mission of what we set out to do.”
Amy and Sherwood say plans are already underway for the second Beignet Fest, which will take place on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2017, at New Orleans City Park – a move they are making to accommodate more vendors and help with crowd flow.
The inaugural Beignet Fest was made possible by sponsors including Ochsner Hospital For Children, French Market Coffee, Southern Eagle’s Urban South Brewery, Gambel Communications, New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation, New Orleans Coffee & Beignet Co and Café Du Monde.
(L-R) – Sherwood Collins, Tres Doux Foundation Co-Founder and Beignet Fest Event Producer; Thomas Harris, Jr., MHA, FACHE, Vice President, Pediatrics; William (Billy) Lennarz, MD, MMM, System Chair of Pediatrics, Associate Medical Director, Ochsner Health System; Amy Boyle Collins, Tres Doux Foundation Co-Founder
(L-R) – Sherwood Collins, Tres Doux Foundation Co-Founder and Beignet Fest Event Producer; Kelly Fisher, The Prism Project Coordinator; Aisha Johnson, Executive Director, Families Helping Families SELA; Amy Boyle Collins, Tres Doux Foundation Co-Founder
(L-R) – Sherwood Collins, Tres Doux Foundation Co-Founder and Beignet Fest Event Producer; Dionne McCorvey, Board President, Autism Society of Greater New Orleans; Amy Boyle Collins, Tres Doux Foundation Co-Founder