JLNO Awards CAF Grants

The Junior League of New Orleans (JLNO) has awarded funding to seven nonprofit organizations through its Community Assistance Fund (CAF) grant program. The New Orleans Family Justice Center, SisterHearts, Inc., Spirit of Charity Foundation, Start The Adventure In Reading, The New Orleans Women & Children’s Shelter, Touro Infirmary Foundation and unCommon Construction will receive a combined $52,325. JLNO has awarded over $215,000 in CAF grants to organizations in the Metropolitan New Orleans area since 2011. Recipients will be presented checks at the Passing of the Gavel on Tuesday May 15, 2018. Tickets are open to the public and can be purchased at: www.jlno.org/passingofthegavel.

“JLNO is committed to advancing the wellbeing of women in Metropolitan New Orleans,” said JLNO President Kristen Koppel. “We are excited to enhance the work of these worthy organizations through our CAF grant and look forward to the positive impact they will have on our local community.”

The CAF program provides JLNO with a flexible means to grant money to nonprofit agencies effectively demonstrating a dire need for funding and seeking to help women and their families. JLNO has awarded grants to qualifying participants every year since the mid-1980s.

Grant recipients advance the wellbeing of women in one or more of the following ways:

  • Improving economic opportunities for women and supporting women’s potential to seize those opportunities
  • Providing needed family support to alleviate the burdens on women caregivers
  • Promoting information and resources for women’s health, allowing them to live healthy and happy lives

JLNO strives to make a difference in the community by promoting the potential of women through voluntarism and leadership development. With a membership of over 2,100, JLNO is the 9th largest Junior League in the world.

During the past five years, JLNO has invested more than $3 million and approximately 225,000 volunteer hours in the Metropolitan New Orleans area.


About the CAF grant award winners:

New Orleans Family Justice Center

Founded in 2007, NOFJC is a public-private partnership of agencies dedicated to ending family violence, dating violence, sexual assault, child abuse, human trafficking and stalking. NOFJC’s one-stop, victim-services center uses prevention strategies and a coordinated response to violence. This co-location model is recognized nationally as best-practice for survivors, as it eliminates the need to schedule multiple appointments across the city to address multiple issues. Their service pledge directs their strategies: Provide survivor-centered services, create an atmosphere and culture of empowerment, enhance partner collaboration and excellence and provide community outreach and education. NOFJC’s primary strategy uses trauma-informed principles in all aspects of our work. Staff and partners receive extensive training and supervision on applying a trauma-informed lens to how the collaborative works and functions.


SisterHearts, Inc.

SisterHearts was started while its founder was incarcerated serving 13 of a 25-year sentence. After her release in 2013 she officially began the organization, SisterHearts, Inc. which is a reentry and transitional program focusing on women.

After her release, she experienced many disparities in her reentry process that was very different from men reentering society after incarceration. She found that women were greatly affected mentally and emotionally more so than men. Which means women reentry was much more complicated and stressful. She decided to become the change needed in reentry that women needed to feel safe in an unforgiving society after prison. She knew from first-hand experience what women needed after the trauma of incarceration through many months of being caged and chained in a 6×9 prison cell year after year.

SisterHearts, Inc. mission is to assist formerly incarcerated women re-integrate back into society, while building economic stability in a nurturing environment


Spirit of Charity Foundation on behalf of University Medical Center New Orleans

This Foundation has traditionally supported the medical needs of the most vulnerable populations. Since 1993, the Foundation has raised the level of patient care at Charity and University Hospitals, the Interim LSU Hospital and, now, the new UMCNO. During this time, their mission has remained steadfast. It is the mission of the Spirit of Charity Foundation to support and facilitate patient-centered care, actively promote health and wellness and to advance medical research and education through fundraising efforts for the benefit of the University Medical Center New Orleans, its patients and friends.


Start The Adventure In Reading

Start The Adventure In Reading (STAIR) is a 32-year-old children’s literacy program that provides free one-on-one tutoring in reading and language skills to lower elementary public school students at risk of failing at no cost to their families or schools after school and Saturday mornings. Founded in 1985 in New Orleans, STAIR has served more than 7,500 young students and their families from across greater New Orleans. STAIR is led by a strong all-volunteer Board of Directors and Advisory Council, staffed by experienced non-profit and literacy administrators, and endowed with a volunteer force of more than 350 trained community individuals. STAIR’s mission is to improve the reading skills and self-esteem of lower elementary school students. During the 2017-18 school year, STAIR will operate 25 tutoring sites serving approximately 225 public elementary school students, 48% female students, from 43+ schools across greater New Orleans.


The New Orleans Women & Children’s Shelter

The New Orleans Women & Children’s Shelter (NOWCS) was established to help homeless women and children stabilize, develop personal capacity, transition to their own homes and remain independent.  100% of the women and children NOWCS serves are homeless upon program entry and are below the federal poverty rate in terms of annual income. NOWCS serves women and children of all ethnicities and faith backgrounds. NOWCS provides safe shelter, personalized case management, and wraparound services to homeless families – all at no cost to them. Since NOWCS began serving homeless women and children in 2007, 80% of the 1,600 persons served have successfully transitioned to independence.


Touro Infirmary Foundation

The Touro Infirmary Foundation was established in 1991 to support the mission of Touro Infirmary and the hospital’s commitment to quality patient care, health education and community service. They accomplish this by developing resources for patients, staff, and physicians, as well as financial stewardship of gifts received.


unCommon Construction

unCommon Construction is a New Orleans nonprofit that uses the build process to empower youth in a real-world learning environment, preparing them to lead the workforce after high school or college. uCC was founded in 2015 by former educators and veterans of nonprofit construction agencies to simultaneously address education, workforce, and youth development needs through practical experience. Each semester at unCommon Construction, teams of roughly 15 high school Apprentices earns hourly pay, school internship credit, and equity-based scholarships for building a house from foundation to finish. In the process, Apprentices develop technical construction skills as well as the transferrable 21st century skills needed to thrive in any career.