South Louisiana Giving Day to breathe life into local nonprofits

Posted at 5:37 AM, May 01, 2020

Many nonprofits have canceled fund raising events vital to their existence due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

So this year's South Louisiana Giving Day couldn't come at a better time.

For Lafayette Ballet Theatre, both Spring productions of Cinderella were canceled, leaving a hole bigger than $70,000 in their budget.

"At least 50 percent of our budget was spent and cannot be recovered. That's artists that have to be paid all the way through their rehearsal process. That's insurance, all the printing, all the things that we do. About 50 percent of our budget had been spent," says Artistic Director Shannon Heath.

Unfortunately, this is a story similar to several throughout the nation right now, and the arts community could take a hit.

"I know it will hit home when we possibly have to possibly pull back on some of our scholarship programs or our outreach programs. That's when it will hit us very hard," says Heath.

The funds raised by LBT are poured into exposing children to the arts, encouraging structure and discipline and enriching our culture by keeping dedicated performers local.

"This is our opportunity to employ local artists here in Acadiana. The economic stimulus of these ballets. You know we talked about how much we spend on each production, and all of that goes to Acadiana. It stimulates all of our programs, like our Night at the Ballet that brings in at least 200 children from all area shelters, it brings them to the ballet," Heath explains.

"When this is all over and we're released to go back into the community, we rely on those arts and music organizations to entertain us and our families," says Farrah Reyna with Community Foundation of Acadiana.

She said that while some nonprofits are at a standstill, many involved in South Louisiana Giving Day are on the front lines of the pandemic.

"They're providing free medical health care checkups as well as free mental health services like counseling. They're offering food to families who are hungry and kids who are no longer in school. Many of them have stepped up and are on the front line," says Reyna.

"We all choose hope. We all have chosen hope. And South Louisiana Giving Day is just an important tool to bring us to that hope," says Heath.

South Louisiana Giving Day makes it easy to pick the nonprofit that speaks most to you on this list. There are about 90 to choose from this year.

Donations can be made for as little as $10 and still be a big help. One hundred percent of the money goes right to that nonprofit.

Donations can also be scattered across several of the organizations on this year's list.

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