Investing in New Orleans
October 10, 2011
In October, Calvert Foundation investors and their financial advisors toured New Orleans to see the transformative "social return" their investments have made.
At Café Reconcile, a job training program for young people between the ages of 16 and 22, they met program participant Terrell Weaver. Without the program, he says, "I could still be doing the same thing, going to jail, sitting behind bars, just wasting time. Here I'm doing something with myself. I'd rather this than that any day."
Executive Director Sister Mary Lou Specha says the 12-week program gives participants the opportunity to change their lives in a supportive environment. Weaver says the program has taught him how to do well in a work environment, "they get 110 percent on everything I do." The group also met Dwayne Brumfield, a Lafitte Public Housing resident who was displaced after Hurricane Katrina. Michelle Whetton, VP Gulf Coast, Enterprise Community Partners, said that she understands the attachment people like Dwayne have to the neighborhood. "We wanted to make sure anyone who wanted to would have the ability to come back."Even before Katrina, many of New Orleans' most vulnerable citizens were without. Particularly children of single parents. To address their needs, Calvert Foundation and HOPE Enterprise Corporation are providing funding for affordable daycare centers like the Angel Care Learning Center.Gary E. Williams, HOPE Community Credit Union, says that Angel Care Learning Center is a phenomenal daycare provider. Investors such as the Calvert Foundation, he says, enable them to help otherwise underserved families. "Calvert Foundation really enables us to do the kind of work that we do."