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BRAF gives $1.6 million in flood relief, more than a third to help education

The Baton Rouge Area Foundation has distributed more than $1.6 million so far to local nonprofits helping people affected by the floods, including more $600,000 to schools and groups focused on education.

The grants are the first round of giving coming from the Louisiana Flood Relief Fund, which the prominent foundation established with $100,000 of its own money. BRAF reports that more than $2.5 million from more than 14,000 individual donations have flowed into the relief fund so far, plus additional corporate giving.

Five Baton Rouge-area public school districts have each received $50,000 checks from the fund, either directly or through affiliated charitable foundations: Ascension, East Baton Rouge and Livingston parishes, as well as the Baker and Central school districts. Also, St. Helena public schools have received $25,000 so far from a $100,000 BRAF grant to the Northshore Community Foundation, which covers four Northshore parishes, including St. Helena.

Cristo Rey Baton Rouge Franciscan High School has received $100,000 from BRAF’s fund as well as space that BRAF controls at Bon Carre technology center; Cristo Rey’s north Baton Rouge campus flooded in the first week the new Catholic high school was open.

BRAF has also given money to local educational groups it has supported in the past: New Schools for Baton Rouge, $50,000; MetroMorphosis, $50,000; and the Baton Rouge Youth Coalition, $5,000.

Another $75,000 was split among three groups that specialize in after-school programs: Big Buddy, Boys and Girls Club of Greater Baton Rouge, and Young Leaders Academy.

The YWCA of Greater Baton Rouge received $50,000 to restart Early Head Start in the badly affected Glen Oaks area and another $40,000 is headed to Baton Rouge Community College Foundation.

The single largest BRAF gift, totaling $250,000, did not go to an education-focused group. Rather, it went to another large foundation that helps many organizations, Community Foundation of Acadiana. That foundation primarily serves eight parishes in south-central Louisiana that have all have been declared federal disaster areas.