A Way Out

More than 28 people have completed the Bridge Center for Hope program that moves low-level offenders with substance abuse or mental health challenges out of jail and into treatment. The Baton Rouge Area Foundation and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation provided initial funding for a pilot of the multi-agency program two years ago.

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Mukul Verma
A time to HEAL

HEAL’s mission is to eliminate the health disparities of children in poverty through a holistic model that operates in public schools and brings teachers, school administrators and school nurses together, with them ultimately running the program.

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Mukul Verma
Follow the trail

Thanks to the development of one presidential library, the obsession of a pair of billionaire grandsons of a legacy retailer and a collective will to fight for a community that supports more modes of transportation than the automobile, Little Rock and the regions of Northwest and Central Arkansas have quietly birthed a bike boom unlike anywhere else in the South.

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Mukul Verma
The Shape of Water

As part of its growing body of international applied research, The Water Institute of the Gulf is teaming with the Tulane University School of Architecture on a project intended to bring cohesion, equity and safety to a future Quilmes, Argentina waterfront plan.

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Mukul Verma
BR Bikeshare: Startup Guide

Bikeshare in Baton Rouge began as a project of the Baton Rouge Area Foundation and turned into a collaboration with public agencies and private companies. The service is going to launch in late June 2019 with a planned expansion in late 2020.

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Mukul Verma
Bluebonnet Swamp: A center for warbler research

GeoDad was more or less standard issue as Prothonotary Warblers go. Bright-eyed, blunt-tailed and just five inches long, the songbird with a yellow head and a plump body was a confirmed father by his second breeding season at BREC’s Bluebonnet Swamp Nature Center—all standard stuff for a species also called the Golden Swamp Warbler. But what happened in GeoDad’s second year wasn’t customary.

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Go North

Planned redevelopment of Plank Road in north Baton Rouge centers on a model of fast, comfortable and reliable bus transit with a record of sparking investment in blighted corridors of big U.S. cities.

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Sara Bongiorni
Meet Chris Csonka

The Foundation has hired a coordinator for a Safety and Justice Challenge project. Chris Csonka will collaborate with local justice officials to reduce the local jail population. The goal is to create an framework where justice system officials can partner to implement reforms across the system, such as measures to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of case processing. The Foundation won a $350,000 Safety + Justice Challenge grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation to work in this area.

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Something to prove

The stakes were always high for New Schools for Baton Rouge, which set out to give 12,000 students in the parish’s worst schools better options by recruiting top charter-school operators to Baton Rouge.

It has opened 15 schools in six years. Three years ago, its schools enrolled 1,000 children. Today, the number is 5,000 students in kindergarten through 10th grade, a figure that will swell to 10,000 when its existing schools are fully operational.

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Sara Bongiorni
Lanes of their own

The draft of a master plan for developing a parishwide network of bike and pedestrian paths recommends 140 miles of new bike lanes and other on-road features, including 50 miles of new bike lanes separated from car traffic by curbs or other physical barriers.

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Baton Rouge Area Foundation
Nonprofit: Line 4 Line

 Just under the buzz of barber shop owner O’Neil Curtis’ silver and black clippers comes the soft voice of a young student named Mason Wheeler. As the 37-year-old barber cuts his hair, Wheeler reads from a novelized version of Marvel’s The Black Panther. It’s an unusually warm evening in December, and today’s event marks the start of the fifth year of Line 4 Line. The nonprofit literacy and mentorship program provides children with a free haircut, a meal and a book if they read to their barber while they are sitting in his chair.

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Baton Rouge Area Foundation
Jamel Brinkley, Gaines Book Award winner

Jamel Brinkley won the 2018 Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence for his debut collection A Lucky Man. The Baton Rouge Area Foundation started and oversees the $10,000 book award, which this year is underwritten by the McMains Family. In its 12th year, the award recognizes the best work of fiction by an African-American writer. And it honors Louisiana native Ernest Gaines’ extraordinary contribution to the literary world.

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A Tale of Two Streets

Nicholson Drive and Plank Road do not intersect, but linking them is at the heart of a new project that could create a 10-mile corridor through the city’s urban core, supported by Bus Rapid Transit, a fast, efficient electric-powered express bus system, and a key component in transit-oriented developments across the country. Working on the project is the East Baton Rouge Redevelopment Authority, a creation of the Baton Rouge Area Foundation with parish leaders.

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Baton Rouge Area Foundation
Pennington Biomedical's Next Act

Few public health problems are as complex as obesity.

Forty percent of adults in the United States now struggle with the condition, the highest rate on record. Its causes are many, its cures little understood and its ripple effects undeniable. Obesity is the spark that ignites a litany of costly diseases, including diabetes, heart, kidney and liver disease and many forms of cancers.

It’s within this complex cycle of causes and effects that Pennington Biomedical Research Center’s newest executive director, John P. Kirwan, Ph.D., finds endless professional inspiration.

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Baton Rouge Area Foundation
The G-word

Gentrification’s meaning is increasingly relevant to Baton Rouge. In its Mid City neighborhood east of downtown, millions of dollars in private and public investment are changing the look of the Government Street commercial corridor. Until now investor interest has centered on Government Street itself. Now small-parcel projects are altering residential streets in a pocket of Mid City where there had not been a new house built in decades.

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Baton Rouge Area Foundation