Network Voluntours is a New Orleans-based nonprofit that promotes diverse economic development in New Orleans by connecting visitors and locals with local community organizations to create unique, and mutually beneficial, experiences.
“The idea is to connect the nonprofit sector in New Orleans with the business and hospitality sectors, by sharing resources and also providing inspiring volunteer experiences,” said Theodore Nathan, co-founder and Head of Operations for Network Voluntours. “We want every single person that lives in or visits New Orleans to know that volunteering is a viable, mutually beneficial and fun experience. We want New Orleans to be known for having a strong nonprofit network, responsible business engagement and responsible tourism.”
Nathan, along with fellow co-founder Zach Cheney, conceptualized the non-profit two years ago when he noticed that the financial support that was available for New Orleans’ nonprofits immediately following Katrina was beginning to dwindle, while the economic boom from the revitalized tourist industry continued to grow. Much like the Crescent City Connection Bridge connects two parts of the city, Network Voluntours aims to bridge the gap and create a sustainable structure between the nonprofit funding and the tourism industry in New Orleans.
What has grown into a viable service grew out of the Changemaker Institute, an experiential program at Tulane University’s Taylor Center. According to Nathan, “The Changemaker Institute was a great laboratory for us to question and challenge our hypothesis around our business idea. He added, “The Changemaker Institute is a great first-step in taking an idea and turning it into reality. Now, a little over two years later, now after completing the Changemaker Institute, I can honestly say none of our success could have been achieved without the support and guidance of our change-maker cohort. Because of these experiences, I can sincerely say The Changemaker Institute is a great convergence of academic studies and theory with real-life applications and outcomes.” In closing, Nathan said, “I’ve served as the Executive Director of NetWork Voluntours (formerly Crescent City Connections), a fee-for-service nonprofit, for the last year and we have two-fully employees on our team. In 2015 to date we’ve worked with over 11,000 volunteers.” Learn more about the work Network Voluntours are doing on their website Network Volunteers.
Changemaker Institute (CI) is a student-led social venture accelerator that helps students transform their ideas for social change into sustainable ventures and potential careers.
CI pairs students with expert mentors and exposes them to different local innovators and experts each week. Through this process, students develop, test, and launch their ideas. CI concludes with a final Pitch Event in April 2016. Application for new Changemakers cohort are currently being accepted and are due November 9, 2015 by 11:59 pm. The Changemaker Institute will be hosting information sessions on Wednesday, Oct 21 @ 12pm and Thursday, Oct 22 @ 6:30pm, at Taylor in 200 Flower Hall. For more information about CI, visit their website Changemaker Institute, visit us at Taylor on Wednesday’s between 12 pm-5 pm or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
See the Network Voluntours in action below: