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Eight Black-led Community Development Organizations in New Orleans share $750,000 from new foundation-backed fund

American Cities

Enterprise Community Partners (Enterprise) has launched the New Orleans Community Development Organization (CDO) Fund, an initiative that will provide critical operating support to Black-led New Orleans nonprofits that serve as anchors of the city’s neighborhoods. Eight local organizations will share the CDO Fund’s first $750,000 in philanthropic funding, using it to enhance their work and support their communities throughout the recovery from Covid-19. The CDO Fund is part of Enterprise’s Equitable Path Forward initiative to dismantle the deeply-rooted legacy of systemic racism in housing and community development.

The New Orleans CDO Fund is supported by grants from the Ford Foundation, Kresge Foundation and JPMorgan Chase. Modeled after a similar fund in Detroit that launched in 2020, the Fund will provide financial and technical assistance, support neighborhood Covid-19 recovery, help to create affordable single-family homes and ensure the grantees can develop and train new staff.

“The financial and technical assistance that Jane Place will receive from the CDO Fund will help increase our capacity to develop the quality, permanently affordable rental housing our community needs. We are in pre-development for our most ambitious project to date. Knowing that we will be able to turn to Enterprise for support over the course of the project will help ensure its success,” said Veronica M. Reed, executive director of Jane Place Neighborhood Sustainability Initiative, one of the grantees.

Enterprise hopes to expand the fund to invest in Black-led neighborhood stewards across the city for the long term and will continue to seek additional funding.

“Black-led community organizations have always been essential in New Orleans, and they proved invaluable over the past year as our neighborhoods weathered the economic and health impacts of Covid-19,” said Michelle Whetten, vice president and Gulf Coast market leader, Enterprise. “We are thrilled to bring this funding model to New Orleans after seeing its success in Detroit, particularly as we work toward the goals of our Equitable Path Forward Initiative. We are thankful to our like-minded funders—Ford, Kresge, and JPMorgan Chase—for making this resource possible.”

“What we’ve learned in Detroit is that Community Development Organizations that are deeply rooted in place have a powerful understanding of neighborhood histories, desires and assets. This puts them in a unique position to advance community priorities,” said Chantel Rush, managing director of Kresge’s American Cities Program.

As Enterprise’s CDO Fund model continues to expand across the country, first in Detroit and now into New Orleans, grantees from across the country will participate in virtual gatherings where they can share information and experience that will help them to best support their communities.

“We are proud to support this effort. We believe Black-led CDOs are essential to bringing about affordable housing and recovery from the coronavirus pandemic in New Orleans,” said Jacqueline Burton, acting program officer of Ford Foundation’s Cities and States. “We are inspired to see this cohort model design and look forward to this group of organizations collaborating with those in Detroit to share lessons and best practices for realizing equitable outcomes for these cities.”

“Strengthening community-development nonprofits in New Orleans is vital to stabilizing the communities hardest hit by the pandemic—and to laying the foundation for an inclusive recovery. JPMorgan Chase is invested in seeing New Orleans thrive and is proud to be partnering with Ford, Kresge and Enterprise in this important work,” said Erika Wright, vice president of philanthropy in Louisiana for JPMorgan Chase.

The eight New Orleans community organizations receiving support through the CDO Fund are: