Water Equity Clearinghouse

Greater New Orleans Foundation

New Orleans, LA

The Greater New Orleans Foundation (GNOF) is a philanthropic organization matching donors to charitable, environmental, cultural, and economic development initiatives throughout New Orleans. The Foundation seeks to support initiatives that will create a resilient, sustainable, and vibrant community – thus, they champion solutions that are inclusive, equitable, and effective.

Efforts to Advance Water Equity

The Foundation has a robust environmental initiative that focuses on three main areas: the management of urban water, the protection and restoration of the Gulf Coast, and the growth of Southeast Louisiana’s water economy. For example, their nationally-awarded Water Challenge program, co-founded with the Idea Village, provides mentorship to start-ups that wish to turn their ideas into solutions for the region’s most pressing water challenges. Although the Foundation no longer runs the Water Challenge, they provide extensive funding to Propeller, the organization now in charge of the program.

The Foundation is now interested in expanding these efforts. To take a science-based and informed approach, the Foundation has funded a study by NOLAVibe that assesses water-related assets in the 13 parish Southeast Louisiana region.

GNOF recognizes that with many of these solutions comes further opportunities for economic development and job creation. To develop these opportunities, GNOF offers grants to employers, workforce education, and training communities through the New Orleans Work (NOW) program. These grants give grantees the ability to ensure that New Orleans residents are qualified for tomorrow’s careers by not only training individuals, but by increasing wages, introducing better benefits, and creating career-pathways for the New Orleans workforce.

GNOF’s Advocacy Forum and small grants for local advocates is another way that the Foundation supports local stakeholders working to promote equity and ease of access to opportunity. The Advocacy Forum meets for legislative briefings, workshops, and information sessions to strengthen local connections of people and organizations and bolster support for communities demanding change.