$500,000 awarded to New Orleans summer youth programs via United Way, BCM

June 2, 2022

$500,000 awarded to New Orleans summer youth programs via United Way, BCM
Summer Impact Grants aim to improve outcomes for city’s young people

NEW ORLEANS – United Way of Southeast Louisiana (UWSELA), Baptist Community Ministries (BCM) and New Orleans youth advocates gathered Thursday to announce the recipients of the inaugural Summer Impact Grants, awarded to youth-serving organizations to increase education, health and workforce supports in the coming months.

UWSELA and BCM granted $500,000 in funds to 37 Orleans Parish summer program providers, focused on serving young people of color, ages 11 to 24, living below the ALICE Threshold, which represents the minimum income level necessary for survival.

“There are many challenges facing our city right now – poverty, inflation, crime – and our ability to educate and engage our young people ranks near the top. Still, we continue to try to find solutions for them that don’t involve them,” said Michael Williamson, UWSELA President and CEO. “United Way is proud to stand alongside BCM in this endeavor to embrace youth voices and align resources to expand youth programming while shifting the false narrative around our young people: They are not the problem. They are the solution.”

During Thursday’s public announcement at Grow Dat Youth Farm, Alyssa Poche, an Assistant Crew Leader on the farm, shared her experience as a summer program participant and her hopes for the future. “Something I wish more adults knew about being a young person in today’s world is that just because we are younger, it does not mean that our needs and wants for the world are any smaller than theirs. My hope for the future of young people in New Orleans is to live the best we possibly can, of course, and to realize that learning about our differences can help us coexist in the world.”

Seventy-three programs requested over $1.18 million in grant funds, which was ultimately culled down to 37 eligible providers by volunteer readers, including four young people from the New Orleans Youth Alliance (NOYA) and New Orleans Children and Youth Planning Board (CYPB). The funded programs feature an array of focus areas – including arts, advocacy, dance, leadership, literacy, soft skills and workforce development – which will help close the achievement gap, improve health outcomes, reduce crime and foster financial stability.

“We need to talk with our city’s youth, listen to them and learn what they need from their perspective. We need to invest in them and create effective change to break the generational cycle of trauma that New Orleans children have faced,” said Slade Simons, BCM Board Chair. “This is an urgent issue. By creating the Summer Impact Grants, we are moving the needle forward to support New Orleans’ most vulnerable children, helping them to reach their full potential.”

United for ALICE research reports that of the more than 88,000 young people (5-24) living in Orleans Parish, 62% of children (5-17) and 83% of young adults (18-24) live below the ALICE Threshold, percentages that grow disproportionately higher for people of color. Further troubling, New Orleans youth are showing symptoms of PTSD at rates nearly four and half times higher than the national average, according to the Institute of Women and Ethnic Studies

“The majority of young people in this city are getting it right every day, even when they have to face all these challenges,” said Karen Evans, CYPB Executive Director. “The Summer Impact Grants are helping those to continue to go forward, and to go forward in strength.”

The Summer Impact Grants require programs to focus on one of six priority areas from the Youth Master Plan, a comprehensive roadmap for creating and sustaining a positive, youth-development focused, results-oriented New Orleans that works for all young people.

“The Youth Master Plan emphasizes the importance of collaboration and coordination across many systems to holistically address the well-being of young people, and thanks to the partnership between UWSELA and BCM, recipients of the Summer Impact Grant will be able to expand their programs and reach more youth and families,” said Dominique Butler, NOYA Director of Communications. “This grant opportunity demonstrates that local funders are listening and responding to the needs of our community, and this summer, the New Orleans Youth Alliance looks forward to providing professional development for the recipients of this grant.”

Many of the funded programs are underway or will begin in the coming weeks. Please click here to view contact information or visit VIALINK.org/Youth-NOLA to access a comprehensive database of resources and opportunities for children, youth and families. 

2022 Summer Impact Grant Recipients:

Organization Program
About FACE (About Family and Community Engagement) Summer Social Set 22
ARISE Schools- Mildred Osborne/ARISE Academy ARISE Schools Summer Program
Arts Council of New Orleans Young Artist Movement (YAM)
Bard Early College Bard Early College New Orleans
College Track Summer College Access Programming for New Orleans Scholars
Covenant House New Orleans Youth Advocacy Group
Dancing Grounds Freedom School and Summer Dance Intensive
Dinerral Shavers Educational Fund GIRLS NOLA Initiative
Directed Initiatives for Youth Inc., Dba Excite All Stars Excite All Stars Summer Camp
Educators for Quality Alternatives The NET Charter High School Summer Internship Program
Efforts of Grace, Inc. Kuumba Academy Summer Program
Free Alas Aspire
Friends of Lafitte Greenway Lafitte Greenway BELite Youth Mural Arts Project: Basketball Court Revival
Friends of the New Orleans Public Library/New Orleans Public Library (COLLAB) New Orleans Public Library Summer Fun 2022
Generation Success Summer EXCEL Challenge
Grow Dat Youth Farm Summer Leadership Programs
Jesus Project Ministries Junior Student Training and Enrichment Program (JSTEP)
Kedila Family Learning Center Summer @ Kedila
Living School, INC Learn By Doing: A Living School Summer Experience
Make Music NOLA Make Music NOLA Summer Workshop Series
Milne Inspiration Center (MIC-AMPED) Summer Leadership Experience
New Orleans Technical Education Provider Summer Success Program
Operation Spark High School to High Wage Summer Coding Camp
Reconcile New Orleans, Inc. Workforce Development Summer Success Program
Ride New Orleans Youth Transit Leadership Cohort (YTLC)
Silence Is Violence Summer Peace Clinics
Son of a Saint Summer Programming
The 18th Ward Summer Coaches in Training
The Beautiful Foundation Camp Beautiful
The Cosmetology Institute, LLC The Beauty Bootcamp
The Level Up Campaign Save Our Youth Nola Project
Thrive New Orleans Youth Summer Camp
Trinity Christian Community DBA Trinity Community Center Summer Leadership Development
unCommon Construction Summer 2022 Apprenticeships
Upturn Arts Summer Camp 2022
Young Aspirations Young Artists Inc. Teen Guild
YouthForce NOLA YouthForce Internships


Learn more about the Summer Impact Grants online at UnitedWaySELA.org/SummerGrants.  


About United Way of Southeast Louisiana
For nearly 100 years, United Way of Southeast Louisiana (UWSELA) has been a leader and trusted partner in improving lives and making a lasting difference. We fight to eradicate poverty by preparing people for quality jobs, growing incomes, and affording better health and education opportunities throughout Jefferson, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, and Washington parishes. We have a bold vision of equitable communities where all individuals are healthy, educated, and financially stable – and we have a plan. United Way of Southeast Louisiana’s Blueprint for Prosperity guides all strategic investments in programs, initiatives, collaborations, volunteerism, and advocacy aimed at tackling poverty. For more information, please visit UnitedWaySELA.org. Find us on social: @UnitedWaySELA. 

About Baptist Community Ministries (BCM)
Baptist Community Ministries (BCM) is a 26-year-old private foundation providing philanthropic services and promoting the health and well-being of our community members in the Greater New Orleans area. BCM partners with local nonprofits and other organizations in an effort to build a healthier community and has awarded over $220 million in grants since inception. In addition, BCM provides direct services through two operating divisions – Chaplaincy Services and Congregational Wellness. By doing so, BCM is able to extend its reach deeper into the community to help those in need. Learn more at www.bcm.org. Find us on social: @bcmnola.