(HOUMA) The Bayou Community Foundation (BCF) today released its 2013 Community Needs Assessment for Lafourche Parish, Terrebonne Parish, and Grand Isle focusing on education, human services, and coastal preservation needs within the Foundation’s service area.
The report was compiled with the input of civic and non-profit leaders over a three-month period in 2013. It will be used to direct the Foundation’s upcoming grantmaking programs, as well as a tool to inform community leaders and residents about critical challenges facing our community.
“The Bayou Community Foundation recognized early on that, in order to provide the most effective grants possible, we needed to clearly understand the critical issues we face in our region,” said BCF Chairman of the Board Alexis Duval. “We thank all of the government and agency leaders who provided us with the valuable information contained in this assessment. The Foundation looks forward to working with them and all of our neighbors to help address these needs through a targeted grant program focused on improving and sustaining the quality of life for all in our community.”
Across both parishes and Grand Isle, the most frequently identified community need in the region was mental health and substance abuse treatment and counseling, as state budget cuts limit the capacity of existing affordable programs while the number of residents suffering from mental health conditions and substance abuse is on the rise. The issue areas of education and workforce development converge in the lack of a dual-track diploma system in secondary education that would prepare students for occupational profession career paths in addition to the existing four-year college preparatory program. Such a system would produce much-needed skilled workers for industry in the region, reduce high school and university drop-out rates, and promote the nobility of all careers available to students.
Other identified needs include quality early childhood programs, food and transportation programs for the elderly, services for at-risk youth, rural access to affordable healthcare, coastal restoration projects and education programs involving local students, funding for home elevation and modifications for elderly and handicapped residents, and animal population control.
A donor advised fund of the Greater New Orleans Foundation, the BCF was established in 2012 by a group of philanthropic leaders from Lafourche and Terrebonne Parishes to strengthen our local capacity to create a compassionate and sustainable coastal community for generations to come. To achieve this vision, the Foundation will make strategic investments in educational success for children and adults, protection and preservation of our coast; and human services in Lafourche Parish, Terrebonne Parish, and Grand Isle. This summer, BCF plans to complete its first round of grants targeted to local programs and agencies that meet needs identified in the 2013 Community Needs Assessment.