As 2022 draws to a close, the NOLA Coalition is grateful for the unprecedented group of over 480 nonprofits, civic organizations, and businesses who have come together to work towards a safer and more prosperous New Orleans, for everyone. With the NOLA Coalition, the messengers are the message: the scope and diversity of the NOLA Coalition – racial, political, geographical, and organizational – makes it clear that all of New Orleans is standing together, united on this issue.
We are encouraged by our progress in just a few months, secured in partnership with the Administration, City Council, NOPD, and many business and civic organizations. On the NOLA Coalition’s first plank, “Community Support for NOPD,” advancements include millions dedicated to new pay, benefits, and equipment for NOPD, dozens of officers redeployed to patrol, a range of new accountability dashboards, and a commitment to a national search for the new NOPD chief. Overall, public safety is now receiving the daily discussion and focus it merits.
On our second plank, “Investment in Youth Services,” we are grateful that we have been able to raise $3.7M of our first-year $5M goal, and $5.3M towards our three-year, $15M goal. These funds, initiated by United Way of Southeast Louisiana and Baptist Community Ministries, and then generously provided by the corporate community, philanthropists, and individuals of Greater New Orleans, are supporting dozens of local organizations that are providing mentoring, training, and other services to drive positive long-term change.
At the same time, we are deeply saddened to reflect upon the 275 lives that have been lost in New Orleans this year. Each of these murders took a life, and further inflicted untold pain and hardship on families and our communities. The NOLA Coalition condemns this violence perpetrated on our fellow New Orleanians, as well as the fear that so many now feel while simply walking in their neighborhood, going to the store, or driving on the interstate.
For 2023, the NOLA Coalition reaffirms its commitment to work collaboratively to make the city safer for all residents. Priorities for 2023 include ensuring that a transparent superintendent search process, with community input, yields the best candidate; dramatically improving yield on NOPD recruitment; and, organizational and process improvements so that the criminal justice system works as a whole. We will also be building a new app for social services, “211 Express,” and continuing to raise funds and grant millions to youth service organizations.
The NOLA Coalition believes in our two-pronged approach – near-term actions to reduce violence, combined with investment in our youth to drive generational change – and will not rest until we have achieved a safer and more prosperous New Orleans for everyone.