Thursday, December 15, 2011

Testimonial: Cathy Puett of HandsOn New Orleans

"When I was approached by Depaul to provide a project for a group of first year MBA students I was not quite sure what direction to go in. After some thought I was able to come up with the idea of a fundraising campaign for our new Bunk House that will be built by the Urban Build School of Tulane Architecture. This will be a capital campaign for us. The work that the students did surpassed my expectations. With minimal tweaking to gear the presentation toward our targeted audience, we have a power point presentation and funding plan ready to present to potential funders in order to move this campaign forward. I don't think I can adequately express the amount of time this project saved me and my board. I included a board member in the presentation and she was ecstatic, she was so energized by the students and the presentation she was ready to present it that day!

The students were professional, asked very thoughtful questions and provided HandsOn with an extremely useful product for our capital campaign. We definitely appreciated their work and hope to host another group next year.

Thank you so much for choosing HandsOn New Orleans"

-Cathy Puett

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Media Pitch

Help circulate our media pitch and get the word out to the public about DePaul's great efforts and achievements in New Orleans!

DePaul MBA Students Help Impoverished in New Orleans during the Holidays

At a time when news headlines are filled with stories of corporate greed and misconduct, a new breed of business leaders from DePaul University are volunteering their time to help New Orleans businesses still struggling to recover from Hurricane Katrina six years later.
For the fifth year in a row, MBA students from DePaul University travelled to New Orleans Nov. 27 to help local businesses rebuild and recover from the devastating hurricane. This year, 30 DePaul students offered their time and services to help struggling New Orleans businesses as B-Corps, an organization founded by DePaul MBA students. Students used the business skills and knowledge acquired through their MBA educations to help businesses who cannot afford professional help. All three organizations the students worked with were thrilled about their efforts and commitment:
"We were incredibly lucky to have the savvy aid of a group of DePaul students this week. Today they gave an incredible presentation to our staff and select board members about a few new initiatives we are working on here at HandsOn! Thanks so much to DePaul! We hope to work with you again next year!"
(Cathy Puett, HandsOn New Orleans, December 2011)

We can't thank all of you enough for your immense help re-framing our ongoing conversation about how to strategically plan and develop our programs in the coming years. This really was the absolute perfect time to have your help, and I feel like we're better able to make important decisions based on the information you collected and presented to us,
(Peyton Juneau, HandsOn New Orleans, December 2011)

The students have also been blogging about their experience at

For more information, contact Sabrina Fruehauf at

DePaul B-Corps 2011, New Orleans

Thursday, December 8, 2011

American Airlines gives credit to the B-Corps efforts!

Return flight AA1199 from New Orleans to Chicago on 12/03/2011;

Listen carefully to the captain making a special announcement about the 30 DePaul Students doing Pro-Bono work in New Orleans. Great honor!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

HandsOn New Orleans Part II: The Bunkhouse Build Campaign

From left to right: Stephen Chang, Michelle Lee, Andrew Zeiser, David Keane, Addie Burton

Meet the other HandsOn team.

On a mission to 'Do Good and Do Well' in New Orleans, our team worked with HandsOn to deliver a capital campaign strategy to raise funds for a new volunteer bunkhouse. HandsOn currently houses volunteers on the upper level of a two-story residential building located in Mid-City. While the bunkhouse has generated a profit for the past couple years, it has several limitations that needed to be addressed, including lack of space and rental fees. In order to resolve these issues, the development of a new bunkhouse in the Hoffman Triangle community was proposed. Our team aimed to assist this project by working closely with our point of contact, Cathy Puett, to develop a fundraising campaign to help finance the new bunkhouse.

On our first day, our team met with Cathy at the current bunkhouse to discuss the project and to take a tour of the facilities. We decided the best approach would be to come up with a proposal to give to potential investors. We then drove over to the plot of land where the new bunkhouse was to be constructed to get a better idea of the scale of the project.

Now imagine a super eco-friendly, modern building right there in the middle of that space.

We had a lot of work ahead of us. Throughout the week, we looked over financial records, architectural designs (created by students from the Tulane University School of Architecture), and other sources of data that would help put together our deliverable. We met with Cathy once more to verify numbers and facts. Our final product consisted of the proposal, a presentation to show investors, an executive summary, pledge cards, and a list of investors that HandsOn could reach out to. Our final step was to present our deliverable to the HandsOn staff and board members.

Our presentation was met with positive feedback and excitement, which led to a lively discussion about the next steps HandsOn should take and an invitation to return to New Orleans in the future for the unveiling of the new bunkhouse. Success! This was an amazing experience for everyone on the team. We were also given a shoutout on the HandsOn Facebook page:

"We were incredibly luck to have the savvy aid of a group of DePaul students this week. Today they gave an incredible presentation to our staff and select board members about a few new initiatives we are working on here at HandsOn! Thanks so much to DePaul! We hope to work with you again next year!"
A big thanks to HandsOn New Orleans for giving us the opportunity to work with them! It is an amazing organization that has and continues to provide relief and services to the greater New Orleans area. We hope for continued success in future collaborations between DePaul and HandsOn.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A week with HandsOn New Orleans

And off we went… to help make a difference with our organization. Like at St.Bernard Project, 10 people split into two groups. Our group was asked to do a cost and benefit analysis on their hands@work program. What projects brought more revenue than others, and what projects were maybe not even worth pursuing?

