Louisiana Changemakers Awarded LSU Reilly Center Grants to Move Forward with Community Collaborative Projects

October 1, 2021

BATON ROUGE—Four Louisiana public projects were awarded $5,000 grants to implement community projects following their participation in the Reilly Center for Media & Public Affairs’ inaugural capacity building program, The Community Collaborative: By the Community, For the Community.

The Community Collaborative launched in May 2021 as an initiative to empower Louisiana residents to engage in collective decision-making and development within their local communities. The program featured a three-part virtual training focused on community engagement, project development and grant application development led by Katie Knobloch, the Reilly Center’s 2021 Public Policy Fellow. Following the training, participants were invited to submit grant applications that presented action-based solutions to improve their communities.

“Program participants demonstrated a passion and commitment to enhancing their communities both during the trainings and grant applications,” said Jenée Slocum, director of the Reilly Center for Media and Public Affairs. “I’m excited to see grantee projects progress.” 

Grantees are listed below.

  • Carol Chin of Natchez, Louisiana
  • Liam Doyle of Lafayette, Louisiana
  • Murelle Harrison and Reginald Brown of Baton Rouge, Louisana
  • Morgan Washington and Kathleen Stewart Richey of Baton Rouge, Louisiana

The “Natchez Pecan Park Basketball Court” project, headed by Carol Chin, will establish a full-sized basketball court in Pecan Park in Natchez, Louisiana, where recreational facilities are limited. Chin hopes improvements to the park will contribute to community enhancement and foster a greater sense of community.

“Project Enable,” led by Liam Doyle, will share the experiences of people with disabilities with a larger audience to both highlight the particular challenges of residents living with disabilities and personalize the issues faced by the disability community.

Spearheaded by Murelle Harrison and Reginald Brown, “Gardere Proud,” a new project under the umbrella of the Gardere Initiative, will focus on changing cultural attitudes about litter and trash take-out within the Baton Rouge community.

“Give a Child a Chance: Advocate. Foster. Make an Impact,” led by Morgan Washington and Kathleen Stewart Richey with Louisiana Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children (CASA), proposes a partnership with the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services to form focus groups to understand why individuals and families choose to become CASA volunteers and foster parents. The information collected will then be used as part of a campaign to recruit individuals and families for both purposes.

More information about each of the grantees and their projects can be found on the Reilly Center for Media & Public Affairs’ website.

For more information, contact Aariel Charbonnet at acharbonnet1@lsu.edu


The Reilly Center for Media & Public Affairs is partnership-driven, action-oriented and dedicated to exploring contemporary issues at the intersection of mass communication and public life. Its interdisciplinary approach draws together experts from diverse fields to advance research and dialogue. The intent is to inspire our communities to think deeply, take action, develop solutions and broaden knowledge. Underlying the Center’s endeavors is to strengthen and advance the Manship School’s national and state leadership in media and politics.

LSU’s Manship School of Mass Communication ranks among the strongest collegiate communication programs in the country, with its robust emphasis on media and public affairs. It offers undergraduate degrees in public relations, journalism, political communication, digital advertising and pre-law, along with four graduate degree programs: master of mass communication, Ph.D. in media and public affairs, certificate of strategic communication, and dual MMC/law degree.