FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 2, 2011
CONTACT: Lauren Benjamin, lauren.jacobs.
Emerging Philanthropists of New Orleans announces its 2011 Class
NEW ORLEANS – Earlier this summer, 35 young leaders became the newest members of a unique philanthropic experience in the Greater New Orleans area. Emerging Philanthropists of New Orleans (EPNO) is an initiative to engage the city’s up-and-coming talent in philanthropy.
Each member contributes $500, which EPNO then matches dollar for dollar through outside sponsorships and alumni contributions. During a six-month program, participants combine their resources, learn about the grantmaking process, review proposals from nonprofits in the Greater New Orleans area seeking funds, and provide targeted grants to selected nonprofits.
Formerly known as the Crescent Civic Engagement Fund, EPNO is now in its third year. A conversation during a 504ward Dine Around event in 2008 sparked the idea to create a young professionals philanthropic giving circle. Since launching a small pilot class of 18 participants in 2009, the group has been expanding at a rapid pace. The 2010 class included 29 individuals, and the 35 participants in this year’s class represent a broad mix of Louisiana natives and newcomers to the city.
“It’s pretty unbelievable,” said Lauren Jacobs Benjamin, Chair of EPNO’s Advisory Board and one of the 18 pilot class members. “A bunch of working professionals in their 20s and 30s—a traditionally busy and over-committed demographic without much disposable income—are competing to donate their hard-earned income and six months of their time. Young professionals in the New Orleans area are looking for ways to impact their communities as active philanthropists. EPNO is providing that opportunity.”
Once selected, the class members divide themselves into issue-based grantmaking teams, which are selected based on the group’s interests. For 2011, EPNO participants are divided into four focus areas: arts, education, healthcare, and housing. The following individuals are the members of EPNO’s 2011 Class:
Lindsay Anan, ReNEW Charter Management Organization
Cyrous Ardalan, Jefferson Community
James Bacon, New Orleans College Prep Charter
Westley Bayas, City of New Orleans
Miriam S. Belblidia, City of New Orleans
Lauren Cecil, Greater New Orleans Foundation
Sarah Colbert, Shell
Leslie Feingerts, KIPP New Orleans Schools
Tanyanika Franklin, CASA New Orleans
Simone Young Green, Pride College Prep
Leah Emily Grossman, Tulane School of Medicine
Essence Harris, Entergy Services, Inc.
Michael Harowski, Fowler Rodriguez Valdes-Fauli
Sara Hudson, 504ward/American Studies PhD student
Kelly Juneau, Irwin Fritchie Urquhart & Moore LLC
Jennifer Keyte, KIPP Foundation
Trish Kelly, Louisiana
Jacob Landry, Louisiana
Jonathan Levy, American Express
David C Logan, Lusher Charter School
Lenetra McCord, HCA-Tulane Medical
Tess Monaghan , Build Now
Makiyah Moody, Leading Educators
Erika Lynn Mullenbach, Salley, Hite, Mercer & Resor, LLC
Neeta Nadkarny, DonorsChoose.org
Chandler J Nutik, Community Works of Louisiana, Inc.
Nicholas Peddle, GMc+Company Advertising
Aaron Reuter, Proskauer Rose LLP
Bonita A. Robertson , BioDistrict New Orleans
Taylor Royle, Make It Right Foundation
Elexa Ruth, The Roots of Music
Laura Settlemyer, McGlinchey Stafford PLLC
Thom Smith, Concordia LLC
Lawliss Turner, A La Carte Specialty Foods
Lauren Wein, ReNEW Charter Management Organization
Each participant evaluates grant proposals, conducts site visits, and works with his or her teammates to decide where their funds can have the greatest impact. This year’s program culminates in an awards ceremony at Ashe Cultural Arts Center
EPNO is an entirely volunteer-run organization. The grants given to selected nonprofits are administered by the Greater New Orleans Foundation, and the Urban League of Greater New Orleans serves as the program’s fiscal agent. Program alumni remain committed to New Orleans and the organization’s goals.
“Participating in EPNO is one of the best experiences I have had in New Orleans,” says Eric Parrie, a member of the 2010 class.
In fact, over 80% of EPNO alumni have volunteered or plan to volunteer with grantees. For some, this program has served as a catalyst to serve on nonprofit boards. Additionally, over two-thirds of alumni have provided matching funds for the current class. Within the next few years, EPNO expects to raise all matching funds through alumni contributions.
“The funds not only go to worthy local nonprofits, but they are helping to engage and inspire the future philanthropists and leaders of New Orleans,” said Beth Shapiro Lavin, an alumnus who has donated matching funds to support the current class.
In its first two years, EPNO has received over 200 grant applications and has distributed $47,000 in grants to 13 local organizations including Artist Corps of New Orleans, A’s & Aces, Girls First, Latino Farmers Cooperative of Louisiana, Louisiana Cultural Economy Foundation/YB Green Recycled Fashion, Roots of Music, Social Entrepreneurs of New Orleans, Start on Success, Tennessee Williams New Orleans Literary Festival, Tulane City Center’s “Grow Dat” Youth Farm, Westbank Community School, YA/YA, and Youth Empowerment Project.
To learn more about ENPO, please visit www.