Baton Rouge Area Foundation
||This article appears to be written like an advertisement. (June 2011)|
|Founder(s)||The Foundation was founded in June 1964 by eleven civic leaders who wanted to use the Foundation as a tool for community development.|
|Key people||John G. Davies, president and CEO; John M. Spain, executive vice president|
|Area served||South Louisiana|
|Focus(es)||Linking donors with nonprofits and conducting civic projects|
|Endowment||$563 million at year-end 2012|
Baton Rouge Area Foundation ("The Foundation") is a community foundation dedicated to enhancing the quality of life in Louisiana's capital region, and is registered with the IRS as a 501(c)(3) tax-deductible nonprofit organization. Over the past 40 years, the Baton Rouge Area Foundation has responded to the wishes of its donors, the concerns of its members, and the community's needs by issuing grants totaling close to $200 million.
In addition to grants, the Baton Rouge Area Foundation has the flexibility to launch community initiatives without politics or other entanglements. Alarmed, for instance, at the rapid rise in new AIDS cases in Baton Rouge in 2002, The Foundation convened key stakeholders who formed the group Baton Rouge Citizens Against HIV and launched an awareness campaign known as Protect Yourself Baton Rouge. Since then, local testing has increased and the number of new reported cases has fallen.
- 1 History
- 2 Structure
- 3 Mission
- 4 Funds
- 5 Membership
- 6 References
- 7 External links
In 1964, a group of 12 Baton Rouge business leaders created the Foundation to raise money and purchase land for the Gulf South Research Institute (GSRI) to locate offices in Baton Rouge. Since then, the nonprofit Foundation has pursued its work in two ways, connecting philanthropists to nonprofits across South Louisiana and some other parts of the world and taking on civic leadership projects, such as health and school reform, reviving downtown Baton Rouge and creating The Water Institute of the Gulf.
In assets, BRAF is now ranked among the top 30 community foundations in the country in an annual survey by the Columbus Foundation.
Highlights of the Foundation's work include:
- 1964 acquisition of property for Gulf South Research Institute (GSRI)
- Initiated The Community Fund for the Arts Campaign, which is currently managed by The Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge
- 1988 - a $700,000 investment to support Pennington Biomedical Research Institute and its new director, Dr. George Bray
- Worked with Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) to seed the beginning of Community Development Corporation in Baton Rouge
- Created the Academic Distinction Fund.
- Funded and consistently supported the Citizen's Task Force on Education, which spearheaded the conclusion of the East Baton Rouge Parish Desegregation Case
- Coordinated the process that lead to Baton Rouge being awarded $18.6 million Hope VI Grant to revitalize the area between downtown Baton Rouge and LSU
- Actively initiated and funded Plan Baton Rouge, Forum 35, Main Street Market, and BREADA
- Spearheaded the creation of the Shaw Center for the Arts
- Initiated HIV/AIDS Awareness Campaign to educate local citizens on the alarming rate of new HIV/AIDS cases
- Created the Water Institute of the Gulf. TWIG is created to provide independent science for taking on the double threat of rising waters and subsiding lands in deltas around the world.
- Created New Schools for Baton Rouge.
Responding to Hurricane Katrina
The Foundation's grant making teams performed hundreds of assessments, identified pressing needs for displaced residents, and issued over $600,000 in emergency grants to aid organizations and shelters within 10 days of the storm. As the recovery process moves forward, The Foundation continues to help displaced residents in the areas of basic human needs, physical and mental health, education, and employment. Further, The Foundation has played a key role in the planning process that will re-envision the state of Louisiana and connect south Louisiana in ways that are more productive for all.
Late in 2006, the Baton Rouge Area Foundation launched a mental health initiative in order to offer free and confidential counseling to the citizens impacted by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
The program is specifically and exclusively designed for people suffering from the after-effects of disaster. Developed by the National Center for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and adjusted to the unique population and culture of Louisiana, this program uses proven methods to help those affected cope.
Baton Rouge CityStats
A project launched by The Foundation in 2008 that uses indicators (statistics) to help measure the quality of life in East Baton Rouge. The goal of the project is to help created a shared vision among residents and to establish what is going well and what problem areas need to be addressed. The project uses a total of 50 quality-of-life indicators that measure categories such as economy, education, public safety, and health. CityStats is funded by the Foundation, its donors, and members.
Northshore Community Foundation
The Northshore Community Foundation was started in January 2007 with financial assistance from the Baton Rouge Area Foundation. The Northshore Community Foundation is run be an independent board of representing St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, LIvingston and St. Helena parishes.
Community Foundation of Southwest Louisiana
The Foundation also has a partner in the western part of Louisiana, the Community Foundation of Southwest Louisiana. BRAF provides financial support for the Community Foundation of Southwest Louisiana, which is operated by an independent board. The Community Foundation of Southwest Louisiana serves a total of five parishes - Allen, Beauregard, Calcasieu, Cameron, and Jefferson Davis.
Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence
The Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence is an annual book competition that awards $10,000 to the best work of fiction submitted by an African-American writer. The book award recognizes the accomplishments of Mr. Gaines, a Louisiana native and resident considered among the greatest writers of his time. The winner of the award is honored at a ceremony held in January of the following year. The first award was handed out in January 2008.
