Local Nonprofits Named Freeman Challenge Winners

Charles Leche
Nonprofit Reps (left to right): Anne Mueller (The Lens NOLA), Lamar Villere (Lighthouse Louisiana), Karon Reese (Coliseum Square Association) and Erica Halpern (YMCA of Greater New Orleans)

NEW ORLEANS – The Greater New Orleans Foundation announced the four nonprofit organizations named 2016 Freeman Challenge winners – Coliseum Square Association, the Lens, Lighthouse Louisiana and the YMCA of Greater New Orleans – achieved their fundraising goals.

         Fundraising dollars raised in 2016 will be matched one dollar for every two dollars up to $150,000, thanks to the Freeman Family, which established the Freeman Challenge at the Greater New Orleans Foundation.

         The Freeman Challenge matching dollars are aimed specifically at helping nonprofits start or grow endowments or build a “rainy day” fund.

         “An endowment can signify a turning point for a nonprofit,” Laura Freeman, family member and advisor, said. “Our family is committed to bolstering our local nonprofits’ long-term stability through the Freeman Challenges.”

         Since its inception in 1999, the Freeman Challenge has helped establish endowments at over 25 nonprofits in education, the arts, the environment and health and human services.

         “We are so proud of the four nonprofit organizations for achieving their Freeman Challenge goals,” said Greater New Orleans Foundation senior program officer Kellie Chavez-Green. “We spend many hours working with nonprofit organizations to make sure the time is right for an endowment or rainy day fund fundraising campaign, and we had every confidence in these four.”

         The Freeman Challenge is held every other year, and is open now. Interested nonprofits must complete a readiness workshop, which gives nonprofits the opportunity to learn the pros and cons of an endowment and assess their ability to successfully execute such a campaign.


• THE COLISEUM SQUARE ASSOCIATION (CSA): A neighborhood association supporting New Orleans’ Lower Garden District

Goal: To raise $50,000 to be matched with $25,000 from the Freeman Challenge for an endowment fund devoted to maintenance and enhancement of the historic fountains and framing green spaces in Coliseum Square and the Lower Garden District.

Challenge Met: CSA raised more than $68,000, matched one-for-two by the Freeman Challenge


• THE LENS: New Orleans’ first and only nonprofit, public interest newsroom focused on public policy with investigative journalists aiming to engage and empower the residents of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast by providing information and analysis necessary to advocate for more accountable and just government.

Goal: To raise $10,000 to be matched with $5,000 from the Freeman Challenge for a Board-Restricted Reserve Fund.

Challenge Met: The Lens raised more than $10,000 by Nov. 30, through the Banking on the Future of the Lens Campaign, matched one-for-two by the Freeman Challenge. Now the restricted “rainy day fund” will add a needed measure of stability to the financial operations of the public interest newsroom


• LIGHTHOUSE LOUISIANA: Provides people with disabilities opportunities to succeed

Goal: To raise $150,000 for a $75,000 match for the endowment to help ensure the Lighthouse remains a beacon of hope for people with disabilities for generations to come.

Challenge Met: Lighthouse Louisiana secured a $150,000 gift that will be matched with $75,000 by the Freeman Challenge to establish The George Villere Endowment.


• YMCA OF GREATER NEW ORLEANS: Grounded in Christian values, the Y strengthens communities through programs encouraging youth development, healthy living and social responsibility

Goal: To raise $50,000 to be matched with $25,000 from the Freeman Challenge for a Heritage Fund endowment housed at and managed by the Greater New Orleans Foundation.

Challenge Met: The Y raised $53,610 for the Heritage Fund in 2016 matched one-for-two by the Freeman Challenge.


         For more information



Freeman Challenge Committee (left to right): Andrew Freeman, Laura Freeman, Courtney, Alex Gershanik

PHOTO CREDIT: Charles Leche



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