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GiveNOLA Day raises $7.2M for local non-profits battling pandemic

"We are there for those who have basically lost everything and would not be able to receive residential substance abuse treatment otherwise."

NEW ORLEANS —

More than 800 non-profit organizations in our area were counting on donations during GiveNOLA Day Tuesday, and the people of New Orleans delivered. 

The annual fundraising day brought in more than 68,000 individual donations for a total of nearly $7.2 million dollars that will go to 835 non-profits, according to Andy Kopplin, president and CEO of the Greater New Orleans Foundation.   

"I am so inspired and grateful to the people of our region for rising up," Kopplin said.

He said the GNO Foundation did not set a fundraising goal for their seventh annual GiveNOLA Day, knowing that people have been giving for the past two months during the pandemic. 

"What we know about the people of our region is that, when we're knocked down, when we see people in need, we give, and that's exactly what happened yesterday," he said. 

For many, the coronavirus has caused more people to need their services, but at the same time, their lifeline of funding has been hard hit. 

Here are two organizations trying to continue their missions during the pandemic: 

The dollars and cents raised by nonprofits can come down to lives. Let’s take Bridge House Grace House. It helps men and women with addiction illness to alcohol or drugs. 

"We are there for those who have basically lost everything and would not be able to receive residential substance abuse treatment otherwise," said Kevin Gardere, the Executive Director of Development for Bridge House Grace House.

Just like with local businesses, the coronavirus forced them to close their fundraising thrift stores in Orleans and Jefferson parishes, and their used car lot for eight weeks. They are back open now, but critical funds are down 20 percent. Treatment was down too. 

"We usually treat 700 individuals that walk through our doors. This year it’s probably going to be 600. I mean it could be as low as 500," he said. 

After any crisis like Hurricane Katrina, the need for treatment to get people healthy is expected to be overwhelming. But there is a silver lining at the thrift stores if you want to shop. 

"A lot of people did some spring cleaning while they were quarantining and staying at home. People are coming to shop but they’re also filling up the truck almost by the day," said Gardere about the increased donations of clothes and household items. 

Over at another nonprofit, donations to the New Orleans American Heart Association are also down significantly. They have been touching lives too by using virtual training on life-saving ventilators and CPR. The group donated $2.5 million to research on antiviral medications and the link between COVID-19 and heart or cardiovascular disease.  They are also delivering boxes of fresh Louisiana produce to those at risk of COVID-19. 

"The people that are most at risk, we don’t want going out to the grocery stores. A healthy diet is important all the time but I think when you’ve got this huge virus that is threatening the lives of our people, it’s even more important to have a healthy diet," said Brittany Gay, the Executive Director of The Greater New Orleans American Heart Association. 

Those are just two of the many non-profits filling critical needs in the community. 

 Bridge House Grace House is accepting clients and the thrift stores are back open. The New Orleans American Heart Association has a virtual fundraising ball Saturday night, June 6. To find more info about nonprofits you can give to, click here

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