NEW ORLEANS – For the latest New Orleans 500 “Question of the Month” feature, the Biz New Orleans editorial team asked area business leaders what types of philanthropic organizations they support and whether their approach had changed since the pandemic.
36% of email survey respondents said they focus their philanthropic efforts on educating and training the nonprofit workforce. 30% say they spend on social welfare organizations. And 28% mainly support associations, chambers and economic development groups. A smaller group (6%) said they prioritized social clubs.
From many of the responses, it was clear that if we had included an “all of the above” option, it would have been a popular choice.
Here are some notable quotes from the survey responses:
“As a Jefferson Parish community foundation, philanthropy is our business. We are seeing that more companies are interested in engaging in parish improvement initiatives. There is increased interest in diversity and equity as well as child care/early education.” — Christine Briede, Executive Director of the Jefferson Community Foundation
“As Northshore’s community foundation, philanthropy is obviously at the heart of everything we do. Our approach remains consistent, which is to simplify and magnify philanthropy in our four-parish region. What has been remarkable throughout the pandemic is the continued generosity and strong commitment of our members and partners to ensure we are taking care of the most vulnerable among us during these unprecedented times. — Susan Bonnett Bourgeois, President and CEO of the Northshore Community Foundation
“Home Bank has an employee giving program called Home Bank Helps in addition to the bank’s sponsorship and grant programs. We focus on workforce development and housing security because it’s the best way to build generational wealth and ultimately improve our overall community. We are a community bank, so we focus on the overall financial health of the places where we live, work and play. — John Zollinger, EVP and Director of Commercial Banking at Home Bank
“As a professional services firm, our business depends on a growing and thriving community. This includes not only businesses, but also the residents of this community. Non-profit organizations are essential to our community. … One of our key values at P&N is to partner with our community so that our employees develop a desire to be involved in organizations for which they have a personal passion. — Philip Gunn, Managing Director, New Orleans office at Postlethwaite & Netterville
“Providing educational opportunities is more valuable in the long run than providing financial assistance. Both are essential, but I have chosen to provide financial aid and scholarships to students at my alma mater and the Family Firm Institute, a professional organization that studies trends in family business succession around the world. … We pride ourselves in believing that you can’t go wrong with being kind and giving back to a community that has been so generous to our company. — Randy Waesche, President and CEO of Resource Management
“We include this statement in our Mackie One Core Values: We give unskilled and undereducated hard workers the opportunity to learn a skill and earn a respectable living wage to raise their families independently, without government assistance. —Earl Mackie, Mackie One Construction
“Susco’s primary goal is to empower people to contribute in more meaningful and fulfilling ways. Susco creates intuitive enterprise software that unlocks the potential of its users, develops its workforce holistically and contributes to organizations that enable disadvantaged people to achieve the American Dream. These organizations include Son of a Saint (they mentor fatherless boys) and Junior Achievement (they teach city kids about finance and entrepreneurship). — Neel Sus, CEO and Founder of Susco
“As a people-based organization, Complete Logistical Services adopts a company-wide divide and conquer approach by encouraging employees to participate in non-profit organizations. CLS offers all of its employees a full week of volunteer time off every year in support of our commitment to local communities. It’s a way of exemplifying our core value “Live Oak”. — Angela Verdin, President of Complete Logistics Services
“AxoSim’s philanthropic goals support organizations that focus on educating and investing in our youth in the areas of STEM, workforce development, and mentorship. Investing in our city’s youth is crucial to both its success and ours as a region.. We work with several great local organizations and continue to expand our community footprint. —Lowry Curley, CEO of AxoSim
“The pandemic has underscored for us the importance of quality early childhood education. We like the model developed by Early Partners, which collaborates with parents and employers. —Gay Le Breton, Managing Director of Chaffe & Associates
“We partner with local nonprofit organizations that provide hands-on workforce training while exposing students to our industry. We provide training and exposure to furniture making while emphasizing the importance of a collaborative and positive work environment. Our ability to do these internships has diminished during the pandemic due to the security measures in place. —Jordan Rose, co-owner of GoodWood NOLA
“We try to support organizations with which we can also develop pro bono relationships. Alternatively, we have a matching program where employees can direct company contributions to organizations they support. — Tim Gray, Partner at Forman Watkins & Krutz
“We have provided more than $2 million to nonprofit organizations over the past 20 years, in addition to service projects directly impacted by our employees.. The pandemic has strengthened our resolve towards philanthropy and we believe it is more important than ever for businesses of all types to get involved and stay involved in improving these lives and the environments in which we live and operate. — William Lemoine, President of Building Construction at Lemoine Company
The New Orleans 500 is a curated list of influential, involved and inspiring executives in the greater New Orleans area. Each month, the Biz New Orleans editorial team sends them an email survey to help gather economic data as well as valuable information, insights and opinions.