Alumni of CABL’s Leadership Louisiana program are always in the middle of major issues, events, and happenings in Louisiana. That’s true once again in the aftermath of Hurricane Laura.
It’s unfortunate, but also uplifting. Louisiana happens to be a disaster-prone state, or at least it feels that way to all of us who live here. Things like big storms, big floods, and big oil spills just seem to be a part of our DNA. But so do big hearts.
One thing our Leadership Louisiana program has shown us, is that our alumni are always reaching out, always involved, and always providing leadership in time of great need. We’ve seen it countless times after every disaster that’s befallen the state.
As you might expect, it’s happening again. Sara Judson is the CEO of the Community Foundation of Southwest Louisiana. She is also a Leadership Louisiana alum from the class of 2004. The foundation she leads is at the center of the philanthropy efforts to fuel the recovery of the region. So much so that they had already started working on it before the storm even hit.
If you would like join with their efforts, simply go to HELPSWLA.org and you can give immediately.
It’s a great way to help. CABL believes in the work of community foundations, and in many cases they support our own efforts. While there are lots of places to give after a disaster, these foundations are local. They know their communities, they work closely with trusted nonprofits who provide a wide range of services, and they can move quickly to get resources in the hands of those who need them most.
Outsiders know that, too. The community foundation in Lake Charles has already received $1 million from the Walmart Foundation, as well as large donations from Cheniere Energy, Verizon, United Health Group, the Elon Musk Foundation, and others.
And as you might expect, Sara’s Leadership Louisiana alumni friends are helping, too. Just this week she connected by Zoom with one of her classmates from 2004. Kenny Smith is the CEO of T. Baker Smith, an engineering firm headquartered in Houma. On that call, he pledged $10,000 from his company to help. As circumstances would have it, they were joined in that conversation by Lois Smyth from the Leadership class of 2013. She was there in her role as donor services director at the Baton Rouge Area Foundation.
John Spain, BRAF’s Executive Vice President from the class of 2005, was close by. He, too, is helping lead the philanthropic response to Laura, bringing with him a wealth of disaster recovery experience. And the foundation’s executive counsel, Edmund Giering of the class of 2018, has been on the road surveying damage and providing assistance in parts of central and north Louisiana.
All of this just validates something we already knew at CABL. When it comes to Leadership Louisiana, it is a small world indeed. It is a network of people like no other in our state, and we are proud of the contributions they make to Louisiana each and every day, and especially in times like these of great need.
We encourage all of our Leadership alumni and CABL friends who are looking for way to help those devastated by Hurricane Laura to consider a gift to the Community Foundation of Southwest Louisiana. It’s hard to get in there and help with the clean-up, but it’s easy to make a difference with your support.