Local foundation records $1 million in contributions in three years, meeting a challenge from its major funder, the Gheens Foundation.
(HOUMA) In less than three years since its formation, the Bayou Community Foundation (BCF) has marked a major funding milestone, recording $ 1 million in local contributions and meeting a challenge by its major funder, the Gheens Foundation, 18 months ahead of schedule.
“We first thank the Gheens Foundation for investing in our community through the Bayou Community Foundation. They recognized early on the positive impact that a community foundation could have on our Bayou Region, and made a significant funding commitment that helped to launch BCF, while also challenging us to aggressively build a sustaining fund to support our community,” said BCF Chairman Stephen Peltier.
“We are so grateful to the local donors who have given and continue to give their support to BCF. Their generosity is remarkable. Thanks to their gifts, BCF has now achieved an astounding $1 million in contributions since 2012 to help us meet our match for Gheens Foundation funding and provide over $850,000 in grants to nonprofits in Lafourche Parish, Terrebonne Parish and Grand Isle,” Peltier continued. “But it doesn’t end here. This is only the beginning. We are continuing to build our fund to support our community now and in times of crisis,” Peltier added.
In July 2012, the newly formed Bayou Community Foundation received a 5-year, $500,000 challenge grant from the Gheens Foundation to improve the quality of life in the Bayou Region, leverage partnerships and investments from outside the region, and build a permanent fund for philanthropists to invest in our community. The challenge to BCF was to raise a matching $1 million in contributions over that five-year period.
“The Gheens Foundation was delighted to make a $500,000 challenge grant through the Greater New Orleans Foundation to help start the Bayou Community Foundation and help improve the lives of the citizens of Lafourche and Terrebonne Parishes. Now the Bayou Community Foundation has met the challenge one and a half years early by raising another $1 million!” said Barry Allen, Executive Director of the Gheens Foundation.
“We have been so impressed with the quality, expertise and professionalism of the staff and trustees of the Bayou Community Foundation. Having local community leaders that we know and respect assess the needs of Lafourche and Terrebonne is so important to us in helping fulfill our mission in south Louisiana. We anticipate continuing to invest in and collaborate with the Bayou Community Foundation. We are so thankful to the Greater New Orleans Foundation for serving as fiscal sponsor and making this possible. We hope that our commitment will inspire other prospective donors to join us,” Allen said.
“Congratulations to the Bayou Community Foundation and to the entire Bayou Region! Raising $1 million in gifts in three years is a remarkable achievement and a testimony to the generous spirit of the residents of your communities,” said Albert Ruesga, president and CEO of the Greater New Orleans Foundation, which manages the BCF Fund and made the grant request to the Gheens Foundation on BCF’s behalf in 2012.
“With the support of the Gheens Foundation and its other donors, the Bayou Community Foundation has emerged as a strong and vigorous organization committed to strengthening the Bayou Region and supporting critical nonprofit work in Lafourche, Terrebonne, and Grand Isle. It is exciting to work with BCF as it grows, and we are confident that BCF’s ability to make a positive impact on the local community will increase in the years ahead,” Ruesga concluded.
A highlight of BCF’s work in the community is its competitive grants program, which is currently in its third year. The 2015 recipients of a total of $146,600 in grants to be awarded in this year’s program will be announced later this month. In 2013 and 2014, BCF awarded a total of $225,000 in competitive grants to local nonprofits for critical work in human services, education, workforce development and coastal preservation. BCF also makes targeted grants to qualified local nonprofits as directed by donors throughout the year.
In addition, BCF conducted a community needs assessment in 2013 and expects to update that needs assessment within a year, offers free workshops to local nonprofits in conjunction with GNOF, promotes philanthropy, and organized the first “GiveNOLA Day for the Bayou Region” effort on May 5, 2015, all made possible with donor support.