Where Do You Give?

This month’s respondents were pretty evenly split on where they direct their philanthropy.

For the April “Question of the Month,” Biz New Orleans asked members of the New Orleans 500 what types of philanthropic organizations they support and if their approach has changed since the pandemic.

Thirty-six percent of respondents said they focus their philanthropic efforts on education and workforce training nonprofits. Thirty percent 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.

The following are some of the notable responses we received:

“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 

“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, executive vice president and director of commercial banking of 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 of the New Orleans Office of 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. Philanthropy is one of our core values.”

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, executive managing director of Mackie One Construction

“As a people-based organization, CLS takes a company-wide ‘divide and conquer’ approach by encouraging employees to participate in nonprofit organizations. CLS offers all its employees a full paid week of VTO (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.


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 an email survey to this list to help gather economic data, as well as valuable insights, ideas and opinions.


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