Over $2.2 Million Raised During Inaugural GiveNOLA Day

May 7, 2014

A giant leaderboard has been set up in Lafayette Square to provide constant updates during GiveNOLA Day. The Greater New Orleans Foundation also held an event, with food trucks and a DJ, in the afternoon.
Credit Jason Saul / WWNO

This story has been updated.

Over 19,000 gifts, totaling more than $2.2 million, were made to area nonprofits on Tuesday during the first GiveNOLA Day.

A project of the Greater New Orleans Foundation, and modeled on similar giving days held across the nation, GiveNOLA Day is designed to put individuals together with over 300 participating nonprofits from across the 13 parishes covered by GNOF.

Joann Ricci, Vice President of Organizational Effectiveness at the Greater New Orleans Foundation, spoke with us from GNOF's Lee Circle GiveNOLA Day "war room", and from Lafayette Square, where a giant electronic notification board has been erected to show the latest updates.

So, what is GiveNOLA Day?

GiveNOLA Day is the first community online giving day where we’re asking everyone to be a philanthropist. It’s a way to support giving to our nonprofits who feed folks, who give them health care, who take care of our kids, provide education, and make this a vibrant community.

It’s about 10 o’clock in the morning now; your goal is about a million dollars for the day. How are you doing so far?

Well, we are so thankful to the over 4,000 already-donors who have given over $600,000. So we think we’re going to meet our goal of 5,000 donors, and we hope to far surpass our million dollar goal to raise that much money for our 300-plus nonprofits that are participating today in GiveNOLA.

You said there are over 300 organizations — what kind of organizations are they? Large ones? Small ones?

We have a variety. We have small nonprofits, all-volunteer driven organizations, we have mid-sized nonprofits, and we have some of the larger nonprofits over a million dollars. Everybody from arts organizations to health and human services to youth development to education. If you care for animals, there’s a nonprofit you can donate to — a couple of nonprofits you can donate to, cats and dogs.

Can you tell me more about the nonprofit scene here in New Orleans? How have things changed over the past decade?

I would say post-Katrina it was the nonprofits who came back first. They were some of the first responders to help rebuild the city. They worked at rebuilding homes, they got kids into schools, they provided needed health and support for folks. They were our first responders, and it was on the backbone, if you will, of many of those nonprofits rebuilding our city. We’ve grown — the nonprofit sector — since Katrina. Right now, in Orleans Parish alone, there are 1,900 nonprofits. That’s a large number, but they are really filling the gaps in service and really making a difference for everyone, whether you’re a senior citizen, or whether you’re a two-year-old. And everything in-between.

Greater New Orleans Foundation employees have been closely monitoring the day's activity.
Credit Jason Saul / WWNO

So your job at the Greater New Orleans Foundation is assisting those nonprofits in being more effective?

Yes, that’s correct. We want to build on the strengths and assets of those nonprofits in making sure that their governance is sound, that they have good management tools in place, that their leadership has the tools and the skills and the expertise to really live into their mission and make an impact in our community.

Where do you see the future of the nonprofit sector here in New Orleans? Do you think it’s going to continue to expand to fill some niches, or do you think there’s going to be a retrenchment?

Well, you know, probably a little of both. Nonprofits are in a life-cycle: some are startups, some have been around for many, many years. And I think, as new people come into the city, and people see new needs in the community, people become very innovative and they want to make a difference in the lives of folks and really support the transformation of the City of New Orleans and the surrounding region. So, we’ve seen a lot of startups. We’ve seen a few nonprofits go away; you know, it was their time, maybe they met their mission. And I think on something like a GiveNOLA Day, today is when people can really show how important nonprofits are to the fiber, the very fiber, of making New Orleans a vibrant and very prosperous city.

What was the impetus for GiveNOLA Day?

The Greater New Orleans Foundation works with donors as well as nonprofits, and we believed that, through a GiveNOLA Day, we could really shine a spotlight on the great work of nonprofits. We could help them build their individual donor base. And we could provide an easy opportunity for new folks — who may not know about all these great nonprofits — a simple and easy way to give. You can go online to GiveNOLA.org; you can make a donation as little as $10, $100, $1000 — you can even give $10,000 if you want! And you can do it to one or more organizations — we have over 300 organizations. So this was really a way to prove the giving spirit. This is a very generous city, and it’s another way for folks to display their generosity and be a philanthropist, all at the same time. We’re going to be taking donations until 11:59 p.m. tonight, so be part of this opportunity to exceed our $1 million goal.

WWNO is a participant in GiveNOLA Day, and is the recipient of a major grant from the Greater New Orleans Foundation in support of our coastal reporting initiative.

This story has been updated to reflect the final number of gifts and total amount of money raised.