A Conversation with The Rapides Foundation about Louisiana Grantmaking

As we’ve been expanding our coverage of the American Southeast, we’ve been touching base with local funders to assess where the greatest needs are and what funders care most about in this region.

The Rapides Foundation is a locally focused funder that aims to improve the health of people in Central Louisiana by developing initiatives and strategies to impact local communities for decades to come. The foundation was kind enough to provide Inside Philanthropy with some insights about its approach to grantmaking in Louisiana.

I recently connected with Joe Rosier, the Rapides Foundation’s CEO and president, to ask a few questions about the foundation's operations and how it works with the local nonprofit community. Here’s the inside scoop about their funding approach.

What is the theory of change behind your grantmaking?

Over its history, The Rapides Foundation has held true its mission of improving the health status of Central Louisiana by deploying resources to improve key factors of health status. The Rapides Foundation focuses its work in three strategic areas: Healthy People, to improve access to healthcare and promote healthy behaviors; Education, to increase the level of educational attainment and achievement as the primary path to improved economic, social and health status; and Healthy Communities, to improve economic opportunity and family income, and enhance civic and community opportunities for more effective leaders and organizations. More detailed information about the Foundation’s work can be found on its website, www.rapidesfoundation.org, by clicking on the “Our Work” tab.

What characteristics do your grantees tend to share?

Generally, eligible applicants must be classified as a Section 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization under Internal Revenue Code or a governmental entity; cannot be a private foundation under Section 509(a); and must be an organization within The Rapides Foundation Service Area or seeking funding support for projects restricted to use within the Foundation’s nine parishes (counties). Other eligibility criteria may apply for specific funding opportunities, which would be outlined in the grant’s Request for Proposals.

Are you looking for new grantees? If so, what are you looking for?

All of the work at The Rapides Foundation revolves around our mission to improve the health status of Central Louisiana. Available grant opportunities from The Rapides Foundation can be found on the Foundation’s website, www.rapidesfoundation.org, by clicking on the “Grants” tab. Projects must directly benefit residents or organizations within the nine-parish (county) Foundation service area of Allen, Avoyelles, Catahoula, Grant, LaSalle, Natchitoches, Rapides, Vernon or Winn parishes. Grant proposals are typically accepted by online application through a Request for Proposals process which aligns with our focus areas.

To read more about this funder, check out IP’s full profile, The Rapides Foundation: Southeast (Louisiana) Grants. The best way to stay up to date about this funder’s initiatives and funding opportunities is to regularly check out its grants page. You can also sign up to receive email alerts by clicking the “join our mailing list” button on the website.