NOLA Coalition Awards Youth Master Plan Grants

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NEW ORLEANS — From the NOLA Coalition:

The NOLA Coalition has announced the first round of recipients for its Youth Master Plan grant opportunity. The group awarded $906,300 in funding, ranging from $25,000 to $75,000 per grant, to 23 Orleans Parish nonprofits serving children and youth – birth to 24 – living at or below the ALICE Threshold.  

“Our New Orleans youth are at a critical point in their lives, enduring more trauma and stress than ever, and some people are blaming them for the city’s problems,” said Michael Williamson, United Way of Southeast Louisiana president and CEO. “Our hope is to provide them with necessary relief and a chance to reimagine their futures through these grant-funded programs and let them prove for themselves – once and for all – they are the solution, not the problem.” 

The latest United for ALICE  report indicates that of the more than 88,000 young Orleans Parish residents (5-24), 62% of children (5-17) and 83% of young adults (18-24) live below the ALICE Threshold, percentages that grow disproportionately higher for people of color. Additionally, the Institute of Women and Ethnic Studies reports that New Orleans youth are showing PTSD symptoms at rates nearly four and half times higher than the national average.  

Grant readers – including youth and volunteer experts – selected programs based on published grant criteria. Individuals interested in participating in the funded programs may visit NOLAYouthPrograms.org to learn more.  

The grant opportunity is a part of the NOLA Coalition’s two-part, concurrent strategy to address crime and quality of life in New Orleans. The Investment in Youth Support Services pillar includes a three-year pledge of $15 million to enhance youth-serving programs in the city to help them grow their impact and drive generational change. 

The coalition’s first grant cycle was met with intense interest from area organizations. Over 120 programs and collaborations submitted requests for proposal, totaling more than $7 million. Twenty-eight eligible proposals, while unfunded, were automatically referred for consideration in the second grant cycle set to open in January 2023.  

“The NOLA Coalition committed to a dual, concurrent set of priorities:  safety for our streets today, and investing in our kids for tomorrow,” said Michael Hecht, president and CEO of Greater New Orleans Inc. “This set of grants through United Way supports the second priority, and will help organizations that are driving life-changing outcomes for our youth.” 

Ongoing fundraising efforts will underwrite subsequent grant cycles as outlined online at UnitedWaySELA.org/YMPgrants. Visit NOLAcoalition.info to contribute online and learn more about the coalition’s progress. 

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