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Making a difference

It’s easy fall in love with New Orleans, and want to give back. Whether your passion is the environment, youth, individuals with special needs, or a specific health or community challenge, there are opportunities for you to give back.

Volunteering and community service are at the heart of South Louisiana. In fact, it would be a challenge to find a company that is not supportive of at least one community organization or cause. You can always find corporate teams participating in races and cook-offs, local restaurants and bars serving up their signature dishes at charity events on weekends, and companies sending volunteers for school and home improvement projects.

In New Orleans, if you want to make a difference, we’ve got a volunteer opportunity for you.

Rankings & Facts

Young Professional Organizations

Leadership and service opportunities for young professionals

Greater New Orleans has a wide variety of opportunities for young professionals to make a difference and enhance their leadership opportunities.

Young Leadership Council started more than 25 years ago when a small group of young New Orleanians wanted to help tackle the challenges facing the city. Today, volunteers plan the annual Wednesdays at the Square series and are leading the effort to make Mardi Gras greener with their Mardi Gras Recycling Initiative.

Emerging Philanthropists of New Orleans is committed to educating and inspiring the next generation of philanthropists by pooling resources to make impact grants.

Programs like New Orleans Regional Leadership Institute, Leadership Jefferson, and Leadership St. Bernard combine leadership development and civic education to promote collaboration and ingenuity to create a greater future for our community.

Fundraising Events & Galas

Party with a purpose

You can feel good about that night-out or afternoon spent fest-ing when it’s for a good cause. In fact, some of the best events in the region raise major funds for community organizations.

The annual Hogs for the Cause brings together passionate teams who compete for best dishes and funds raised to support the fight against pediatric brain cancer. The event raises more than $1M each year, and has made projects like the Hogs House at Children’s Hospital, where families with children receiving treatment can stay.

Audubon Zoo’s Zoo-To-Do, the Aquarium’s Scales & Ales, NOMA’s Odyssey Ball, and Friends of City Park’s Lark in the Park are traditions that can’t be missed. Team Gleason’s Gleason Gras, Bal Masqué by the Link Stryjewski Foundation, and the Emeril Lagasse Foundation’s Bourbon, Boudin & Beer bring star-power together for great causes.

To be sure, it’s easy to find a few events each year that support the causes you believe in, like Grow Dat’s Hootenany, Bridge House/Grace House’ Mr. Legs, and UNCF’s Mayor’s Masked Ball.

Creating a Better New Orleans

Roll up your sleeves and make an impact

Working hand-in-hand with fellow community members, the opportunities to serve the community are many. You can get your hands dirty with planting projects and gardening at NOLA Tree Project, Edible Schoolyard, or New Orleans City Park.  If you’re interested in helping the community go-green, check out Green Light New Orleans or LifeCity.

Volunteer opportunities to help protect and restore the Louisiana coast are critical to the future of the state, and to the future of the country as New Orleans serves as a major trade and energy hub. Restore the Mississippi River Delta offers a nice overview of coastal volunteer opportunities.

And, in the eternal words of Whitney Houston, “children are our future.” Getting involved at a school or youth program is sure to make you feel connected to the New Orleans region and make a difference. There are many ways to volunteer and serve area youth, like becoming a mentor with Son of a Saint or Youth Empowerment Project, volunteering at a neighborhood school through Communities in Schools Gulf South, or with STEM NOLA.