Junior League of New Orleans (JLNO) is proud to announce the recipients of their 2020 academic scholarships and Community Assistance Fund (CAF) grants. The academic scholarships are awarded to non-traditional, female students for undergraduate education. The mission of the Community Assistance Fund is to provide financial resources to local nonprofit organizations that effectively demonstrate a need for funding. It seeks to advance the wellbeing of women through the use of trained volunteers that provide direct service, educate the community and advocate for issues that impact the lives of women.

During the selection process, each nonprofit submits an application with a request for funding to CAF in late December. The committee meets in early January to review the applications and determine which organizations are most aligned with the League’s mission. After a preliminary round of voting in February and March, the committee then schedules site visits with organizations still being considered for funding. In March, the committee votes on the final organizations to receive funding. Each committee member presents her organization, and the organizations that received the most votes are recommended for funding. CAF presents its recommendations to the Community Council, and these recommendations are sent to the Board for final approval.

JLNO is pleased to partner with Bridge House/Grace House, Second Harvest Food Bank of Greater New Orleans and Hotel Hope, providing them with funds to continue their missions in the face of the current coronavirus outbreak. CAF Committee Co-Chair Amenah Abdelfattah describes her experience saying, “Being a part of the CAF Commitee has been such a rewarding experience, especially during this time of crises.” Nicole Deshotels, fellow CAF Committee Co-Chair, echos that sentiment, adding, “It’s been extremely fulfilling to see the direct impact Junior League has in our community.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown how vital immediate access to food and shelter are to the Greater New Orleans community, and JLNO is proud to be a part of the solution.

Children enjoying breakfast provided by Second Harvest
Food Bank.


Bridge House/Grace House: $5,000

Bridge House/Grace House has served its mission to provide substance-use disorder treatment services to those who need it since 1960. It offers a place to recover safely and the opportunity to build a new life. Their clinical and vocation-based programs help individuals build responsibility in a life of recovery. These two housing facilities treat over 800 homeless men and women each year.

Second Harvest Food Bank of Greater New Orleans: $10,000

Second Harvest alleviates hunger in Southern Louisiana by offering food access, advocacy, education and disaster response. As a food bank, it allocates food to over 700 community partners and programs across 23 parishes. They promote an outlet from poverty, leveraging their food distribution programs, kitchen meal services, nutrition training and public benefits assistance.

Second Harvest Food Bank provides healthy meals to
local school communities.

Hotel Hope: $5,000.

The goal of Hotel Hope is to provide women and children with a safe and loving environment and arm them with the confidence to ultimately become self-sufficient.  It offers short-term emergency housing and helps structure a plan for long term residential housing. This arrangement allows the core family structure to remain in place, while offering a solution to individual families’ crises. They assist these families by transitioning them to economic self-sufficiency, partnering with organizations to offer supportive services such as literacy, job training, healthcare and counseling.


In addition to the Community Assistance Fund grants, JLNO awards scholarships to women in the community who have succeeded in the face of adversity. This year’s scholarships recipients are Sydney Bowers and Keacha Drake. JLNO members, Shavon Magee and Heather Ray, co-chaired the selection process.

Yolande A. Bernard Scholarship: Sydney Bowers – $5,500

Sydney Bowers
Yolande A. Bernard Scholar: Sydney Bowers

Sydney Bowers is currently enrolled at Delgado Community College pursuing an Associates degree in accounting. Upon completion of her studies at Delgado, she plans to transfer to the University of New Orleans to complete her bachelor’s degree. In addition to school, Sydney works two jobs to help fund her education. On her own since she was 17, she has endured foster care, homelessness and parents who struggled with substance abuse. Through all of this, Sydney has managed to go to school, find a job and purchase a home.

This scholarship will allow her to graduate Delgado and work towards becoming an accountant. Sydney graciously accepted the scholarship from the Junior League, expressing her appreciation for the encouragement, support and opportunity this award has provided. Sydney is grateful for how much closer these funds will bring her to obtaining her professional goals and dreams. She goes on to say, “The scholarship from JLNO is a true inspiration, and I hope that as I achieve my personal goals I can pay it forward and assist others with achieving their own aspirations.”

Huete Scholar: Keacha Drake – $5,500

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Huete Scholar: Keacha Drake

Keacha Drake currently works part-time for the 24th District Public Defenders’ Office while pursuing a Criminal Justice degree from Dillard University. Keacha has overcome an abusive husband and the untimely death of her father in a motorcycle accident. She credits her perseverance to the support of the university.  Her father inspired her interest in law and the judicial system. She aspires to one day become a judge and uplift her family legacy. This scholarship will help Keacha come closer to her dreams as she finishes her time at Dillard University. Keacha thanks the Junior League of New Orleans for this opportunity to bring her goals to fruition. When asked how she achieves all her accomplishments in the face of adversity, she responded, “My secret is simple: I pray.”