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Thursday, February 2, 2023

Meraux Foundation Provides Funding to Local Charities Serving Children and Domestic Violence Survivors

Contributed by The Meraux Foundation

The Meraux Foundation recently awarded grants to the Family Violence Program of St. Bernard and CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) to cover an unexpected loss of funding affecting both nonprofits. The contributions of $30,650 to CASA and $48,750 to the Family Violence Program will allow the charities to continue operating as usual through the next fiscal year, and they bring the Meraux Foundation’s financial support of these organizations to more than $163,000 and $346,000 to date, respectively.

“The Meraux Foundation’s mission is to improve the quality of life in St. Bernard Parish, and that includes special emphasis on the most vulnerable in our community,” said Rita Gue, the president of the Meraux Foundation. “We are proud to enable these two nonprofits to continue their work in our parish on behalf of those who have survived abuse. They fill an essential role in our community, and our Foundation is proud to help them serve the maximum number of people possible.”

Not long ago, children in the foster care system in St. Bernard Parish did not benefit from CASA volunteers appointed by judges to advocate for children’s best interests. The organization says this best-interest advocacy makes a life-changing difference for children and youth who have experienced abuse or neglect.

In 2016, the Meraux Foundation first provided funding to pilot a CASA program in two local courts. Upon its success, the family foundation committed additional support to help fund a permanent program.

“The Meraux Foundation was instrumental in establishing CASA in St. Bernard Parish and it continues to ensure that we can operate and serve children in need,” said Joy Bruce, Executive Director of CASA New Orleans. 

The Family Violence Program of St. Bernard, formerly known as the St. Bernard Battered Women’s Program, for over 35 years has provided families encountering domestic abuse a place to live happily in a safe environment, while preparing them for self-sufficiency. 

“The Meraux Foundation has been there for us throughout the years, and it continues to help ensure we’re able to serve families in St. Bernard,” said Gail Gowland, the executive director of the Family Violence Program.

The program, one of the largest in Louisiana, gives support to upwards of 600 survivors every year. She says they provide a safe place to stay, away from violent situations, as well as food and clothing. The location of the shelter, which the Meraux Foundation donated $100,000 to purchase, is confidential. Last year, the Meraux Foundation donated $50,000 toward operations and renovations at the Deano Center, an affordable event rental and charitable gaming venue that will generate additional revenue for the Program.

To learn more about volunteering with CASA in St. Bernard Parish, contact Raymond Sweet at rsweet@casaneworleans.org.

For support or to learn more about the Family Violence Program of St. Bernard, visit fvpsb.org or call 504-277-3177. 

The Arlene & Joseph Meraux Charitable Foundation is a family foundation on a continuous mission to improve the quality of life in St. Bernard Parish. Its roots spread throughout the community to grow the economy, nurture the arts, enrich educational opportunities, empower young people, protect and restore the environment, and build resiliency.

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