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Baton Rouge Area Foundation Named Year’s Most Outstanding Foundation

(Arlington, Va. - March 21, 2011) - For its extraordinary work in responding to the hurricanes that have affected Louisiana since 2006, the Baton Rouge Area Foundation is the recipient of the 2011 Award for Outstanding Foundation presented by the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP).

The award honors a foundation that demonstrates outstanding commitment through financial support and through encouragement and motivation of others to take leadership roles in philanthropy and national, international and/or community involvement. The award will be presented to Alice Greer, chair of the Baton Rouge Area Foundation (BRAF) at the Awards for Philanthropy Banquet in Chicago, Ill., during AFP’s 48th International Conference on Fundraising on Monday, March 21.

Nominated by the AFP Greater Baton Rouge Chapter, BRAF has served eight parishes in Louisiana since 1964. But after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2006, and Hurricane Gustav in 2008, the foundation faced new challenges as many parts of the state were devastated. In response, it established two key funds, the Hurricane Katrina Displaced Residents Fund and the Hurricane Katrina New Orleans Recovery Fund. BRAF raised $45 million for all relief efforts and was able to issue its first set of grants within ten days of the hurricanes.

The foundation took a leadership role in bringing hundreds of agencies, volunteers and communities together to ensure funding reached the right people. In addition, the Greater New Orleans Foundation was displaced because of the hurricanes and without its records and regular office functions. BRAF invited that foundation and Greater New Orleans Inc. to use their facilities. Staffs of the different organizations coordinated and worked together, and BRAF’s offices became a hub of grantmaking and relief activity.

“The  credit for fundraising after the hurricanes goes to people around the world who gave us money without even being asked, and to the hundreds of volunteers who helped us account for and thank the people who made the donations," said Alice Greer, chair of BRAF.

BRAF led a variety of relief projects throughout the Baton Rouge area. It funded a conference for 350 mental health providers and presented research, data and evaluation methods for use with affected populations. The foundation supported the Louisiana Recovery Authority, appointed by the governor to head up rebuilding efforts, by providing additional funds and resources. In addition, BRAF issued several grants to organizations working to return students to classrooms and help them cope with the disasters.  

BRAF helped secure the future of more Louisianans through its work in establishing both the Northshore Community Foundation in 2006 and the Community Foundation of Southwest Louisana in 2007. Both of these areas had grown tremendously but had no community fund to lead rebuilding and other efforts. BRAF provided significant start-up support to both foundations, which now have millions in assets, and continues to serve as an advisor.

“The Baton Rouge Area Foundation has done an amazing job in the face of nearly overwhelming challenges, developing new and inspiring programs that have brought the community together,” said Paulette V. Maehara, CFRE, CAE, president and CEO of AFP. “What the foundation has accomplished—and the leadership it has brought to Louisiana—are a critical part of the state’s rebuilding process, and all of us at AFP are honored to be able to recognize BRAF.”

The AFP Awards for Philanthropy Banquet will take place on Monday, March 21, at 6:30 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency Chicago. More information can be obtained by contacting Michael Nilsen, AFP vice president, public affairs, at mnilsen@afpnet.org or (425) 890-6628.

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The Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) represents 30,000 members in 213 chapters throughout the world, working to advance philanthropy through advocacy, research, education and certification programs.  The association fosters development and growth of fundraising professionals and promotes high ethical standards in the fundraising profession.  For more information, go to www.afpnet.org.



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