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Hancock Whitney Awards $25K Grant to Thrive New Orleans

Funds to help underserved entrepreneurs of color start, grow, and stabilize small businesses

NEW ORLEANS (March 2, 2021)—Hancock Whitney, in partnership with the Greater New Orleans Foundation, has awarded Thrive New Orleans a $25,000 competitive grant to continue helping entrepreneurs of color garner the know-how, resources, and guidance to cultivate well-planned small business growth and success.


The $25,000 competitive grant award supports Thrive New Orleans’ Launch NOLA, an initiative empowering entrepreneurs from under-resourced communities with business training, support, and mentoring to attain self-sufficiency. Focused on businesses with revenues below $150,000, Launch NOLA helps underserved entrepreneurs of color start and grow new small businesses and existing small businesses stabilize and scale.


“At Hancock Whitney, we believe investing in organizations and programs that provide opportunities for underserved or underrepresented individuals and small businesses will build stronger communities,” said Hancock Whitney Director of Community Reinvestment Act and Fair Lending Sunada Brookins. “Thrive New Orleans is providing vital services to entrepreneurs in Greater New Orleans and working to help individuals and communities prosper. We are proud to join with Thrive New Orleans to help small business owners achieve their dreams.”


The Hancock Whitney competitive grants initiative—now in its third year—is part of the bank’s Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) program. In 2020 Hancock Whitney gave a total of $200,000 in competitive grants to 12 eligible nonprofits across the Gulf South currently supporting small business through technical assistance and entrepreneurship training.


Founded in 2008, Thrive New Orleans believes everyone deserves the opportunity to succeed. Through their four-pillar approach of providing affordable housing, creating safe spaces for leaders to flourish, empowering workplaces, and growing businesses, Thrive New Orleans is making major differences for local families, neighbors, and small businesses.


“We cannot express our gratitude for Hancock Whitney's investment in our mission and community enough. Our entrepreneurs have faced so many new barriers during the COVID-19 pandemic, such as ineligibility for PPP loans,” said Thrive New Orleans Executive Director Chuck Morse. “Grants like these bolster our ability to meet these entrepreneurs where they are and provide them with much-needed tailored support.”


During spring 2020, Thrive New Orleans led Payroll Protection Program (PPP) outreach efforts and discovered that many small businesses could not receive financial assistance due to problems with legal compliance and/or accounting and banking insufficiencies. With the grant award, Thrive New Orleans will host specialized “Get Official” seminars addressing topics such as business filings, basic accounting practices, taxes, and financial statements. To further their efforts in supporting small businesses, Thrive New Orleans will also offer a meet-and-greet with local bankers to help answer financial questions and offer one-on-one coaching sessions to a select group of participants.


Hancock Whitney’s competitive grant program opens to applicants each fall. Hancock Whitney currently supports non-profit organizations serving 30 Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) and non-MSAs in the bank’s five-state footprint.


About Hancock Whitney

Since the late 1800s, Hancock Whitney has embodied core values of Honor & Integrity, Strength & Stability, Commitment to Service, Teamwork, and Personal Responsibility. Hancock Whitney offices and financial centers in Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, and Texas offer comprehensive financial products and services, including traditional and online banking; commercial and small business banking; private banking; trust and investment services; healthcare banking; certain insurance services; and mortgage services. The company also operates a loan production office in Nashville, Tennessee. BauerFinancial, Inc., the nation’s leading independent bank rating and analysis firm, consistently recommends Hancock Whitney as one of America’s most financially sound banks. More information is available at www.hancockwhitney.com.


About Thrive New Orleans

Thrive 9th Ward, a program of Thrive New Orleans, is a local nonprofit organization that provides space, resources, and programs centered around recreation, youth, workforce development, and community engagement in New Orleans 9th Ward. 

Founded in 2008, Thrive New Orleans (formerly St. Roch CDC) is a 501(c)3, community development organization offering services to help meet the physical and economic needs of individuals and families. We seek to equip people with training and resources through our 5 pillar programs, Thrive 9th Ward, Restoration Thrift, Thrive Housing, Launch NOLA, and Thrive Works, to improve their lives and community as well as connect them to a broader network of people who will help champion their efforts so that dignity, families and our community are restored. Our vision is to see individuals empowered to change their lives, families, and community. Our mission is to serve as a catalyst to help lift people out of material and asset poverty and holistically restore our community.


Hancock Whitney Media Contact

Ashley Harrison, Community Affairs CRA Manager




Thrive New Orleans Media Contact

Emily Eckland, Director of Marketing