Rex Bestows $1M In Public Education Grants
The magic of Mardi Gras started early at the Rex Den last Saturday, January 9, 2016. Crowds gathered not to catch beads, watch a parade nor admire the Carnival splendor of the floats. Instead, the Rex Organization continued its ongoing commitment to help New Orleans Public Schools when Rex members and Pro Bono Publico Foundation (PBPF) officials announced and awarded $1 million in local public education grants to 60 recipients to benefit 64 schools and 28 supporting and advocacy organizations.
The 2016 grant total marks the 5th consecutive year PBPF’s grants exceeded half a million dollars. In 2012 and 2013 the PBPF was able to award grants of approximately $545,000 each year. That figure reached more than $740,000 in 2014 and $860,000 in 2015.
The PBPF, a 501(c)3 entity, was started in 2007 to support high quality public education initiatives in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Most of the funding is raised annually from the Rex Organization’s more than 800 members, and each year the PBPF sponsors a special parade throw and commemorative doubloons to raise additional funds.
PBPF giving, in its 9th grant cycle since 2007, now totals $4.4 million in cumulative cash contributions to more than 70 public schools and organizations that support public education in the community.
“The generosity of those donating to such a worthy cause has been tremendous as the Pro Bono Publico Foundation hits this $1 million milestone,” PBPF Chairman Storey Charbonnet said. “We’ve seen continued annual growth in contributions to help invest in our community’s future by promoting a strong educational environment for children.”
The PBPF takes its name from the motto of the Rex Organization. Rex's founding in New Orleans in 1872 gave the city a Carnival king and a Mardi Gras parade, but it also promoted a tradition of service in response to the needs of the city following the Civil War. “Pro Bono Publico” means “for the public good,” and after Hurricane Katrina, members of Rex felt their motto took on a new meaning and a new direction.
PBPF members said they are driven to assure that all of New Orleans’ children have access to excellent schools. They report 93% of New Orleans students now attend public charter schools and it’s these schools, and organizations supporting their important work, that have been the focus of the PBPF’s investment, as well as the commitment of dozens of Rex members serving on their boards.
At the open house, at 2531 S. Claiborne Ave., Rex members awarded a $60,000 PBPF grant to Teach for America, which they said bolstered the local charter school movement. They report that more than 1,200 Teach for America corps members and alumni are teaching and leading across the Greater New Orleans region, and today seven of 10 public school students in the city of New Orleans attend a school featuring Teach for America corps members or alumni.
In addition to the public education grants, the PBPF continues to sponsor activities at Taylor Playground, adjacent to the Rex Den, through a grant to the NORD Foundation. Through the Harry Howard Foundation, the PBPF is developing a pilot program providing after-school academic and enrichment programs.
The application deadline for the annual PBPF grant cycle is June 30, and grants are awarded to nonprofit, tax-exempt organizations serving the greater New Orleans region.
Individuals, foundations and corporations wishing to support the transformation of education in New Orleans have also donated to the PBPF. All donations are acknowledged and tax deductible.
Pro Bono Publico Foundation 2015-2016 Grantees Include:
• 4POINT0 Schools
• Algiers Charter School Association
• Arise Academy
• Audubon Charter School
• Bayou District Foundation
• Belle Chasse Academy
• Benjamin Franklin High School
• Breakthrough NO
• Bricolage Academy
• Center for Development and Learning
• Choice Foundation
• Citizens Committee for Education dab Homer A. Plessy
• City Year New Orleans
• College Bridge New Orleans
• College Track
• Collegiate Academies
• Communities in Schools of Greater New Orleans, Inc.
• Crescent City Schools
• Cypress Charter School Association DBA Cypress Academy
• Education Pioneers
• Einstein Group, Inc.
• First Line Schools
• Greater New Orleans STEM Initiative DBA Core Element
• InspireNOLA Charter Schools
• International High School of New Orleans
• International School of Louisiana
• Jefferson Chamber Foundation Academy East
• Jefferson Chamber Foundation Academy West
• Kenner Discovery Health Sciences Academy
• KID smART
• KIPP New Orleans Schools
• Lake Forest Elementary Charter School
• Leading Educators
• Lighthouse for the Blind in New Orleans
• Live Oak Wilderness Camp
• Louisiana Alliance of Charter Schools (East Bank Collaborative)
• Louisiana Appleseed Center for Law and Justice
• Louisiana Association of Public Charter Schools
• McDonough City Park Academy
• McMillian's First Steps
• New Leaders – GNO
• New Orleans Center for Creative Arts Institute
• New Orleans College Preparatory Academics
• New Orleans Military and Maritime Academy
• New Schools for New Orleans
• NORD Foundation for Taylor Park Booster Club
• Policy Institute for Children
• Raphael Academy
• Roots of Music
• St. Mary’s Academy
• St. Michael Special School
• Stand for Children Louisiana
• Start the Adventure in Reading, STAIR
• Teach for America GNO
• The Chartwell Center
• The Foundation for Science & Mathematics Education
• The Good Shepherd School
• The Posse Foundation, Inc.
• Tulane University Cowen Institute
• Warren Easton Charter School Foundation
• YA YA – Young Aspirations/Young Artists, Inc.