Donor Spotlight: The Greater New Orleans Foundation’s Hansen Fund for Arts Technical Assistance

Dr. Desirée Anderson, Associate Dean of Diversity and Student Affairs at the University of New Orleans, speaking at a recent New Orleans Opera Board meeting.

New Orleans Opera received a grant award from the Greater New Orleans Foundation’s Hansen Fund for Arts Technical Assistance. Thanks to their generous support, the New Orleans Opera Staff and Board have been able to participate in a series of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) trainings led by Dr. Desirée Anderson, Associate Dean of Diversity and Student Affairs at the University of New Orleans.  

Dr. Anderson’s work takes on a “restorative justice” approach, highlighting how characteristics like vulnerability, compassion, empathy, and intentionality can help build thriving, equitable communities. Funding from the Hansen Fund for Arts Technical Assistance is underwriting group training sessions with staff, monthly sessions at New Orleans Opera’s Board of Directors meetings, and select one-on-one consultations with the General and Artistic Director as needed.  

DEI training has become essential to organizations across the country who are seeking to broaden and diversify their audience, who wish to create a positive environment for all patrons and affiliates, and to create equitable workplaces that reflect the communities they serve. New Orleans Opera had participated in some preliminary sessions with Dr. Anderson last spring but realized quickly that the process should be extended – both in terms of the time commitment and the inclusion of all stakeholders in order to be more fully effective.

The process of self-examination, becoming better partners and allies, and creating a welcoming environment for new and existing audiences has been incredibly strengthening and rewarding. We are grateful to the Greater New Orleans Foundation’s Hansen Fund for Arts Technical Assistance for their confidence and support in our intended progress.  

Thank You to all that support New Orleans Opera!

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