This November marks the 20th anniversary of the Community Foundation of Acadiana and their effort to connect the generous public of the region to build lasting legacies and improve their communities; this notable milestone was outlined in a featured piece in the Advocate.
CFA is different from other nonprofits, as it’s not the end beneficiary, meaning they help donors establish funds and direct their dollars to make grants to churches, schools, and other entities and nonprofit organizations. In addition to this CFA organizes civic engagement opportunities for “the betterment of communities” across the Acadiana area.
This year with the fondation activating its Acadiana Disaster Response Fund following Hurricane Laura and remaining active in Hurricane Delta’s aftermath, the primary mission of the foundation has become more important than ever before. This is because donations to this fund are being used to support organizations that are working with people and communities most affected by the storms.
Raymond Hebert, the CEO of the Community Foundation of Acadiana, remarked on the foundation’s granting of more than $50 million in disaster/emergency response funds over a span of 20 years. He told The Advocate, “we are not a disaster organization, but over the years, we realized that a significant number of dollars with which people entrusted us would benefit organizations to help people affected by disasters and emergencies.”
In addition to storm relief, the foundation is continuing to work with those organizations assisting people and communities affected by the COVID-10 pandemic, as CFA has made more than $1.5 million in pandemic-related grants this year alone. Even after working across two decades, the foundation isn’t slowing down anytime soon.
These effects from both the multiple storms and the pandemic are expected to last for many months, causing CFA to already begin making plans for 2021’s South Louisiana Giving Day, which is “not a CFA fundraiser,” Hebert explained. “It is a fundraising tool CFA champions that helps provide access to all area nonprofits, churches and schools. It’s a powerful social media-driven endeavor that these organizations can use wisely as a strategic part of their own fundraising efforts.”Registration for the event opens in January with the Giving Day taking place on May 6th, 2021.
Another of the foundation’s major ongoing projects is the establishing of local affiliates in each parish in which CFA serves: Acadia, Evangeline, Iberia, Lafayette, St Landry, St. Mary, St. Martin, and Vermillion.
In addition to this, CFA partnered with The Brown Foundation in Metairie, Louisiana to establish the Leaders in Law Enforcement Awards. Annually, one Louisiana Sheriff’s office and one district attorney’s office are awarded and recognized for doing innovative, creative, and effective work. This year, the Ouachita Parish Sheriff’s Office and the 40th Judicial District Attorney’s Office were awarded with a $25,000 cash award underwritten by the Brown Foundation.
Hebert reflected on the impact of the community foundation by stating, “over these 20 years, we have learned about a lot of things we can do that were never on our radar before. We live in a very entrepreneurial area. People are not afraid to take some risks and be creative, and I think that spirit carries over into their philanthropy. We are pretty creative and pretty nimble, so we are able to do much to help people achieve their philanthropic objectives.”
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