Change is upon us whether we like it or not. In this “post” Covid-19 world, so many things have changed – the way we communicate, have meetings, travel, and even greet our loved ones. While Covid-19 has resulted in much hardship, not all the changes that have occurred have been negative. Moreover, with the influx of federal funding and our newfound resilience and ability to adapt quickly to change, North Louisianians have a unique opportunity to make real and lasting change in our community.
Since shifting my career as a practicing attorney to philanthropy, at least once a week someone asks me how a young professional might become more involved in the community or help to effect positive change. While social media and the internet provide ever-ready sources of information, sorting through the over-abundance of information is becoming increasingly difficult. Since 1961, Community Foundation of North Louisiana has been the intersection of community issues, nonprofit organizations, and local philanthropists. We invite you to join us to improve the qualify of life in North Louisiana.
Step 1: Become More Informed About Your Community
Accurate data is essential to help our community set priorities, track progress, formulate policy, and allocate resources. To help drive change in our area, the Community Foundation has been tracking data and publishing Community Counts since 2008. Data for the Shreveport-Bossier Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) is collected and tracked in six categories – Population, Economics, Human Capital, Health, Social Environment, and Physical Environment. Each fall, we present Community Counts as a free resource to our community. See: cfnla.org/data.
Step 2: Get to Know the Organizations Doing Good in Your Community
Founded in 2014 by Community Foundation of North Louisiana, Give For Good returns on May 4, 2021. This 24-hour online giving day provides a searchable online platform of 239 North Louisiana nonprofit organizations. Each participating nonprofit provides a summary of its work as well as volunteer opportunities. This is a great first stop to learning more about our area nonprofits.
Since its inception, Give For Good has raised over $12 million for North Louisiana nonprofit organizations. It allows the nonprofits to raise unrestricted dollars for the life-changing assistance they provide to those in need in our community. (Notably, Community Foundation does not receive any proceeds from Give For Good.)
If you are looking for a way to help during this difficult time, Give For Good provides the perfect internet platform for social-distanced philanthropy. By donating online during Give For Good, you can do your part from home. Donations at any level can really make a difference. A community giving collectively is much more powerful than any one donor alone. Whether a donation is $10 or $10,000, all donations are indispensable to the nonprofit services they support. Donations may be made online anytime between April 20th and May 4th.
Step 3: Get Involved and Become a Changemaker
For young professionals under 60 interested in taking a deeper look at the diverse needs facing Shreveport-Bossier, we invite you to join CFNLA’s inaugural class of Emerging Changemakers and Changemakers.
This Group Is: a way for young professionals to connect with Community Foundation resources and information at no cost; a resource to stay informed on community issues; and an educational tool on philanthropy and how to be an engaged citizen. This Group is Not: a networking group; a volunteer organization; or a fundraiser. If you are under 40, we invite you to become an Emerging Changemaker. If you are 40-59, stay tuned for more information about joining our Changemakers group. Participants will learn from CFNLA, other experts in the community and from one another.
At the end of the learning sessions, participants will be given the opportunity to create real and actual change in our community! Together Changemakers and Emerging Changemakers will select a community issue, study it, and work on solutions together. “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” – Helen Keller.
Join us as we Change for Good at cfnla.org/emergingchangemakers.
This article was written by CFNLA CEO Kristi Gustavson and originally published in the Shreveport Times on March 23, 2021.