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Monday, March 2, 2015

Connection to Cohab

YPI names Philanthropy of the Year

Each year, the Young Professional Initiative invites local nonprofits to apply for their Philanthropy of the Year program, and the group has selected Cohabitat (Cohab) Foundation as their 2015 recipient.

As a result, YPI and Cohab will work together closely throughout the year to further the goals of both organizations.

“YPI is dedicated to giving back to our community through the Philanthropy of the Year program. We believe that the missions of YPI and Cohab of entrepreneurship, creativity and business ethics cohesively align together and will be a strong partnership to enhance the economic growth of the Shreveport-Bossier City area,” YPI’s President of the Executive Committee Emerie Eck Gentry said. “Through this partnership, Cohab will be promoted at several YPI sponsored events throughout the year. Also, the Philanthropy of the Year would be the recipient of a $1,000 grant from funds raised during our annual 40 Under 40 Gala fundraiser.”

Cohab Executive Director John Grindley said he was excited for the foundation to be named as the recipient.

“Being named philanthropy of the year is a huge opportunity for Cohab because YPI serves a lot of the same people that Cohab serves, young professionals who are active in our community and really motivated to keep innovating Northwest Louisiana for the better,” Grindley said.

“The outreach and support YPI provides to their philanthropy of the year is hugely valuable to an organization like ours and will definitely be a driving force in making our newest program, Breaking Lean, a success for area startups.

“Cohab’s goal is to improve Shreveport- Bossier’s local economy, and thereby our community as a whole, by supporting local entrepreneurs who have the ideas and the drive to create new business, and grow that business to generate the jobs and revenue that our region needs to keep moving in the right direction,” Grindley said. “YPI is, in many ways, the perfect partner for Cohab’s efforts.

This is a group that inherently excels at reaching out to young professionals, engaging them in the community, and empowering them to make a positive difference.”

Gentry said she agrees that the two organizations are very well matched for a partnership.

“All of the organizations who applied were very well represented and it was a hard decision,” Gentry said. “However, we felt like our vision and mission was very closely aligned with Cohab’s, and that is why they were chosen to be our 2015 Philanthropy of the Year. Cohab’s dedication to economic growth through creativity and entrepreneurship is fascinating! We are very excited to be supporting such a vibrant and innovative organization.”

Details for the partnership are already taking shape.

“Cohab has introduced new programs such as Breaking Lean, that YPI will be involved with, along with 1 Million Cups, Biz Breakfast and CoSolve,” Gentry said. “We are also looking forward to a collaborating on Demo Day events, where we will invite our members to test products of the startup companies in order to provide feedback and help them grow and move in the right direction.”

Gentry said YPI has a lot of opportunities to volunteer in the community.

“YPI is also excited about the upcoming volunteer opportunities that will be available with the partnership of Cohab and the LA StartUp Prize. We are also planning a Give for Good Campaign with Cohab that will be lots of fun and hopefully, a huge success. Working together means a stronger voice and a stronger community,” Gentry said.

Grindley said the funds donated will be used for the foundation’s programs.

“Cohab will be using YPI’s donated funds to purchase updated audio/visual equipment that we need in order to capture our programs and distribute them to a wider audience online,” Grindley said. “It’s an effort we’re really excited about that will allow Cohab to make a bigger impact for entrepreneurs and startups.

“That said, while Cohab is really grateful for the monetary donation from YPI and the opportunities it presents, we feel the biggest benefit of this award is being able to partner with YPI for the year to engage the young professionals in our community, get the word out about our mission, and help the startups going through this year’s Breaking Lean class find success and keep that success here in Northwest Louisiana,” Grindley said.

–Kirk Fontenot


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