First Marcia Kaplan Kantrow Award Winner Named

Friends and family of Marcia Kaplan Kantrow chose the leader of the Baton Rouge Area Foundation as the first winner of the Marcia Kaplan Kantrow Baton Rouge Visionary Award.

John G. Davies, Foundation CEO and president, accepted the award from the Kantrow family at the Foundation’s annual meeting of members Wednesday evening. Miriam Kantrow del Rio, Byron Kantrow and Josh Kantrow presented the award to Davies.

Marcia Kantrow was highly effective in her job, but she worked quietly and behind the scenes. However, that quiet demeanor always gave way to great passion and zeal when she talked about her city. She worked alongside Davies at the beginning of the most productive period for the Foundation.

After she died too soon, Marcia Kantrow’s family and friends honored her by opening an endowed fund at the Foundation in 1997. According to their wishes, the fund will support the Visionary Award. And in her spirit of caring for others more than herself, annual winners will receive $5,000 to grant to a nonprofit of their choice.

In presenting the award, Foundation Board Chair S. Dennis Blunt said that Davies rightly believes the way to better a community is through many people working together. But the community must have a leader, said Blunt, and Davies has been exceptional in that role. “There must be someone with the vision to begin the project. The passion to keep it going. And the tenacity to see it through to the end.”

The Foundation has collaborated on many projects in the last 15 years, including revival of downtown Baton Rouge, building the Water Campus on Nicholson Drive, and raising more than $45 million for relief after hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Less visible but as important, fund donors of the Foundation have granted more than $400 million to nonprofits since 1964, much of that money in the last decade alone.