The Young Hearts of Louisiana

By Scott Brazda, The Stuller Family Foundation



In the face of tragedy, there has also been pure, philanthropic magic.

On August 12, the deluge began here in south Louisiana, and during the days that followed, there have been numbers that simply want to make you cry: 40,000 homes damaged. 20,000 people rescued. 6.9 trillion (no typo) gallons of rainfall. 13 deaths. $40 million in damages (and counting). From Lafayette to Baton Rouge, lives have been uprooted, treasured memories lost, and faith shaken to its very core.

Our United Ways, the American Red Cross, and other organizations were quickly mobilized, and immediate aid was sent to many in need. My TV station, KATC, teamed with four United Way chapters for ‘The Spirit of Acadiana Flood Relief Telethon’ and raised nearly $150,000 in only three hours, all because of the generous spirit of wonderful people, many of whom had already seen their ‘pre-flooding’ lives derailed by the downturn in the oil industry. People have given and given and given again, with money, food, shelter, labor, connections, and prayers.

It’s like, you know you love your community and its people, but you never really appreciate it until you see their hearts in action. And the people of south Louisiana have huge, caring hearts.

What has dazzled me even more is the volunteerism being exhibited by our young people.

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Welcome to Junior Philanthropy

By Scott Brazda, The Stuller Family Foundation

“Over the next few weeks you’re going to feel like you’re in a philanthropy class, a theology class, a business class, a sociology class, heck… even a life skills class.” And so begins the first session for the Junior Philanthropy classes I’ve conducted in a number of schools in our little part of southwest Louisiana.

What’s the difference between charity and philanthropy? Why do people give? How do people give? How do people ask? What are the characteristics of a winning nonprofit organization? Can young people make a difference? And do you have to be a millionaire to be a philanthropist? Those are just some to topics sent toward the fertile minds of students between the ages of 12 and 18.

I was looking for a way to lay a foundation with our area’s young people—our future leaders, board members, staff, and volunteers. I was looking for a way to plant a seed of community, and to present them with…. possibilities.

I began with the low-hanging fruit—my high school alma mater. The school’s director of faith formation asked, “Can we fit your philanthropy lesson within our senior theology classes?” To which I answered, “Didn’t Jesus know a thing or two about ‘giving’?” And so off we went.

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Noticing Nonprofit Redundancy, Taking Action

By Andy Carroll, ASF 

Last month, I interviewed Nan Pugh of Pugh Family Foundation for ASF’s Leadership Initiative. She was amazing—smart, enthusiastic, committed, curious.

One of the themes Nan talked about was that foundations are leaders because they set agendas and set directions. An example she offered was that her foundation is concerned when they receive multiple proposals for the same work, or same kinds of work, from different organizations. For example, in one grant cycle the foundation received seven applications for financial literacy work in its rural community.

The week prior, Scott Brazda of The Stuller Family Foundation e-mailed me to ask about guidance for foundations that see redundancy among nonprofit work and wish to encourage certain grantees to merge or collaborate. I offered a little guidance and recommended Scott post to ASF’s Discussion List.

But Scott’s post—and an influx of great responses from fellow ASF members—came later. Back to Nan.

A few moments later in our interview, Nan mentioned a colleague named Scott Brazda as “a visionary.” She said Scott was concerned about redundancy in their community and was trying to figure out ways to address it. Nan said she wanted to think more about the issue of redundancy and work with Scott and others on it.

I then realized Nan and Scott are both in Louisiana, and it turns out they are good colleagues.

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