Though we weren’t able to enjoy the entertainment that the Rex Organization usually provides the city of New Orleans on Mardi Gras Day, there’s much more to this group than spectacle.
The Rex Organization, through their Pro Bono Publico Foundation, has donated $9.3 million for public and parochial schools and support organizations over the past few years. Following Hurricane Katrina, members of Rex realized that the future of our city depends on the success of educating all of our children, and hiring great teachers is paramount to this end.
With its first grant, the Foundation’s Strategic Innovation Grants Fund partnered with New Schools for New Orleans aimed at improving the city’s ability to recruit and retain great teachers. After the pandemic hit and closed local schools, the Foundation partnered with New Schools and New Orleans Public Schools to buy laptops, smart tablets and home connectivity for public school students.
This year, Rex granted more than $1 million to 74 grantees that serve over 49,000 students (83 percent who are economically challenged) and Storey Charbonnet, Chairman of Pro Bono Publico Foundation who reigned as Rex last year, did it on Zoom!
The members of Rex Organization not only donate to the Pro Bono Publico Foundation, which means “for the public good,” but many serve on boards of charter schools, tutor students and personally work to make sure that these children have an opportunity to be successful!
In 2005 barely 50 percent of our children graduated from high school and in 2019 nearly 80 percent graduated. Many of the recipients of this year’s grants got to say thank you to Rex in such heartfelt ways over Zoom.
The Pro Bono Publico Foundation and Rex personify one of the most visible and important Carnival organizations in the city of New Orleans who are making positive changes for our youth. Next year will be the 150th anniversary of the 1872 founding of Rex! What a treasure we have in our city with these civic minded men who are taking on changing public education for the better. Hail Rex!
You don’t need to be a member of Rex to donate to the Pro Bono Publico Foundation. Please send your donation to: Pro Bono Publico Foundation, PO Box 531024, New Orleans, LA 70153-1024.
Thanks to Storey Charbonnet, Ben Dupuy, James Reiss and Denise Galloway for their input for this article.