"CHANGING LOUISIANA" SEMINAR GIVES NEW ORLEANIANS TOOLS TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE -- 03/05/2007
Office of Lieutenant GovernorFOR IMEDIATE RELEASE
March 5, 2007
"CHANGING LOUISIANA" SEMINAR GIVES NEW ORLEANIANS TOOLS TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE
ESSENCE Magazine's Susan L. Taylor and Joi Gordon, CEO of Dress For Success Headline Today's Seminar
Social Entrepreneurism and Volunteerism Scheduled in Spring for Lake Charles and Shreveport, LA
New Orleans, LA - Across Louisiana, citizen activists have called for government reforms, neighborhood planning and an end to violent crime. More than 500,000 people have volunteered in the rebuilding effort along the Gulf Coast. To harness this desire to make our state a better place to live, Lt. Governor Mitch Landrieu's office will host a series of educational seminars across the state entitled, "Changing Louisiana: Through Volunteerism and Social Entrepreneurship." This seminar is part of a statewide initiative to promote service. More than 600 people have registered for today's seminar in New Orleans at the New Orleans Convention Center.
"With this initiative, we hope to act as facilitators - connecting citizens that want to make a difference in their communities with the tools they need," said Landrieu. "Today as we rebuild, we are shaping the future of Louisiana, and our cities are filled with pioneers who want to lead the way."
This first seminar features presentations from national experts, including Susan L. Taylor, Editorial Director of ESSENCE Magazine and Joi Gordon, President and CEO of Dress for Success, as well as Louisianans who have launched successful programs, including Craig Cuccia of Café Reconcile.
"Just as entrepreneurs change the face of business, social entrepreneurs act as the change agents for society, seizing opportunities others miss, inventing new approaches and creating sustainable solutions to change society for the better," said Susan Taylor of ESSENCE Magazine.
Joi Gordon, President and CEO of Dress for Success, started her organization by soliciting business suits for women who wanted to work, but didn't have the money to buy appropriate clothing. " Unlike business entrepreneurs who are motivated by profits, social entrepreneurs are motivated by the desire to improve life for the people around them," she said.
Landrieu said, "Café Reconcile serves great food for $8 a plate, but it also provides at-risk youth with an opportunity to get training for entry into the hospitality and restaurant industries. They took a dilapidated building in Central City, and turned it an anchor for the neighborhood. We'll hear from Craig on how he turned his desire to improve his community into action. Our goal is to make it possible for people to get involved by volunteering or turning their ideas into action."
The Lt. Governor created the Office of Social Entrepreneurship in the fall of 2006 to promote social entrepreneurship efforts in Louisiana. Judy Morse, Deputy Chief of Staff in the Lt. Governor's office, is Director of the new office. The primary goal of the office is to increase awareness and understanding of social entrepreneurship and to encourage Louisiana citizens to seek solutions to the important issues facing the state as it recovers from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita including education, housing, crime, race, poverty, economic disparity, health care, the environment and community development. Other goals of the office include serving as a resource and clearinghouse for information and funding; encouraging Louisiana non-profits to become more entrepreneurial in their programs and services; and promoting the inclusion of social entrepreneurship as coursework in high schools and colleges throughout Louisiana.
The Office of the Lieutenant Governor announced 2007 as the Year of Volunteerism and Social Entrepreneurship. The goal is to raise awareness among citizens of the multitude of volunteer opportunities that exist in Louisiana and to explore what social entrepreneurship is and what opportunities exist for citizens and organizations that have bold ideas that will bring about social change. Part of this effort is Changing Louisiana, a series of eight city-specific conferences beginning with a large kickoff event on March 5th in New Orleans, and culminating later this year with a wrap-up event in Baton Rouge. The next seminars are scheduled for Spring in Lake Charles and Shreveport, LA. The seminars are free and open to the public.
For more information on upcoming seminars, call (504) 568-3601 or log onto www.VolunteerLouisiana.gov and click on "Changing Louisiana Seminar." The Louisiana Serve Commission and the Lt. Governor's Office of Social Entrepreneurship are sponsoring this series of events.