The Committee for a Better New Orleans is accepting nominations through July 25 for participants in the 52nd Bryan Bell Metropolitan Leadership Forum, to be held in September.

The mission of CBNO is to create equity and opportunity for all New Orleanians by developing community leaders, fostering civic engagement and advocating for open, effective and accountable government. The forum is a challenging program aimed at identifying emerging leaders from all sectors of the community.

Participants receive networking opportunities and expert information about key metropolitan issues to increase the effectiveness of their involvement in the New Orleans community. The number of participants is limited, and nomination forms are available at

Many who complete the forum go on to become prominent and active leaders. The class of 2016 will join more than 2,000 alumni, including Mayor Mitch Landrieu, U.S. Sen. David Vitter, state Sen. Karen Carter Peterson, City Councilman Jared Brossett and philanthropist Roger Ogden.

“I wouldn’t be as involved in the New Orleans community if it wasn’t for the leadership forum,” said past forum participant and CBNO board Co-chairwoman Nicole Dillard.

This year’s forum begins with a human relations session on Sept. 7. Additional session topics include housing, education, environment and coastal issues, public safety, economic and workforce development, regionalism and transportation, city management, health care and leadership. Sessions are followed by question-and-answer gatherings.

During a key feature of the forum, participants design their own community service projects focused on education or housing to experience the power of volunteerism.

Those who complete the forum are connected with organizations that match their interests, and two participants will be invited to serve on the CBNO board of directors.

Most of the $250 cost per participant will be underwritten, and sponsorships for the leadership forum are available. For information, visit or contact CBNO President Keith Twitchell at or (504) 267-4666.

Including pets in wills, trusts

If you have a beloved pet that will need a home if something happens to you, the Louisiana SPCA is hosting seminars about making such arrangements. The SPCA recommends including provisions for pets in a will or living trust, and it is offering two free seminars on the subject.

Carole Cukell Neff, a board-certified specialist in estate planning and estate administration, will meet with pet owners to discuss pet trusts and how to incorporate them into estate planning from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. June 28. Libations and hors d’oeuvres will be included

The next morning, from 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. June 29, Neff will meet with planning professionals to discuss charitable giving techniques and pet trusts. Coffee, juice and a light breakfast will be included.

To register for a seminar, visit The Louisiana SPCA is located at 1700 Mardi Gras Blvd. in Algiers. The phone number is (504) 368-5191.

Lynne Jensen writes about New Orleans community events and people. Contact her at