The Greater New Orleans Foundation announced the release of a new study, The State of Nonprofits in Southeast Louisiana 2021 - Adaptability And Racial Equity in Year One of the COVID-19 Pandemic, conducted by the University of New Orleans Department of Political Science.
The study found that nonprofits successfully adapted to meet the challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic and that many even expanded their services to support the people of our region. The study also found that while a sizable percentage of nonprofits in Southeast Louisiana have Black and BIPOC executive directors, executive team members, board chairs, and board members, there is still a racial leadership gap within the region’s nonprofit sector, particularly in arts and culture organizations.
“This study allowed us to examine the health of the nonprofit sector, specifically looking at how nonprofits rose to the occasion and adapted to meet the challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic. It also looked at whether we are making progress in achieving greater racial equity in our region and where gaps might exist,” said Andy Kopplin, president and CEO of the Greater New Orleans Foundation. “I remain inspired by the work of nonprofits who ran to the front lines to help our communities get through the pandemic and by the leadership so many in our sector are taking around issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion. This study shows the resilience of our nonprofit sector, the progress we have made, and that there is still much to do."
This is the second study in two years where the Foundation commissioned research by the University of New Orleans Political Science Department as a part of its comprehensive response effort to help nonprofits, philanthropy, and civic organizations better understand how nonprofits have adapted in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the first that examines racial equity in our region’s nonprofit sector.
The study was partially funded by the Greater New Orleans Funders Network.
“I’m grateful that at a time when our community is being confronted with so many critical issues, organizations like the Greater New Orleans Foundation are taking the time to find and fill the gaps,” said Judy Reese Morse, president and CEO, Urban League of Louisiana. “This study allows us to look in the mirror and see the work we must continue to ensure that our nonprofits have the resources and racial equity approach they need to serve our region.”
“The study’s data shows that our region’s nonprofits creatively adapted and largely “held tight” through the first year of the COVID–19 pandemic,“ said Kellie Chavez Greene, vice president of programs, Greater New Orleans Foundation. “The Paycheck Protection Program-forgivable loans had a lot to do with stabilizing the nonprofit sector, and we helped many organizations, especially small nonprofits and those led by leaders of color, access the PPP loans. At the same time there was a surge in funding to support pandemic relief, but now that type of funding is slowing down. At the Greater New Orleans Foundation, we aim to ensure that our nonprofits are ready and able to adjust. This will involve helping them plan for the future, build partnerships, and reimagine how they structure and operate their work.”
"The results of this study offer a great deal of hope, but also underscore a sense of urgency around the significant work left to do to enhance resilience and racial equity in our region’s nonprofits and in the communities they serve," said Takema Robinson, executive director of the Greater New Orleans Funders Network and CEO of Converge. “This report further underscores that the contributions of leaders of color are vital to fueling long-term growth and economic sustainability for communities of color, which has been an oft-ignored social issue. GNOFN is grateful to our partners at GNOF and UNO for shedding light on our region's nonprofit sector."
“This pandemic has changed the way nonprofits operate and it's great to see that reflected in this study,” said Elise Gallinot Goldman, executive director, KID smART. "As we work to return to normal, it is essential that the progress we’ve made and the gaps that remain continue to have a light shined on them.”
The State of Nonprofits in Southeast Louisiana 2021 - Adaptability And Racial Equity in Year One of the COVID-19 Pandemic was developed from an online survey of nonprofits in the region, and includes baseline nonprofit data, insight into the impact of COVID-19 and racial equity on organizations, as well as how nonprofits across the 13-parish region are responding and resourced amidst COVID-19.
“The University of New Orleans was thrilled to partner with the Greater New Orleans Foundation again and expand our research on this important topic," said Steven Mumford, assistant professor at the University of New Orleans, who led this study and its predecessor on behalf of UNO’s Political Science Department. “The study paints a clear picture that while many nonprofits have worked tirelessly to adapt to the pandemic in order to serve their communities, there is still much more work to do to advance racial equity within our sector and region.”