The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
has donated more than $7 million to strengthen Oxfam America's efforts on behalf of affordable housing and workers' rights in the Gulf Coast region. The funds will be used over a three-year period to provide support, technical assistance and information to organizations working to ensure affordable housing is available for those who have been displaced and to protect workers' rights for those participating in the rebuilding effort, including many migrant, minority and low-income laborers.
America's WETLAND Conservation Corps
recently was formed by the America's WETLAND Campaign and the LSU AgCenter. The group will build environmental awareness through volunteerism and education via a variety of activities — with the message of both responsible stewardship and a call for action to save coastal Louisiana. AWCC members will coordinate hands-on coastal restoration projects such as vegetative planting and community-wide cleanups.
First-year LSU med students
continued a 22-year-long tradition at the health and sciences center recently by bringing 87 mentally and physically challenged child campers to "Camp Tiger 2007" — a weeklong day camp that gives special kids a chance to socialize with other children without being singled out because of their disabilities. The medical students plan all of the activities, raise necessary funds, solicit donations for activities and supplies and then volunteer their time to serve as camp counselors.
Louisiana Citizens Property Insurance,
the state-run casualty insurer of last resort, spent $1.2 million on furniture and office equipment but cannot document the purchases. Another $6 million went to software that doesn't work properly and might not even belong to Citizens, according to Legislative auditor Steve Theriot. Worse yet, the faulty software renders Citizens unable to produce accurate financial statements, Theriot says, adding that the company has not balanced its bankbooks since 2005.