NEW ORLEANS, May 5, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- In response to what may become the nation's worst environmental disaster in decades, the Greater New Orleans Foundation has opened the Gulf Coast Oil Spill Fund. Proceeds from this fund will support work that helps the communities most affected by the oil spill in Plaquemines, St. Bernard, and lower Jefferson Parishes. As for long-term recovery efforts, the Gulf Coast Oil Spill Fund will help strengthen coastal communities against future environmental catastrophes such as BP's Horizon oil spill which occurred on April 20, 2010.

Just as important as short-term relief is the strategy for addressing the long-term effects of this disaster, said Albert Ruesga, president and CEO of the Greater New Orleans Foundation. While it is way too early to know the full extent of this disaster, research shows there are still lingering effects in Alaska from the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989.

The Greater New Orleans Foundation administers similar funds that benefit the region. In 1981 when the Mississippi River was tainted with a phenol spill, the court approved a US$6 million settlement which became the Foundation's Environmental Fund. This Fund's goal is to encourage ecological, economic, and cultural vitality, resilience, and sustainability through environmentally focused policies, programs, and projects.

The Foundation partners with environmental experts and community leaders to set goals and chart effective strategies, in order to purposefully support work that is critical to the health and resiliency of our region, said Marco Cocito-Monoc, director of regional initiatives. With the Gulf Coast Oil Spill Fund, we will work with environmental experts to bring action, engagement, and evaluation.

Donations to the Gulf Coast Oil Spill Fund can be made online at

The Greater New Orleans Foundation is the community foundation serving the 13-parish Greater New Orleans metropolitan area. We design and lead initiatives that improve the region, connect donors to community needs, identify and support great nonprofits, and strengthen civil society.

SOURCE: Greater New Orleans Foundation

CONTACT: Martha Landrum of Greater New Orleans Foundation,+1-504-598-1290,