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Broad Foundation and Broad Center Send Team to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to Help Families, Schools Rebuild After Flood

LOS ANGELES, Sept. 21, 2016—In response to the August flooding in Louisiana that claimed 13 lives, displaced thousands of families, destroyed more than 100,000 homes and forced the closure of 22 school districts, The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation is funding a volunteer trip for its staff and staff of its grantee, The Broad Center for the Management of School Systems, to join recovery efforts in the region, the foundation announced today.

A team of nine staff members will travel to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on Sept. 23 for a three-day volunteer service trip to partner with several organizations that are rebuilding homes and schools. The Broad team will work with Habitat for Humanity of Greater Baton Rouge and the East Baton Rouge School System.

“As longtime supporters of Louisiana public schools, we were heartbroken to learn about the flooding that has displaced so many families and students, and we wanted to do something to help,” said Gerun Riley, president of The Broad Foundation. “We appreciate Eli and Edye Broad’s generosity in giving us the opportunity to join the thousands of volunteers working to help Baton Rouge’s families and schools recover from this tragedy, and we hope other organizations will be inspired to lend their talents and resources to help in times of crisis.”

The Broad Foundation has invested more than $11.5 million in Louisiana public schools over the past decade, and The Broad Center has supported more than 30 leaders who have served public school systems across the state.

Elise Gilbert, associate director for recruitment and selection of The Broad Center’s Broad Residency in Urban Education, lived in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina and is leading the Broad team’s efforts.

“We may just help one or two or three people at a time, but I’ll never forget the one or two people who helped me 11 years ago when I had nothing,” Gilbert said. “I’m humbled to work for an organization that is willing to recognize the impact we can have by making a personal effort to help.”

When they arrive in Baton Rouge, the team will help Habitat for Humanity assess houses for flood damage and remove trash and debris. At the East Baton Rouge School System, which suffered an estimated $50 million in damage to schools, the team will help the district sort, package and prepare donations to deliver to teachers and families. Foundation and center team members not attending will participate by preparing relief packages of toiletries and clothing for families and books for classrooms.

“We have received over 1,000 applications for assistance and have teams of volunteers gutting homes every day,” said Lynn Clark, executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Greater Baton Rouge. “The overwhelming need right now makes the generosity of the employees of The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation and The Broad Center so important. We are so grateful to them, and other groups like them, who have traveled thousands of miles to help us recover. They are truly making a difference in our community.”

Historic levels of rainfall hit Louisiana on Aug. 12, causing an estimated $8.7 billion in damage, including hundreds of millions in damage to schools. More than a quarter of a million students were kept from school and an estimated 4,000 teachers and other staff were displaced from their homes.

Click to learn how to donate or volunteer help Louisiana’s families through Habitat for Humanity of Greater Baton Rouge. Click here to donate to schools and families through Stand for Children’s Amazon Wishlist.

Follow the Broad team’s experience in Baton Rouge on Twitter and Facebook.

Founded by entrepreneur Eli Broad and his wife Edythe, both graduates of Detroit Public Schools, The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation is a philanthropy that seeks to ensure that every student in an urban public school has the opportunity to succeed. Bringing together top education experts and practitioners, the foundation funds system-wide programs and policies that strengthen public schools by creating environments that allow good teachers to do great work and enable students of all backgrounds to learn and thrive. For more information, visit


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