St. Augustine School Receives $1.5 Million Grant from #StartSmall 

St. Augustine High School in New Orleans has received a $1.5 million gift through Jack Dorsey’s #StartSmall initiative. 

Dorsey is the co-founder and CEO of Twitter and Square. His gift marks the largest one-time donation ever made to the school and is a part of a series of initiatives and programs geared toward building transformative academic experiences for students. 

“We cannot overstate the power and reach of this transformational and game-changing gift from Mr. Jack Dorsey and #StartSmall,” said St. Augustine High School President and CEO, Dr. Kenneth St. Charles. “This gift allows our school and students to continue to have a tremendous impact not only on our local and regional communities but on our entire nation. We are honored that Jack Dorsey, an international leader, chose to invest in St. Augustine High School. His support reaffirms the impact that our school has had in the past, and the unlimited potential we will continue to have not only in the African American community but in society at large. Future generations will benefit from this inspiring gift as St. Augustine works to prepare young men in ways that provide bold, transformative educational experiences grounded in our Catholic traditions.” 

#StartSmall is Dorsey’s philanthropic initiative to fund global COVID-19 relief, girls’ health and education, and efforts towards Universal Basic Income. Dorsey transferred $1 billion, representing 28 percent of his wealth, to #StartSmall in 2020.

At St. Augustine, the $1.5 million gift will Help fund new academic programs and several capital improvement initiatives. Upgrades to classrooms, science labs, and other critical facilities will provide innovative technological advancements that will transform the curriculum, preparing students to meet the challenges of today’s world.

“Upon entering the halls of St. Augustine High School, I was immediately inspired by the confidence, ambition and passion exhibited by each of the young men. I knew then, that the opportunity to support these students and future students was much larger than a classroom visit, said TJ Adeshola, head of sports partnerships at Twitter. “While I routinely find myself in awe of Jack, the #StartSmall team and the work they do, I’m especially proud to see St. Augustine and my good friend Aulston Taylor, Chief Development Officer at the school, benefit from this wonderful, generous gift.”

In addition to transforming the academic offerings, the school will also dedicate a portion of the funding to assist families who recently experienced financial difficulties resulting from the recent pandemic, officials at the school said.

City Celebrates Completion of McCue Playground Clubhouse

Mayor LaToya Cantrell and other officials recently celebrated the opening of the $546,000 McCue Playground clubhouse in the St. Roch neighborhood. The playground has new concessions, restrooms and other amenities.

“We are continuing our commitment to rebuilding our infrastructure, both across NORD facilities and throughout District D,” said Mayor Cantrell.

The new 1,000 square-foot building features a storage facility, concessions/food prep/food-warming area, refrigerator and ice maker, an office, and Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant restrooms.

“Prior to 2005, McCue was a passive park, providing only green space, and play structures for recreation. Immediately after Katrina the park was converted into a FEMA trailer site used to house returning residents. After FEMA restored it, we began offering sports programs for the youth in the community,” said NORD CEO Larry Barabino, Jr. “Today’s ribbon cutting is a testimony to our city’s resiliency and commitment to improving community, recreation, and the future – our young people.”

Currently, McCue registers 200 youth and teens across four athletic programs that include football, basketball, baseball and track & field.

Upcoming District D projects include the Desire/Florida Community Center, a $6.5 million that is expected to break ground in Fall 2020 and a planned project to bring $500,000 in improvement to Perry Roehm Park Improvements. Work there is also expected to start in Fall 2020.

Delgado and Cox Communications Announce Second Annual Small Business Growth Academy

Delgado Community College and Cox Communications have partnered to provide business development training to their diverse suppliers located in the Greater New Orleans and Greater Atlanta areas via Delgado’s distance learning platform.

 This is the second year Cox Communications is funding the eight-week program, called the Small Business Growth Academy, and Delgado’s second year offering online business education through its Workforce Development division.

 Due to COVID-19, the 2nd Annual Small Business Growth Academy will be delivered completely online.

 Enrollment is limited to 30 participants, and the deadline to enroll is Thursday, July 16, 2020. The online program starts on Saturday, July 18, 2020.

