Building the capacity of the local affordable housing sector


Grantees most frequently used Community Revitalization Fund awards for capacity-building — or the various forms of support that expanded organizational expertise, staff, and/or operations. Capacity-building grants, in turn, often enabled organizations in New Orleans’ affordable housing sector to build more homes and serve more individuals.

[At the time of Katrina] Capacity on the ground was minimal… There wasn’t this sort of machine that could produce affordable housing.

– Carey Shea, Former Program Director for Community Revitalization, Greater New Orleans Foundation
(Currently: Executive Director, Home by Hand)

Housing Production

Though most grant awards did not directly fund construction costs, one of the primary goals of the fund – if not the most urgent – was to get as many New Orleanians as possible back into housing.

housing units directly
and indirectly funded


Single-family units:




Multi-family units:



Organizational Capacity-Building

Describing the value of philanthropy for disaster recovery, Carey Shea said that grant dollars are best used “for the things that you can’t get money for anywhere else.” For many of the Community Revitalization Fund grantees, those things included operating support, staff salaries, and other organizational needs related to capacity.

We knew that there was a tough road ahead and it was going to be really hard for a lot of these nonprofits to remain sustainable.

– Isabel Barrios, Program Officer, Greater New Orleans Foundation


of grantees say GNOF provided or connected them with technical expertise or
other organizational effectiveness tools


of grantees attended meetings that GNOF
held for CR Fund grantees at least once


of grantees report that GNOF connected
them to other partners

Everybody wants to give you money just for the project or direct hard costs, but not the people that you need to run the project and run the program.

– Nicole Barnes, Executive Director, Jericho Road

Infrastructural Capacity-Building

The Community Revitalization Fund helped strengthen the local affordable housing sector by providing support for grantees to:


The grant was everything. We [the New Orleans Vacant Properties Initiative] would never have been able to bring the expertise in… the City would never have even known their inventory.

– Nicole Heyman, former Executive Director of the New Orleans Vacant Property Initiative
(Currently: Vice-President and Director of Louisiana Initiatives, Center for Community Progress)

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