In 2011, after years of volunteering and working to help with the rebuilding of New Orleans, Teddy Nathan and Zach Cheney began formulating an idea for a different kind of nonprofit. Their idea was simple: To create an organization that could help provide long-term support to the area’s nonprofits by creating awe-inspiring volunteer experiences.
Nathan came to New Orleans in 2006, exactly one year after Hurricane Katrina, to attend Tulane University. He quickly started volunteering at a variety of nonprofits and was galvanized by the hard work and dedication of those organizations to help rebuild New Orleans. That dedication had a strong impact on Nathan, prompting him to volunteer for a range of efforts from rebuilding houses, to after-school tutoring for children and adults. He also completed a term with the AmeriCorps Literacy Alliance and ran a student-led youth recreation program at a local community center.
After graduating, Nathan was awarded a Mayoral Fellowship with the Landrieu administration in New Orleans where he was able to continue his passion for the city and worked on a variety of the administration’s partnership projects, including the creation of ServeNOLA and Office Neighborhood Engagement. He later went on to manage community partnerships at Tulane.
At the same time, Cheney was gaining his volunteer experience during his service in triage centers in Baton Rouge and Houston following hurricanes Katrina and Gustav. After graduating from LSU in 2009, Cheney moved to New Orleans, where he honed his skills in the hospitality and tourism industry and developed a strong base in customer service. In his experiences, he too saw lost potential time and time again of groups wanting to make a difference but weren’t exactly sure how.
By chance, Nathan and Cheney met in 2011 and quickly realized that they each felt a commitment to help continue New Orleans’ growth and progress. Cheney’s expertise in the tourism industry and, Nathan’s extensive background in the local nonprofit sector, made for an ideal combination to connect volunteers with New Orleans. A combination that would not only benefit the volunteers but the city as a whole.