Today’s news:

Log on to FishNet to aid New Orleans

Fort Greene residents Wayne Taylor and Karrie Myers have launched FishNet, an internet-based project that connects donors with grassroots organizations that are successfully helping to rebuild lives affected by Hurricane Katrina.

A large gathering of concerned young professionals turned out to support the launch and hear a first-hand update on New Orleans’ revival from Darlene Wolnik, deputy director of New Orleans’ marketumbrella.org, one of the groups whose work is highlighted through FishNet.

In addition, the gathering saw videos on the current state of New Orleans and its people, produced by Taylor and Myers during their visits to New Orleans in the past two years.

Taylor and Myers developed the FishNet Project as part of their non-profit Fish Foundation. Both were created as their personal response to the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

FishNet is designed to connect people directly to the grassroots organizations that are building stronger communities in New Orleans and other troubled areas in the United States. The program works as a digital portal, allowing caring individuals to locate, research, donate and track the work of charitable grassroots organizations.

With online videos, donors also can see the impact of their donations on the lives of real people. In addition to channeling donations to community organizations, FishNet helps the organizations expand their digital presence.

Marketumbrella.org develops farmers markets in New Orleans, mobilizes people and resources, mentors emerging leaders and models best practices. According to Wolnik, marketumbrella.org is “pleased” to be affiliated with FishNet because “its innovation especially appeals to us.”

“The internet did more for telling the New Orleans story than anything else. FishNet can continue to help New Orleans through the internet. FishNet helps people learn how to tell their own stories,” said Wolnik.

She adds: “The founders of FishNet are truly committed to not just helping from afar. They are building real relationships with groups in New Orleans and are committed to understanding our challenges and helping us rebuild our community.”

In the wake of the Katrina tragedy, Taylor, a 33-year-old web entrepreneur, discovered that many young professionals, aged 25-35, wanted to help, but didn’t know the best way of going about it.

“Many of my friends and associates were concerned that their monetary donations would not find their way to the people who most needed the help. That got me thinking,” he said.

Taylor, together with Myers, established The Fish Foundation and the FishNet Project as a way to connect caring individuals with the many smaller community organizations that have the most impact in helping individuals and neighborhoods become self-sufficient.

“During several trips to New Orleans, we found many smaller organizations that are successfully providing the fundamental tools that people need to rebuild their lives. Yet while they are busy helping individuals, many are also struggling to find funds to support their efforts. FishNet is our way of connecting donors with these small charitable organizations that are getting the job done,” said Taylor.

“You won’t find big-budget charities with huge overheads here. What you’ll find are real people; working people, planting the seeds of self-reliance in their own backyards. You can use FishNet’s cutting-edge technology to interact, donate, and watch your charitable dollar make a difference in someone’s life. It’s our way of combining digital technology and philanthropy to bridge the economic gap, one person at a time.”

The Fish Foundation provides lower-income families with the ability to create a financial legacy. With the goal of fighting poverty by funding progressive solutions to growing problems, The Fish Foundation works in partnership with community groups already in the field to develop innovative programs in four distinct areas: educational advancement, economic development, nutritional education and mental health.

To learn more about The Fish Foundation and its FishNet Project, visit www.fishfoundation.org.

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