N.O. 500 Survey: Supporting Nonprofits Is Good for Business

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NEW ORLEANS — For the latest New Orleans 500 “Question of the Month” feature, the Biz New Orleans editorial team asked area business leaders what types of nonprofit organizations they support and if their approach to philanthropy has changed since the pandemic. 

36% of respondents to the email survey said they focus their philanthropic efforts on education and workforce training nonprofits. 30% said they spend on social welfare organizations. And 28% primarily support associations, chambers and economic development groups. A smaller group (6%) said they prioritize social clubs. 

It was clear from many responses that if we’d included an “all of the above” option, it would have been a popular choice.

Here are notable quotes from survey responses:

“Everyone at our company is given paid time off to volunteer for a cause of their choice and we frequently participate in build days with unCommon Construction, which is an organization that teaches young men and women the skills they need to succeed in the construction industry. Members of our team also serve on boards and task forces for unCommon Construction, Kingsley House, GNO Inc.’s Women in Nontraditional Careers and many others. … Each year, for the Greater New Orleans Foundation’s Give NOLA Day, we extend the opportunity for everyone in our company to pick a charity of their choice and RGGC makes a significant donation on their behalf. … The pandemic taught us that when difficult times arrive, there will be those dependent on the generosity of others, and we intend to be prepared to be in position to lend a hand.” — Ryan Gootee, president and CEO of Ryan Gootee General Contractors

“As the community foundation for Jefferson Parish, philanthropy is our business. We’re finding that more companies are interested in engaging in initiatives for the betterment of the parish. There’s an increased interest in diversity and equity as well as childcare/early education.” — Christine Briede, executive director of the Jefferson Community Foundation 

“As the community foundation for the Northshore, philanthropy is obviously at the heart of everything we do. Our approach remains consistent, which is to simplify and magnify philanthropy in our four-parish region. What has been remarkable throughout the pandemic is the continual generosity and robust engagement of our members and partners in making sure we care for the most vulnerable among us in these unprecedented times.” — Susan Bonnett Bourgeois, president and CEO of the Northshore Community Foundation

“Home Bank has an employee giving program called Home Bank Helps in addition to the bank’s sponsorship and grant programs. We are focused on workforce development and housing security as this is the best way to build generational wealth and ultimately improve our overall community. We are a community bank, so we are focused on the overall financial health of the places that we live, work and play.” — John Zollinger, EVP and director of commercial banking at Home Bank

As a professional services firm, our business depends on a growing and successful community. That includes not just the businesses, but also the residents in that community. Nonprofit organizations are critical to our community. … One of our key values at P&N is to partner with our community so our employees develop a desire to get involved in organizations for which they have a personal passion.” —  Philip Gunn, managing director, New Orleans office at Postlethwaite & Netterville

Providing the opportunity to educate is more valuable long-term than providing financial assistance. Both are essential, but I have elected to provide financial assistance and scholarships to students at my alma mater and the Family Firm Institute, a professional organization studying family business succession trends worldwide. … We pride ourselves in believing that one cannot go wrong being nice and giving back to a community that has been so generous to our business.” — Randy Waesche, president and CEO of Resource Management

“We include this statement in our Mackie One core values: We give unskilled, undereducated hardworking people an opportunity to learn a skill and earn a respectable living wage to raise their family independently, without government assistance.” — Earl Mackie, Mackie One Construction

“Susco’s core purpose is to enable people to contribute in more meaningful and fulfilling ways. Susco creates intuitive enterprise software that unleashes the potential of its users, holistically develops its workforce, and contributes to organizations that enable disadvantaged individuals to achieve the American dream. These organizations include Son of a Saint (they mentor fatherless boys) and Junior Achievement (they teach urban children about finance and entrepreneurship).” — Neel Sus, CEO and founder of Susco

“As a people-based organization, Complete Logistical Services takes a company-wide ‘divide and conquer’ approach by encouraging employees to participate in nonprofit organizations. CLS offers all of its employees a full paid week of volunteer time off each year in support of our commitment to local communities. This is one way we exemplify our “Live Oak” core value.” — Angela Verdin, president of Complete Logistical Services

“AxoSim’s philanthropic goals support organizations that focus on educating and investing in our youth in areas of STEM, workforce development, and mentoring. Investing in our city’s youth is crucial to both their success and ours as a region. We work with several great local organizations and continue to expand our community footprint.” — Lowry Curley, CEO of AxoSim

The pandemic emphasized for us the importance of high-quality, early childhood education. We like the model developed by Early Partners, which collaborates with parents and employers.” — Gay Le Breton, managing director at Chaffe & Associates

“We partner with local nonprofits that provide hands-on workforce training while exposing the students to our industry. We provide training and exposure to furniture making while stressing the importance of a collaborative and positive work environment. Our ability to do these internships has decreased during the pandemic due to the safety measures in place.” — Jordan Rose, co-owner GoodWood NOLA

We try to support organizations that we can also develop pro bono relationships with. Otherwise we have a matching program such that employees can direct firm contributions to organizations the employee supports.” — Tim Gray, partner at Forman Watkins & Krutz

We’ve delivered well over $2 million to nonprofits in the last 20 years in addition to service projects directly impacted by our people. The pandemic has strengthened our resolve regarding philanthropy and we believe it is more important than ever for businesses of all types to get involved and stay involved in improving those lives and the environments where we live and operate.” — William Lemoine, president of building construction at the Lemoine Company

The New Orleans 500 is a curated list of influential, involved and inspiring executives in the greater New Orleans region. Each month, the Biz New Orleans editorial team sends them an email survey to help gather economic data as well as valuable insights, ideas and opinions.

Categories: Biz 500, Nonprofit, Philanthropy, Today’s Business News