The Louisiana Press Foundation was founded in 2005 in the wake of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita to provide disaster relief to Louisiana newspapers and to fund educational programs for Louisiana newspapers.

The Foundation is now taking steps to keep up with the changing needs of the Louisiana newspapers that it serves. The Foundation board authorized the polling (see the results here)of LPA members to best determine their needs and the areas they felt the Foundation could best serve them. The Foundation will always be there to assist with disaster relief, but there will also be an expansion of Foundation assistance going forward.

Based on survey response, the Foundation board is exploring the idea of Technology and Transformation assistance grants to help newspapers keep up with the changing technological issues they face including upgrading their technology and training for newspaper staff in order to identify technology needs and to get the most out of that technology. Funding could also be used to hire someone to travel the state and help newspapers with IT issues. The possibility of getting donated computers from technology companies like HP and Dell are being explored.

LPA Executive Director Jerry Raehal said, “Newspapers are spending so much time just getting their papers out that they could really benefit from this sort of assistance.”

The Foundation is also looking at the possibility of creating “The Next Generation Fund” to create scholarships, internships, and grants for high school students to encourage the next generation of journalists.

“Since the start of 2021, the Louisiana Press Foundation Board has been working hard to restart the Foundation that will benefit the member newspapers in the years to come,” Foundation President Garland Forman said. “As we come to a close this year, the Foundation is looking to start providing grants in several areas including technology and transformation along with possible training, civic education, disaster relief funds, and first amendment championship funds.

“To achieve our goals, we are searching for funding which could include legacy giving, donation platforms and other areas. We have some funds but not nearly enough to make the Foundation sustainable for years to come.”

The board meets quarterly to discuss funding and other ideas. If you know someone or a company that is willing to donate funds to benefit journalism please call Jerry Raehal at LPA and give him your ideas or suggestions.