This task entailed a lot of digging into the financial statements and it didn’t take long until the numbers were spinning around in our brains. Thankfully we had two accountants in our team, Jeshica and Vanja and with the help of Tom, who had done something similar before in his previous job, we managed to establish a very detailed picture of the income and expenses over the course of a few years. 

the group working from the Mariott Hotel 

For Shane and myself, this accounting-based task was on the one hand very instructive and informative but we – as the marketers in the team – were slightly missing the creative side. So on Wednesday we decided to sit down with Brianne, the HandsOn Marketing VISTA, to ask her if she needed our input on a marketing-related topic.

This conversation turned into a second big project: we had 48 hours to create 1) a strategic marketing plan for the HandsOn Volunteer house and 2) a plan for long-term corporate volunteer engagement. The latter was an ideal subject since we could apply a lot of knowledge gained from previous Pro-Bono work with non-profits in Chicago.  

As for the promotion of the volunteer house, I could identify myself with the task a lot since a few years ago it had been one of my dreams to open my own traveler and backpacker hostel. Presenting the purpose, the competitive advantage, target audience and the niche of an affordable and social accommodation with the indirect contribution to a good cause (as opposed to staying in a hotel) were exactly matching my interests.

part of the building makes up the  HoNO headquarters 

On Friday, we presented our results to the organization. They were thrilled by what we’d achieved in such a short period of time. HandsOn New Orleans is very keen on maintaining the relationship with DePaul students in the coming years. This has been the beginning of a great partnership! We want to thank HoNO for this incredible experience. As much as we helped them, we also gained a lot of knowledge so it was a win-win situation overall.


Sunday, December 4, 2011

A Week At St Bernard Project

The week working at the St. Bernard Project (SBP) was an incredible experience.  Ten of us broke up into three project teams and helped with an organizational staffing project, a social media project, and a website project.  Prior to coming down to New Orleans, we touched base with SBP about their needs and opportunities for us to help, but the real work started in ernest once we arrived.  Our first day, we toured SBP and met with their marketing team along with founders, Zack Rosenburg and Liz McCartney, to establish our project scopes and map out our tasks for the rest of the week.  My team worked on the website project and we spent most of our week mapping out their current website, tracking each location for updated content and contact info to be modified in the future, making specific recommendations for content, and creating a list of best practices.  
(What seems like a labor of love: our team's visual map of the SBP website - Diego, Paula, and LJ working hard)
On the last day, all three project teams presented the deliverables to SBP, receiving a very positive response.  It felt great to know that our work throughout the week made an impact.  As proof, we experienced a real treat mid-week while browsing a website page where we’d made a small recommendation to add more buttons - low and behold, the buttons had appeared that day.  And an hour after our final presentation, the social media team noticed some of its recommendations added to the SBP facebook page.  What a treat to see our recommendations turning into reality!  Everyone at SBP was so grateful to have us.  The whole experience underlined the net impact we made over a short period of time for an organization so important to the New Orleans community. 
There were four other main highlights from the week:

1) Visiting a house in the Lower 9th Ward currently under construction by SBP and its volunteers.  


(The SBP site manager explaining the work being done)

During Katrina, the water level came all the way up to the roof where the family had to be rescued by helicopter.  Six years later, they'll be coming home in time for Christmas if all goes according to plan.  

(An almost finished house)

2) Attending a Welcome Home party for the Dupre Family.  Again, this is the first time they've been able to be home in six years.  See the video in a previous post for the actual speech.

(The Dupre's cutting their SBP ribbon)

The house itself had been past down by generations and was originally constructed by the grandfather.  

(Our B-Corps St. Bernard Team)

Construction has taken over four years, in part because of theft.  Thieves continued to damage the house during the process, taking all materials - including the copper wiring in the walls.  Now, it's a beautiful new home.  

(Paul and Paula in the kitchen)

 3) Joining the entire SPB staff late into the night to help with a holiday mailing campaign (the beer, pizza, and homemade chili were an added bonus).  
4) Sampling the incredible food in the St. Bernard Parish area.  Crawfish, Po' Boys, Gumbo, Jumbalaya, fried food, and more.  The best, was the local favorite for BBQ: The Joint.  We came back multiple times over the week for real smoked BBQ, mac and cheese, pecan pie, and sweet tea.

(Happily stuffed)
SBP was an incredible organization to work for over the week.  What an honor to come to New Orleans and contribute to their work.  

- Kate

Friday, December 2, 2011

Welcome Home Party for the Dupre's

The group of individual's that worked with the St. Bernard Project were fortunate enough to witness a Welcome Home Party.  This is a video of Brenda Dupre who had her house rebuilt for her by the St. Bernard Project and she is being welcomed home.  The video speaks for itself.