Foundation for Louisiana unites generous donors, committed organizations and caring residents to affect lasting change to move our entire state forward.
We fund, lead, convene, and collaborate to build on the existing power in our communities and address the greatest and most critical needs facing Louisiana.
Foundation for Louisiana has invested $55 million in more than 250 mission-critical nonprofit organizations working across the state towards building a more just Louisiana. Guided by our strong, stated values, our by-invitation grantmaking allows Foundation for Louisiana (FFL) to remain bold and unapologetic in the issue areas on which we work in a largely conservative landscape. Our programs have continued to grow in response to these needs, and today FFL focuses on these programmatic areas:
Our programs address the longstanding inequities that have shaped life outcomes for the most marginalized of Louisianans. We accomplish this via a three-pronged strategy of investing, building and transforming:
As a social justice philanthropic intermediary, we redistribute resources to on-the-ground projects, many of which can't access traditional philanthropy.
Each year, FFL makes grants to support small organizations and projects throughout Louisiana in our key focus areas.
We strengthen and expand the capacity of our partners and grantees so they may affect change in their communities. Our signature TOGETHER initiative convenes community leaders and provides training.
From organizing and advocacy to leadership and policy change, to public speaking and facilitation, we help tackle issues of climate change, police accountability, health disparities, housing access, and more.
By fortifying movements, we shift systems, as well as shape regional and national narratives. We re-imagine how our communities are governed and funded in order to redefine how residents are able to thrive in them.
The freedom to see justice and liberation for myself and my community
This program was formalized in 2016 through Kellogg Foundation’s Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation initiative (THRT) and builds on the legacy of the Foundation’s commitments to address the long-standing racial inequities revealed by Hurricane Katrina, remove confederate monuments, and provide legal defense for those who have demonstrated against police brutality. FFL’s place-based, multi-racial, and multi-ethnic interpretation of the THRT framework envisions the proactive reinforcement of policies, practices, attitudes, and actions that produce equitable power, access, opportunities, treatment, and outcomes for all.
Since TRHT's initiation, FFL has invested nearly $400,000 in more than 35 organizations working to end separation (by segregation, colonization, and concentrated poverty), advance policy, and remove barriers to economic opportunities. By leveraging resources, connections, and existing work, the Racial Justice program activates community leaders who are advancing justice strategies rooted in trust and understanding of our common humanity. As programmatic activity expands beyond THRT, the program will implement a truth-telling campaign to develop public narratives, collaborate more deeply with housing advocates, and invest deeply in the work of healing justice to both prevent and address generational trauma and violence.
The freedom to be the steward of my land and water
Building on 10 years of working in coastal communities, the Foundation for Louisiana (FFL) launched the Coastal Resilience Leverage Fund in 2015 to catalyze innovative and multi-sector responses to Louisiana’s climate crisis. With a deepened perspective of the causes and implications of climate change and their disproportionate impacts on low-income communities of color, the Climate Justice program seeks adaptive and regenerative solutions for each sector of our lives touched by environmental injustice and the climate crisis.
By leveraging public-private partnerships, the program has helped train a green infrastructure workforce as an alternative to Louisiana’s petrochemical industry, created a citizen-led policy framework to complement the state’s Coastal Master Plan, graduated 125 empowered advocates from the LEAD the Coast initiative (Leadership Education Advocacy Development), and invested nearly $5.4 million towards climate justice. The Climate Justice team has recently designed a new strategy to guide their work for the coming years, which includes: 1) building people power, 2) advancing just policy, and 3) cultivating a new narrative.
Criminal Justice Reform
The freedom to work, live, and thrive
By building on President and CEO Flozell Daniels Jr.’s prior expertise in criminal justice policy, FFL zeroed in on the systemic factors that once made Louisiana the most carceral state in the country. FFL’s criminal justice reform work is rooted in the legacy of abolition movements that have existed in Louisiana for hundreds of years and aims to shift resources away from systems that diminish our humanity and towards the things that build it. In 2017, the Foundation helped to lead the ambitious 2017 Justice Reinvestment legislative package, which resulted in a historic reduction in jail population that returned Louisianans to their families and freed up resources that had been quite literally locked away. Currently, this courageous portfolio is focused on working in coalition to end the money bail system, particularly at the intersection of its negative impact on juveniles and LGBTQ individuals, as well as establishing the first fund for supporting Black-led movement work consistent with the Black Lives Matter platform.
The freedom to dream and be financially secure
Originally named the Community Investment Fund, this program was initially formed as a housing-focused loan fund. By providing access to capital with fewer barriers, the Foundation is able to leverage its fiscal track record and portfolio management experience to invest in neighborhoods, support the essential work of emerging organizations, and seed those socially conscious Louisiana ventures that find it difficult to access traditional funding sources due to systemic bias.
In addition to maturing its general fund, the Economic Justice program has created countless jobs and opportunities through three main program related investments (PRIs), including:
- The W.K. Kellogg Foundations PRI, developed to support community economic development through providing PRI loans and direct technical assistance grants to build affordable housing, stabilize neighborhood serving small businesses, and encourage the growth and sustainability of retail outlets for fresh healthy foods in communities where access to healthy food is unavailable;
- Bridge loans for New Orleans Redevelopment Authority’s Façade RENEW program; and
- Propeller’s Social Venture Fund; a $1M loan fund addressing social and environmental disparities in New Orleans. Program work is currently focused on creating innovative models to scale the systemic solutions of FFL’s partners.
Arts & Culture
The freedom to preserve the magic and wisdom of my ancestors and to create my own
Through coastal loss, natural and man-made disasters, the impacts of carcerality from enslavement to mass incarceration, as well as three centuries of colonization, Louisiana’s Black and Indigenous artists and culture bearers have preserved legacy, made movement wins possible, and innovated creative forms that have changed our world. This emerging program safeguards the cultural well-being of Louisianans, prevents cultural erasure, makes connections between movements for social change and culture, and works to create the infrastructure needed for native culture bearers to remain and thrive in Louisiana. Through research, participatory grantmaking, curated public dialogues, and field building, this program intends to level the deep arts and culture funding disparities experienced throughout Louisiana and the South, particularly for BIPOC artists and culture bearers.
The freedom to exist as my full self
This developing program began in 2015 with the convening of a state-wide summit made possible by a seed grant from the Funders for LGBTQ Issues Out in the South Fund. Building off of the needs and priorities defined at this summit and in post-summit advisory committee work, FFL is growing this body of work to support LGBTQIA communities throughout Louisiana in accessing the resources, spaces, and protections needed for LGBTQIA people to know justice and to feel safe, connected, and supported. The Gender Justice program will also address reproductive justice, especially at the intersection of disaster. Programmatic strategy is being formed now.
The freedom to bring people with us, and us with them
The Foundation’s initial years were shaped by a sense of urgency and structured around being responsive to disaster and other critical community needs. Now, as we lay the groundwork to proactively serve the people of Louisiana for decades to come, we remain committed to an intrepid, on-going assessment of our own practices, as well as those of the broader philanthropic sector.
Honing our thought leadership allows us to provide the grounded, local analysis that national philanthropy needs to resource mission-critical Louisiana projects and challenge the dominant narrative about the South's most pressing systemic issues, encouraging overdue reinvestment and change. Programmatic activities include the media work, presenting, and advising, which shape regional and national investment into communities beyond the reach of traditional philanthropy. To continue to push the status quo of bold, place-based philanthropy and create a stronger and more effective presence during legislative sessions, FFL is considering the creation of a 501c4 arm.