Lagniappe: 5 Social Impact Orgs That Deserve Your #Giving
Lagniappe* is a series on the Camelback Blog through which team members share curated lists of thought-provoking content related to our mission.
Last week, we focused on #giving on our social media. There's nothing we love more than the opportunity to celebrate and appreciate other orgs in the social impact space doing great work. Each member of the Camelback Team took a day to highlight an incredible organization that we feel is making bold moves to pay it forward to their communities. We hope you enjoy learning more about these groups, and encourage you to please share with us your favorite people and organizations that are making an impact!
MONDAY: AMANDA'S PICK - ROUX CARRÉ
“My first draft write-up about Roux Carré was simply: 😍. Roux Carré is an open-air, food court like space that brings together three things that New Orleans does best: food, music, and community. More than just a beautiful concept, Roux Carré is a productive accelerator that gives food entrepreneurs the chance to start their business with low-overhead rentals in a ‘unique, culturally grounded gathering space’ on Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard (for those outside NOLA, OC Haley is a neighborhood historically known for diverse, thriving commerce and social justice work, currently being revitalized by local businesses like the Dryades Public Market and Roux Carré). The space is a project by Good Work Network, a long-standing part of the entrepreneurial scene here by providing minority- and women-owned vendors with training, back-office assistance, coaching, and more. I love Roux Carré's emphasis on both celebration and sustainability, and I highly recommend checking it out if you’re in town!”
TUESDAY: AARON'S PICK - GIRL TREK
"Girls really do run the world. When black women come together and put themselves first, powerful things happen for families and communities. They dream of the businesses they will start, the schools that will be built to educate our children, and the shifts in the political system that are needed to bring justice for all. From Harriet Tubman to Rosa Parks, black women have always been the drivers of movements for freedom and change, and that’s why I’m excited to share one of my favorite orgs in our Giving Spotlight this week.
I am in love with GirlTrek, a nonprofit founded by T. Morgan Dixon and Vanessa Garrison. GirlTrek is on a mission to get 1,000,000 black women to live their healthiest, most fulfilled lives through a daily habit of walking together in neighborhood–based groups. Trekkers walk to heal their bodies, inspire their families, and reclaim their streets. Women all across the country are joining the Girl Trek movement – including in New Orleans where there are over 1,000. Check out their site and find a walk near you.
Girl Trek is changing communities around the country, and gives women of color the platform to engage on a new level. To Girl Trek and Trekkers, thank you for all that you do. Stand tall and stand strong. I'm with you."
WEDNESDAY: JON'S PICK - ROOTS OF RENEWAL
"Louisiana has the highest incarceration rate in the country, with up to 70% of formerly incarcerated individuals remaining unemployed up to a year after their release. Roots of Renewal is working to change that cycle here in New Orleans. They aim their efforts on two major impact issues: workforce development post-incarceration and building affordable housing to keep the people that make New Orleans in New Orleans. That dual focus makes giving to Roots of Renewal that much more important. Root for New Orleans by donating to them this giving season."
THURSDAY: JACOB'S PICK - OVERCOMING RACISM
"I decided to highlight Overcoming Racism, because the work that Matthew Kincaid and his team are doing is imperative to the education of our youth. Overcoming Racism trains and empowers educators through workshops on systemic racism, equipping them with the tools to enable students to be agents of change in their environment and resist racism actively. I believe that this work is extremely important, especially when I look at the data regarding the school to prison pipeline. There are also studies that suggest educators of all races view students of color as older and less innocent than their non-minority peers, which makes programs like Overcoming Racism all the more necessary.
Matthew is challenging the way we think and feel about race, which is not an easy problem to solve. Today, the Camelback team and I thank Matthew for his continued progress. Organizations like Overcoming Racism inspire us every day towards creating livable communities for all people. He's currently working with the National Conference for Community and Justice and our friends at Propeller here in New Orleans."
FRIDAY: ELIZABETH'S PICK - RISINGFOUNDATIONS
"Starting your own business is hard, for many reasons. It’s hard for those of us who are privileged enough to start at Square 1. For many people, Square 1 probably means that you’ve never started your own business before, but you have an idea and you have some skills.
There’s a good chance at Square 1 that you also have a job to pay your bills, a car, a driver’s license, a checking account, and probably a little savings to start it and fall back on just in case. Sounds pretty reasonable, right?
Now imagine that you’re not starting at Square 1. Your access to opportunity was limited - you have hustle and entrepreneurial experience, but via illicit means. Now, you have a felony conviction, and are part of the over 80% of ex-felons who are unemployed or underemployed due to (largely legal) employer discrimination. Your child support payments didn’t stop adding up while you were in prison. You don’t have a car. You don’t have a driver’s license. You don’t have a checking account. You don’t have a credit history.
This scenario is a real possibility for the 1 in 7 African American men who are either in prison or on probation or parole in New Orleans. Looking at the state of Louisiana, we have the largest per capita prison population in the world.
Among other services for individuals reentering society after incarceration, RisingFoundations has now begun a small business incubator. This program fosters self-sufficiency for these men through self-employment and small business creation - taking them from behind Square 1, to Square 1, and beyond. They empower these men to develop small businesses to initially supplement their income, and eventually provide full time employment for themselves, and even other formerly incarcerated people.
Rising Foundations currently has 10 small business owners in their incubator, 7 members are earning income through their businesses, 3 they got enrolled in school to earn necessary certifications/licenses."
*“Lagniappe” has come to mean “a little something extra after a transaction,” and is a word historically derived from the language melting pot of 1800s New Orleans. Mark Twain wrote in Life on the Mississippi (1883), “We picked up one excellent word, a word worth traveling to New Orleans to get; a nice limber, expressive, handy word-'lagniappe'.... It is Spanish-so they said."