Representatives From Grantmakers, Nonprofits Evaluate Katrina Response

With the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina just months away, leaders of foundations and charities gathered in New Orleans last week to re-examine their successes and failures in responding to communities devastated by the storm, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reports.

Organized by the Association of Small Foundations and funded by the Ford Foundation and Azby Fund, the three-day Katrina @ 5: Partners in Philanthropy conference brought together representatives of more than thirty grantmakers and nonprofits to examine their role in the recovery of hurricane- and flood-damaged communities along the Gulf Coast. In part, the conference targeted ways to replicate post-Katrina successes, including the surge in volunteerism that occurred after the storm, while attendees discussed how they could best partner with public agencies, churches, artists, educators, and healthcare providers to move ongoing recovery efforts forward.

But while developing lines of communication is crucial to advancing progress, finding the necessary funding to change things continues to be a challenge. Ed Buckner, founding director of the Porch, a cultural organization in New Orleans' Seventh Ward, noted that his group's income has not been enough to sustain it month-to-month. Not many philanthropists visit the Seventh Ward, he said. "No one sees the amount of students who now run to us to show us their report cards, now that they're on the honor roll," he said. "Where is the money to help a community like ours?"

Katy Reckdahl. "Hurricane Katrina Response Evaluated by Philanthropists." New Orleans Times-Picayune 03/24/2010.