FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 27, 2012
NEW ORLEANS – Earlier this month, the advisory board of Emerging Philanthropists of New Orleans (EPNO) welcomed four new members, elected new board officers and appointed five liaisons for the 2012 program.
Beth Shapiro Lavin was named EPNO’s new advisory board Chair. She will be taking over from Lauren Jacobs Benjamin, who chaired the EPNO board for two years and has been involved in growing the organization since it began as the Crescent Fund in 2009. The existing EPNO board is also pleased to welcome Bonita Robertson, Melissa Ehlinger, Jonathan Levy and Makiyah Moody to the advisory board.
Liaisons will act as advisers to the 2012 class and help guide them through the grantmaking process. The 2012 liaisons are Cyrous Ardalan, Westley Bayas, Kelly Juneau, Chandler Nutik and Laura Settlemeyer.
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 fourth year. Since launching a small pilot class of 18 participants in 2009, the group has expanded at a rapid pace. The 2010 class included 29 individuals, while the 2011 class had 35 participants, representing a broad mix of Louisiana natives and newcomers to the city. Applications for the 2012 class will open in March, with 35-40 new participants admitted.
EPNO is run entirely by program alumni volunteers. The advisory board oversees all aspects of the program, from the recruitment and selection of class members, to the creation of curriculum that includes educational sessions on evaluating grant proposals and grantmaking.
“I am honored to be the new board chair of EPNO, an exciting organization run by a great team of program alumni,” said board Chair Beth Shapiro Lavin. “Lauren and the original EPNO board created a strong program, enabling civic minded individuals to make a significant impact in our community. Our 2012 board is looking forward to building upon our successes to continue to help young professionals learn how to become lifelong philanthropists and serve the unique needs of the nonprofits in Greater New Orleans.”
In its first three years, EPNO has received over 300 grant applications and has distributed $82,000 in grants to 21 local organizations. Prior grantees include Artist Corps of New Orleans, A’s & Aces, Bard Early College in New Orleans, Boys Hope Girls Hope of Greater New Orleans, Early Childhood and Family Learning Foundation, Girls First, Goat in the Road Productions, Hagar’s House, Healing Hearts for Community Development, Latino Farmers Cooperative of Louisiana, Lowernine.org, Louisiana Cultural Economy Foundation/YB Green Recycled Fashion, Roots of Music, Social Entrepreneurs of New Orleans, Start on Success, Takeashine, 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.emergingphilanthropists.org.