NEW ORLEANS — Today, The NOLA Coalition, a broad group of over 180 nonprofits, civic organizations, and businesses, announced a two-part, concurrent strategy to address crime and quality of life in New Orleans. The action plan has two simultaneous tracks: Community Support for NOPD and Investment in Youth Support Services, the latter of which includes a pledge of $15 million to enhance programs in the city. Next steps for each of these priorities will commence immediately, with an open invitation for additional members to join or contribute to the initiative on www.NOLAcoalition.info.
“As New Orleanians united, anything is possible,” said NAACP New Orleans President Ronald Coleman. “We showed after Katrina what we can do if we come together for our city, and we can do it again today.”
“The NOLA Coalition is composed of organizations from across New Orleans, many of whom have never worked together before,” said Michael Hecht, President & CEO of Greater New Orleans, Inc. “We stand united today, however, by a love for our children, a love for our city, and a commitment to solutions that create prosperity for all.”
The first of the two concurrent tracks is Community Support for NOPD, and is focused on near-term actions to reduce violence, based on research and best-practices. These tactics include:
- NOPD Recruitment & Retention – Improve recruiting outcomes via clear objectives, increased funding and improved processes
- NOPD Pay & Benefits – Implement pay raises and benefits to help recruit and retain NOPD
- Technology – Facing prolonged manpower shortages, use appropriate technology as a force multiplier
- Accountability for the Entire Criminal Justice System – Approach criminal justice as a system that must work together
- Gang Activity and Violent Crime – Continue to invest in VCAT (Violent Crime Abatement Team) and similar special-purpose teams, and prioritize gang activity and concentrated violence
- Resources – Rethink resource strategies to adjust for lower NOPD numbers; implement “civilianization” where possible
- Community & Social Support – Increase the availability and impact of social and counseling programs
Monitoring, assessment and accountability for these strategies will be supported by public reports every 60 days, and public-facing dashboards that report on performance of the criminal justice system. More information for each of these strategies can be found at NOLAcolaition.info.
“As a concerned resident regarding the crisis our city is facing regarding crime, I am hopeful the resources that will become available through this Coalition will have a lasting positive effect that will touch many lives,” said Dawn Hebert, Chair of East New Orleans Neighborhood Advisory Commission. “A change is imperative at this time to help remove the fear our residents have in living their normal lives and return New Orleans to the city we all love.”
“New Orleanians should not, and we cannot, allow crime to shape the future of our beloved city,” said Melanie Talia, CEO of the New Orleans Police and Justice Foundation. “Instead, it is we who must rise to the challenge to shape the next chapter in the future of the city we call home. Crime is not a problem without a solution.”
The second area of focus of the coalition is business, philanthropic, and other investment in proven community youth support service organizations, to help them grow their impact and drive generational change. The Coalition has committed to $15M ($5M per year over three years) from the private and philanthropic sectors for youth support services in New Orleans. Over $500,000 has already been secured and/or deployed for the first year.
“It is incumbent upon all of us to ask ourselves, ‘What can we do?’ to make our community better,” said Hon. Calvin Johnson (Ret.), Board Member of Youth Empowerment Project. “And, that is exactly what you see here today. Individuals who are all leaders in their own right, from across our city, coming together, and doing what they can – individually and collectively – to make our city stronger and safer. This is all of our city, and these are all of our children. We must do this, as we have done so many times before. We must put any differences aside, and come together. This is what we must do.”
“I am delighted with today’s announcement of a significant and sustained business and philanthropic investment in proven community-based youth service organizations across our city,” said Melissa Sawyer, Co-Founder & CEO, Youth Empowerment Project. “YEP envisions a community where all young people have access to the opportunities, skills, resources, and relationships they need to actualize their potential. The NOLA Coalition’s commitment to supporting and scaling effective non-profit organizations brings us closer to achieving this vision and ensuring that all young people in New Orleans have access to the supports they need to improve their lives and the lives of others.”
Funding for this initiative will come from new private sector sources, including business, philanthropy and individuals (local and national). These contributions will be in support of the priorities of New Orleans’ Youth Master Plan (YMP), a comprehensive roadmap for creating and sustaining a positive, youth-development-focused, results-oriented New Orleans that works for all of our young people.
Contributions will be managed by United Way of Southeast Louisiana and awarded through a competitive RFP process. Eligible grantees will be community-based nonprofits with a track-record of success in providing effective youth services. Results will be reported annually and publicly by UWSELA, New Orleans Children & Youth Planning Board, and YMP partners against defined metrics of the YMP and its leadership, which includes the Mayor’s Office of Youth and Families and the New Orleans Youth Alliance.
More information on the $15M investment in youth services can be found at NOLAcoalition.info.
“Our young people are in crisis. They are hurting after enduring many traumatic events over the course of their lives,” said Dr. Takeisha Davis, United Way of Southeast Louisiana Board of Trustees Chair. “If we truly believe they are our future, we must invest in theirs. They deserve it. United Way of Southeast Louisiana and our partners stand ready to do all we can to build brighter, more equitable futures for our young people and our entire community for generations to come. Join us.”
The mission of The NOLA Coalition is to harness the collective resources of the group to create a safer and more prosperous New Orleans for all residents. The coalition supports near-term actions to reduce violence, paired with social services to drive generational change. Its members stand ready to invest – their time, their people, their expertise, and their money – to help make a difference for New Orleans.
The nonprofit, civic, and business community has an acute interest in helping to address crime and quality of life, for reasons of both life and livelihood. The organizations in The NOLA Colaition are small and large, with diverse membership, from across the city and region