Three local nonprofits will continue their efforts to help residents affected by the Gulf oil spill, thanks to a $5 million gift from an anonymous donor.

Bayou Grace, based in Chauvin, got $241,850, the Houma Regional Arts Council received $240,447 and the South Central Industrial Association was awarded $187,000.

The grants came via the Greater New Orleans Foundation, which distributed the gift from a donor who wanted to help residents struggling to recover from the oil spill.

The Greater New Orleans Foundation aims to provide mental health, wellness, social and financial services and youth programs in 10 parishes, including Terrebonne and Lafourche.

In total, the donor gave $25 million to aid residents of the Gulf Coast in Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas.

“Per the wishes of the donor, we rolled out almost $5 million in grants over a six-month time frame across the region,” said Marco Cocito-Monoc, director of regional initiatives at the Greater New Orleans Foundation. “The collective impact is still being measured, but we know these resources are improving the lives of many across the region.”

For example:

– 90,000 households are being fed by food pantries.

– 20,000 residents are assisted by social services.

– 30,000 residents are benefiting from financial planning, literacy, education, and workforce training.

– 1,040 women and children are receiving emergency shelter.

More than 3,000 under-insured patients are getting medical services.

In addition, a grant to the United Houma Nation is helping to protect the heritage of 1,000 members of the tribe.

In addition to receiving grant dollars, the nonprofits receive technical training and workshops conducted by the staff at the Greater New Orleans Foundation.

“It’s more than just a check,” said Joann Ricci, director of organizational effectiveness at the Greater New Orleans Foundation. “We offer advice, best-practices and networking opportunities to make these organizations stronger.”

Rebecca Templeton, executive director of Bayou Grace, said the organization will use its two-year grant to continue operating programs launched after the BP oil spill, including an after-school tutoring program and a pilot job re-training program.

The money will also help Bayou Grace continue its community dinners. The free meals provide a gathering place for community members to hear presentations and discuss issues like coastal erosion.

When the state was accepting comments on its master plan, Templeton said, Bayou Grace held two community dinners in Dulac during which residents could provide feedback on the master plan.

Many residents shared their worries that the bayou communities would be left without protection. Later, the plan was changed to create more new land around Terrebonne’s bayou communities.

“We helped to guide the positive changes that happened,” Templeton said. “We’re grateful for the continued support. I think the impacts and needs in coastal communities (after the BP oil spill) continue to reveal themselves.”

Money given to the Houma Regional Arts Council will help create a coastal communities youth arts project for six parishes, and the South Central Industrial Association will use its grant to continue their “Work It!” program, which provides students with information on job opportunities.

Other local organization previously received grants from the Greater New Orleans Foundation, including multi-faith nonprofit BISCO, Catholic Charities of Houma-Thibodaux, Options for Independence and the Second Harvest Food Bank of Greater New Orleans and Acadiana.

For more on grants and grant writing, visit Grant Pros.


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