A Community-Centered Philanthropic Response to Louisiana Flooding

The recent flooding disaster in Louisiana is responsible for loss of life, major destruction of property, and significant impacts on safety in a region already struggling with disinvestment. Over 10,000 people are in shelters, and thousands more will return to damaged homes, neighborhoods, and communities.

Thankfully, government’s response to this disaster has been much better than its response to Hurricane Katrina. First responders have saved lives and served evacuees, and disaster agencies are assessing the recovery landscape. Meanwhile, philanthropic organizations—like NFG partner Foundation for Louisiana—are prepared to focus financial and strategic resources to ensure disaster-impacted families can participate in the critical decisions that will dictate the terms of their recovery.

FFL has activated a Strategic Flood Response Fund to strengthen local, on-the-ground groups engaged in high-impact disaster response—now and through the critical long-term disaster planning and response phase. They have pledged that all contributions will be directed solely toward disaster relief and recovery efforts. As a statewide philanthropic organization with roots in disaster response and recovery, FFL is able to provide responsive assistance and ensure that devastated communities rebuild and become more resilient. 

FFL is guided by a set of core values and beliefs that put communities at the center of its work:

  • The grassroots wisdom of residents is one of Louisiana’s most valuable resources.
  • Individuals and families have the right to maintain their dignity amidst disaster.
  • Given appropriate resources and support, communities are able to solve their own problems and chart their own futures.
  • Increased access to resources and opportunity strengthens vulnerable communities and improves qualify of life for all residents.
  • Growing economic opportunity spurs innovation and creates shared prosperity.
  • Achieving equity and inclusion for all Louisianans requires effective public policy and systemic change.
  • Transparency and accountability are cornerstones of integrity and institutional success.
  • Collaboration and continuous learning improve the reach and quality of FFL’s work.
  • A diverse board and staff, representative of the diversity of our state, provide the best leadership for the Foundation.

This is not the first time FFL has responded to urgent crisis in its region with a long-term perspective on equitable community development. FFL was chartered in the immediate aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita by founders who knew that a responsible recovery would entail more than rebuilding what was lost. The foundation intended to alleviate what it calls “the man-made disasters of neglect and inequity” that compromised quality of life in Louisiana before as well as after the storms.

More recently, in the wake of the recent uprisings in Baton Rouge following the fatal shootings of Alton Sterling and several local police officers, FFL deployed a Rapid Response Fund to support grassroots organizing around racial inequities, police violence, and alternative police-community relations. Amidst the chaos of disaster, FFL maintains a big picture perspective on community resiliency and supports voices from underserved communities so that they are able to play meaningful roles in shaping policies that affect their lives.

To learn more about the Foundation for Louisiana or contribute to their efforts, please see FFL’s web site at www.foundationforlouisiana.org