On Saturday, May 11th, more than 755 racers and nearly 2,500 individuals from all over Terrebonne Parish braved the stormy weather and came out for the Terrebonne Foundation Run for Excellence 5K and its famous after-party in downtown Houma. Benny Cenac Jr., CEO of Houma business Cenac Marine Services, has always valued education and childhood-development and was pleased to support Terrebonne Parish public education and Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library.
Cenac Marine sponsored both the volunteer t-shirt and the Terrebonne ARC Food Booth, which served delicious gumbo to guests. The event is the primary fundraiser for the Terrebonne Foundation for Excellence (TFAE) and has raised over a million dollars over the past nineteen years for local educators to fund their programs through grants. The all-you-can-eat-and-drink after-party was the pinnacle of the day—and people came from all over to taste the delicious Cajun specialties offered by forty local vendors and dance to THE FLAMETHROWERS, the number-one party rock cover band in Louisiana.
“Since our inception, TFAE has given more than $1 million in grants to our local public-school teachers through our grant program,” said Kate Portier, the TFAE executive director. “In this current school year alone, TFAE will have funded nearly $95,000 in supplies, innovative projects, and classroom initiatives. We provide grants for new teachers and for innovative projects to engage their students.” Grants this year have included the Houma Junior High School “Girls Who Code – Breaking Down STEM Barriers” program to purchase Chromebooks and other materials, Montegut Elementary School’s “We Are the World News Club,” where students will receive boxes each month that contain snacks, art, literature from different countries that they are studying about, and for $500 worth of classroom supplies to twenty-three new teachers in the parish.
Ainsley’s Angels, a group that pairs children and adults with disabilities with a running partner at events across the nation, sent fifteen participants to the 2019 Run for Excellence. “They work together to enjoy the race and cross the finish line,” Portier said. “It’s a great organization that shows the power of teamwork and inclusion.” Avid philanthropist Benny Cenac Jr. has contributed thousands of dollars to charities such as the Terrebonne Association for Retarded Citizens and Make-A-Wish Foundation, and other organizations that specifically benefit children and individuals with special needs. “I am very fortunate and pleased to continue my support of regional, national, and international organizations all working to better the lives of children everywhere,” said Benny Cenac Jr., “I am deeply invested in the success of the Southeastern Louisiana region and overjoyed seeing my Houma community come together for such a worthy cause.”
Benny Cenac Jr., a third-generation Houma native himself, always looks forward to the Run for Excellence and appreciates the support of the community in joining to fundraise for the Terrebonne Foundation for Academic Excellence and the local children.
Benny Cenac Jr.: From Business Owner to Avid Philanthropist
Benny Cenac Jr. often sponsors events around the community and regularly donates to schools and organizations within Southeastern Louisiana. A proud alum of Nicholls State University, Benny Cenac Jr. is most fond of his involvement with the Nicholls State University College of Business Advisory Board, Nicholls State University Foundation, the Bridge to Independence Program, and the Nicholls State University Culinary School.
Over the years, Benny Cenac Jr. has contributed to organizations within his parish, the state of Louisiana, and dozens of other national and international causes. These include organization such as the Houma-Terrebonne NAACP, O.N.E./C.H.A.N.G.E., Terrebonne Association for Retarded Citizens, American Heart Association, American Cancer Society, Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana, Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation and Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Benny Cenac Jr., who continues to operate multiple businesses out of Houma, is proud to see his small fishing town along the Intracoastal Waterway grow into an economic center and cultural landmark for future generations and is happy to offer his continued support for the tremendous efforts by the TFAE and local education leaders as they instruct the next generation of Houma leaders.