 Non-suppliers of Cox who are certified minority-owned businesses may apply, but current suppliers of the company have preference for enrollment. Participants who complete the program will earn continuing education units.

Program participants will learn core skills related to business management and sustainability topics including accounting, organizational performance and project management. Participants will also receive guidance on developing growth strategies specific to their businesses. Delgado faculty will lead program modules.

To learn more about the program and enroll, go to, or contact Khalid Gross, Delgado Community College Workforce Development, 504-671-5563,

City Begins $1.5 Million in Repairs and Renovations at Multiple NOFD Stations

The city of New Orleans recently began its $1.5 million New Orleans Fire Department Multi-Station Project Phase 1, which will repair and renovate 10 fire stations across New Orleans.

“We are excited to be able to roll up our sleeves and put those FEMA dollars to use to renovate fire stations in every City Council district,” said Mayor LaToya Cantrell. “It’s a reminder that we are continuing to rebuild from 2005. We are committed to repairing our aging infrastructure even in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, and are working to provide our first responders the quality facilities they deserve to ensure the safety of our residents,” said Mayor Cantrell.

The project includes Hurricane Katrina damage and code upgrade renovations and repairs at NOFD Fire Stations 4, 6, 14, 12, 38, 27, 18, 8, 21, and 24. 

“We appreciate Mayor Cantrell for supporting our fire fighters as she does all of our first responders in their work to protect our residents. In order to respond, we need quality facilities, and I know our team appreciates being able to do their work in a clean, safe workplace,” said Tim McConnell, Superintendent, New Orleans Fire Department.

The $1.5 million project was funded by a combination of bonds and FEMA money.

“We are excited to play our role in providing quality facilities for our first-responders,” said Vincent Smith, Director, Capital Projects Administration.

Under the Cantrell Administration, the City’s to-date investment in public safety projects totals $173 million.

Completed Public Safety Projects include: Criminal Court Interior Renovations (two new court rooms) — $12 million; Orleans Parish Prison (3rd Floor) Docks Renovation — $5.6 million; Juvenile Justice Intervention Center 28-Bed Addition — $17.4 million; NOFD Engine 36 — $8.6 million; NOPD 2nd District Police Station — $8.3 million

“Moving projects from planning to design and into construction is no easy feat,” said Ramsey Green, Deputy CAO for Infrastructure. “It’s important to once again acknowledge our residents for voting in favor of the $500 million in municipal bonds last November so that we can continue to make much-needed, citywide infrastructure improvements.” 

Dillard University to Launch Center for Racial Justice

Dillard University will launch its Center for Racial Justice (CRJ) in July 2020 in response to the mounting police brutality cases in the United States. As a historically Black university, Dillard is set to become the leading educational conduit between law enforcement, community leaders, and citizens in New Orleans and the nation. 

The mission of CRJ is to bring systemic change to the way policing is done in communities of color and to promote partnerships with law enforcement including police departments and sheriff’s offices, graduate, and professional schools.

Dr. Ashraf Esmail will serve as the inaugural director of the CRJ.

Kristen Clarke, president & executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, is a member of the CRJ advisory board.

“Communities are demanding policing reform and racial justice now,” Clarke said in a statement. “I am excited to be a part of this important work with Dillard University which can bring about systemic change in Louisiana and across the country.”

Other members of the advisory board will include current and former law enforcement officers, judges, and law enforcement and criminal justice experts.  

The CRJ will be a reservoir for lectures, research, advocacy training, civic engagement, and political participation. It will also brand Dillard University as the top choice for undergraduates seeking meaningful careers in or related to law enforcement and a place for expanded public interest discourse, workshops, and distinguished lectures.

CRJ’s goal is to change the way people of color and their communities are policed through education, community relationship building, civic engagement training, services, partnerships, and utilization of relevant resources.

The center will develop a 30-hour certificate program, offering courses such as: Policing in Society, Sociology of Black Americans, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, Social Welfare, Policy and Services and Leadership in Ethical Decision Making. 

There will also be a course focused on criminal justice and cultural diversity. This course will explore challenges in multicultural communities, changing law enforcement agencies, and the hiring practices of employing and retaining people with diverse backgrounds in law enforcement institutions.

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