GNOF, Benson Foundation Announce Disaster Relief Fund

NEW ORLEANS – On June 12, the Greater New Orleans Foundation and the Gayle and Tom Benson Charitable Foundation announced the launch of the Gayle and Tom Benson Disaster Relief Fund at the Greater New Orleans Foundation.

The fund’s endowment earnings will be deployed to the region’s first-responding agencies in the aftermath of a disaster or in anticipation of its arrival.

“These first dollars hitting the ground are crucial to helping our region’s families when they are most vulnerable, and these grants will be announced each time the Greater New Orleans Foundation kicks off its fundraising efforts following a disaster, helping demonstrate to others what is possible,” said a GNOF spokesperson.

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“Everyone has a job in times of disaster—and ours is raising money and deploying it to the most effective nonprofits working on the frontlines to provide assistance to our neighbors,” said Andy Kopplin, GNOF president and CEO, in a statement. “Mrs. Benson has been the most generous supporter of our disaster response efforts beginning with the COVID-19 pandemic and Hurricane Ida, and by endowing the Gayle and Tom Benson Disaster Relief Fund at the Greater New Orleans Foundation, Mrs. Benson is ensuring that we will be able to provide residents with resources that can make it just a little easier to get back on their feet amid a disaster.”

GNOF said it has responded to every disaster since Hurricane Katrina, when it led the Unified Community Planning effort and raised $23 million for an affordable housing fund. It reported investments of roughly $10 million in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and $8 million after Hurricane Ida.

Since its inception, the Gayle and Tom Benson Charitable Foundation has pledged or donated over $4 million to GNOF.  

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“Our community has always shown incredible resilience in the face of adversity,” said Benson. “Through the establishment of this fund, we aim to ensure that the necessary resources are available to support our neighbors when they need it most. It is our hope that this fund will not only provide immediate relief but also inspire others to join us in creating a stronger, more prepared community.”

Gayle Benson owns the New Orleans Saints and New Orleans Pelicans. Her late husband Tom Benson, the teams’ former owner, died in 2018.

Donate to the Gayle and Tom Benson Disaster Relief Fund here. 

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