Beverly Church, 2015 New Orleans Top Female Achiever
Executive Editor, St. Charles Avenue Magazine
Photographed by Jeffery Johnston
From as far back as she can remember, Bev Church knew the importance of giving back.
“My mom was president of the Junior League,” she says. “Even when we were tiny, I remember going to meetings with her. She was on so many different boards and made such a difference.”
Church has continued her mother’s legacy. Through decades of volunteering, she has sought to make a difference in the city she loves.
“I started teaching in public schools at McDonogh No. 1,” she says. “At one point I became the education chairman for the chamber and helped start the Dollars for Scholars program. We were trying to get people involved with trying to fix the public schools. It was an almost impossible task.”
Church is well versed in what it takes to go “dialing for dollars.” In the mid-1980s she put her talents to work for City Park, helping to raise approximately $500,000 to restore Storyland. When she chaired the Audubon Zoo’s fundraiser Zoo-To-Do in 1999, the event raised over $1 million.
Following Hurricane Katrina, Anne Milling asked Church to join approximately 10 women who made up a group that called themselves the “Women of the Storm.” The group raised $120,000 – enough to fly 120 women to Washington D.C. and deliver hand-written notes to every congressman and senator inviting them to come to New Orleans. “We ended up getting a huge amount of support from Congress,” she says.
Church also helped found St. Charles Avenue magazine, a sister publication to New Orleans Magazine both of which are published by Renaissance Publishing Company LLC. Celebrating its 20th year of publishing this year, the magazine highlights the philanthropic efforts of New Orleans citizens from all walks of life. For two decades Church has served as Executive Editor and penned the magazine’s entertaining column. A four-time published author on entertaining, she continues to speak about the topic nationwide.
Always running full speed ahead, Church’s latest project is helping to raise $1.3 million for YAYA (Young Aspirations, Young Artists) with Kay Kerrigan and Baty Landis. “They’re building an art center in Central City, right across from Harmony Oaks. “We’re going to be able to impact not just the surrounding neighborhood, but 11 nearby schools.”
Mentor: My mother, Beverly Reese. She set an example for all of us that volunteering was important.
Defining Moment: That would probably be Katrina. I think experiencing the unexpected made us all look at life differently. I had just published my fourth book and was supposed to go on tour, but I didn’t care about that. All that mattered was helping my family, being there for them and bringing our city back.
Advice for Young Women: Pick one thing that you’re passionate about and go for it – try to make a difference and make this world better every single day.
Goals: To be the best wife, mother, mother-in-law, grandmother and sister I can be. My family is first. When you have a close-knit family, everything else falls into place.
Favorite thing about what I do: I love being executive editor of St. Charles Avenue because we can help so many nonprofits get their message across. I’m so proud we’re hosting the second annual Wine, Dine & Design event Oct. 8 and 9 for Operation Homefront. The money raised will go to help returning wounded warriors and veterans and their families in Louisiana and Mississippi.