With our mission of improving the health status of Central Louisiana, the Rapides Foundation funds projects intended to improve the health of Central Louisiana’s residents. We continually evaluate these projects to ensure that we are making a difference and that this work is lasting, and we have made adjustments as they have been needed.
As stewards of these funds, it is rewarding to hear our partners report to us that they are indeed making a difference in the communities in which they work, live and play. Some of our partners are sharing their stories in this Annual Report.
Our Healthcare Access projects are making a difference by increasing cancer screenings and providing life-saving medications for Cenla residents. Our Healthy Behaviors initiatives are making a difference throughout the region. Residents are using Foundation funded walking trails, visiting farmers markets, growing community gardens and participating in tobacco-free events, to name just a few examples. Young people and adults are learning the importance of making healthy lifestyle choices.
Local educators are seeing more student engagement in the classroom, which in turn means higher academic achievement and improved test scores in public schools. Students are preparing for their futures by earning career-ready certificates that can help them get employment after high school, while others are receiving coaching to guide them through the college admissions process.
The Foundation’s economic development efforts are making a difference as well. We saw an increase in economic development investments in our area among some of our major employers, while local entrepreneurs continued to expand and thrive in Cenla. Local nonprofit organizations were able to make differences in their communities by utilizing the various projects offered by our Community Development Works program.
These projects and initiatives were the result of a five-year strategic plan created by the Foundation’s board and implemented in 2008. The work continues even beyond the five-year mark. Our board of trustees gathered for a retreat in 2013 to determine how to reshape these strategic plans so our partners can continue making a difference. We will be announcing and implementing these renewed strategies in 2014.