The Open Society Foundations has announced that it will match contributions up to $500,000 to an online fundraising campaign for long-term recovery efforts in New Orleans.
The appeal to MoveOn.org and ColorOfChange.org members will benefit eighteen New Orleans-area Open Society grantees focused on ensuring government transparency and accountability, using arts and culture to advance social change, securing a fair criminal justice system, and engaging diverse communities in rebuilding the city.
The recipient organizations, most of which have small operating budgets, include Silence Is Violence, a community-based organization that harnesses the culture of New Orleans to seek an end to violence; the Louisiana Budget Project, which monitors and reports on state government spending and how it affects low-to-moderate-income families in post-Katrina New Orleans; and Orleans Public Defenders, a pro-bono legal office that represents indigent defendants in Orleans Parish, where arrests have skyrocketed over the past five years and 90 percent of defendants are poor.
"The challenge is not just to rebuild New Orleans, but to build a city that is stronger and fairer than the one that was devastated five years ago," said Ann Beeson, executive director of U.S. programs at the Open Society Foundations. "There are amazing success stories from New Orleans over the last five years, and there is still a tremendous amount of work to be done. This fundraising campaign invests in a number of inspiring, locally-led organizations that are determined to transform New Orleans."