Greater New Orleans group gives award to Ford Foundation _lowres

Photo provided by Greater New Orleans Foundation—Darren Walker

The Greater New Orleans Foundation has presented its 2015 Spark Plug Award to the Ford Foundation, in recognition of its investment in the region. The Ford Foundation has invested more than $47 million in 76 organizations serving the area since 1983.

Ford Foundation President Darren Walker accepted the award during the recent GNOF biennial meeting at the Carver Theatre in New Orleans.

“The Ford Foundation has been a huge supporter of the Greater New Orleans area and has sparked immeasurable change over the past 30 years,” said Albert Ruesga, president and CEO of the Greater New Orleans Foundation. “It is with our sincerest appreciation that the Greater New Orleans Foundation honors the Ford Foundation’s investments in our region with this year’s Spark Plug Award. On behalf of all those who have benefited from Ford’s generosity, we say thank you.”

For more than 25 years, the Ford Foundation and the Greater New Orleans Foundation have worked together on various initiatives to improve the quality of life in the region. The relationship began in 1989 when the Greater New Orleans Foundation was one of 10 community foundations selected to receive a challenge grant to expand its grantmaking.

In the 1990s, the two worked successfully to create an affordable housing program that became a national model. The relationship further developed following Hurricane Katrina with the Ford Foundation’s investment in the Unified New Orleans Plan, a stronger Central City, and additional support for affordable housing and economic opportunity for all.