The Foundation and its donors created New Schools for Baton Rouge, a nonprofit that is recruiting and providing resources to charter schools. NSBR is working to improve failed schools that were taken over by the state of Louisiana.
The Baton Rouge Area Foundation is governed by directors who are appointed for three-year terms. Members may serve two consecutive terms after which they must rotate off for at least one year. The Board has fifteen at-large directors elected by the members. The immediate past Board Chair serves as a member of the Executive Committee and member of the Board, as does the Chief Executive Officer of the Foundation. Founding Chair John W. Barton Sr. has a permanent seat as Chair Emeritus on the Board and its Executive Committee.
Members of the Baton Rouge Area Foundation provide the resources that drive the administrative activities and leadership programs they undertake on an annual basis. Without membership dues the staff could not continue to provide the support that they offer to both the nonprofit agencies and their donors.
The Baton Rouge Area Foundation unites human and financial resources to enhance the quality of life in Louisiana's capital region.
To achieve the mission, The Foundation:
- Serves donors to build the assets that drive initiatives and solutions
- Engages community leaders to develop appropriate responses to emerging opportunities and challenges
- Evaluates their work and shares the results with its stakeholders.
The Baton Rouge Area Foundation serves eight parishes that make up the Greater Baton Rouge Area
- Arts and Humanities
- Community Development
- Human Services
Establishing a fund with The Foundation will allow donors to leave a lasting impression in the Baton Rouge community, especially in the areas of interest of the fund donor. There are many different types of funds that can be established. As the fund continues to grow over time, it allows the fund donor to continually make contributions to the community helping to create a lasting impact. There is also a tax deduction associated with a charitable donation.
Donor Advised Fund
A donor-advised fund is a charitable giving vehicle administered by the Foundation and created for the purpose of managing charitable donations on behalf of the donor. A donor-advised fund offers the opportunity to create an easy-to-establish, flexible vehicle for charitable giving as an alternative to direct giving or creating a private foundation.
Field of Interest Fund
A field of interest fund is a fund created to help a specific area, such as education, that the donor is interested in. Field of interest funds are managed by the Foundation and its board of directors.
Unrestricted funds, in the case of the Baton Rouge Area Foundation, help the Foundation to pay for emerging opportunities that benefit the community as a whole. The donor places no restrictions on how their donations are used and decisions are made by the board of directors. Unrestricted funds allow the Foundation to have flexibility in funding large projects such as the Shaw Center for the Arts.
Scholarship funds are established to assist college students with grants that help cover the cost of tuition, room, and board. The Foundation assists the donor in the selection process creation that finds worthy students for the scholarships.
Members of the Baton Rouge Area Foundation support and shape the future of Baton Rouge. They share a commitment to serve their neighbors, especially those in need, and prepare our community for the future.
Baton Rouge's best and brightest come to The Foundation to work together, seeking solutions to our community's biggest challenges today, before they become the hardships of tomorrow.
Signature Membership is an invitation that welcomes everyone to experience the joys of philanthropy. By supporting The Foundation's ability to advocate for equity and creative community solutions, Signature Members both help their neighbors today, and prepare the community for the challenges of tomorrow. Signature Membership is a way for the community's citizens to pursue their civic interests; their efforts keep the Foundation flexible, prepared to respond to any challenge.
Level 1 ($100-$499)
Members receive The Foundation's Monthly E-newsletter, Annual Report, Quarterly Publication, an Invitation to the Annual Meeting, and Listing in The Foundation's Annual Report and website.
Level 2 ($500-$999)
In addition to Level 1 benefits, Signature Level 2 members will also receive two special editions of Currents, The Foundation's quarterly publication.
Level 3 ($1,000-$2,499)
In addition to Level 2, members at this level are invited to attend an Annual Insider's Report with key staff of The Foundation. At this event, members and staff will reflect on the activities of The Foundation and discuss ongoing initiatives.
Founders Forum Membership
Founders Forum Membership is named in honor of the 13 founders. Their vision for Baton Rouge in 1964 is reflected in the success of the city today. Their efforts can be seen in the downtown skyline, in the success of The Foundation's scholarship programs, and in the way The Foundation has been able to respond to the continuing challenges of Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita. Founders Forum Members help to make some of the most exciting and important work possible. The passion of Founders Forum Members are the driving key for community concerns and important initiatives like Old South Baton Rouge Revitalization Project have flourished.
Level 1 ($2,000-$4,999)
Members receive an invitation to the Annual Founders Forum Dinner and all the incentives associated with Signature Membership.
Level 2 ($5,000-$9,999)
In addition to Level 1, members at this level are invited to attend and annual Community Forecasting Event, at which members and staff explore the direction of The Foundation and future of the community.
Partners in Civic Advancement ($10,000)
New in 2009, members at this level receive all Founders Forum benefits, as well as an invitation to two breakfasts at which civic projects are discussed and shaped.
The reward of membership is in the programs offered by the community's many nonprofit services, in the smiles of children learning to read, in the relief felt by people seeking shelter after the recent Hurricanes.
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