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Press Release

Friday, October 25, 2019

Tres Doux Foundation Awards First Grant of 2019 Cycle to The Prism Project

Beignet Fest funds matched by donation from Gulfsouth Autism Center 

New Orleans, LA (October 15, 2019) – The Tres Doux Foundation, the grantmaking arm of Beignet Fest, presented its first grant of the 2019 grant cycle on stage at the festival, Saturday, Oct. 5. The $4,000 grant was awarded to The Prism Project, an inclusive performing arts program created by Families Helping Families NOLA that engages children with and without special needs to construct an original theatrical performance. The grant was a combination of funds from the Tres Doux Foundation and a matched gift from Gulfsouth Autism Center.

“We work daily with exceptional children on the autism spectrum, and we know the potential they have,” said Dr. Brian Esteve, clinical director of the Gulfsouth Autism Center. “Supporting the efforts of the Tres Doux Foundation with a match grant felt like a perfect opportunity to make an impact in this space with a worthy nonprofit like Families Helping Families.”

“When we established the Tres Doux Foundation and created Beignet Fest, the partnership like the one we have with Gulfsouth Autism Center is exactly the kind of thing we had in mind,” said Sherwood Collins, founder of the Tres Doux Foundation and Beignet Fest. “We’ve been able to come together and provide an opportunity to children of all abilities to have the traditional childhood experience of putting on a play, something that would otherwise likely be out of reach for a child with autism.”

The Prism Project teaches dance, music and theater to participants ages 6-14. Through regular rehearsals, participants are supported by specially trained staff and given the opportunity to interact with children of all abilities over the course of six weeks. The program culminates with a performance of an original production for family, friends and the general public.

“The Prism Project is one of the first inclusive programs focusing on recreation; our goal is to close the gap in recreational opportunities for children with disabilities,” said Aisha Johnson, executive director of Families Helping Families NOLA.

Since its founding in 2016, the Tres Doux Foundation has dedicated over $65,000 to autism programs in Greater New Orleans. The Tres Doux Foundation expects to announce the remainder of its 2019 grants in the coming months, adding to the total. In addition to grantmaking, the Tres Doux Foundation also launched a Beignet Buddies program this year to promote partners and events in the community that serve children with developmental differences through the Beignet Fest website and on its Facebook page.

Beignet Fest is a popular food festival with an extra sweet mission to raise awareness and funds for autism programs in Greater New Orleans. In true NOLA style, the event features 30+ beignet dishes, live music, a Beer Garden, Artist Market and Kids Village. Proceeds from Beignet Fest benefit the Tres Doux Foundation, which makes grants to nonprofits serving children with developmental differences. For more information, visit beignetfest.com and follow the event on Facebook and Instagram (@beignetfest).

Left to right: Tres Doux Foundation Executive Director and Beignet Fest Producer Sherwood Collins, Families Helping Families NOLA Executive Director Aisha Johnson, Prism Project participant and Junior Director Nicholas Williams, Gulfsouth Autism Center Clinical Director Dr. Brian Esteve, Prism Project Coordinator Jeremy Love with program participants, and Gulfsouth Autism Center Board Certified Behavior Analyst and Licensed Behavior Analyst Dr. Garet Edwards


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