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Entrepreneurship

Louisiana-based Pelican Institute wins $100,000 Dignity Unbound grant

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Philanthropy Roundtable’s Annual Meeting saw a special addition to its program this year—an Atlas Network-sponsored Dignity Unbound Investors Summit grant competition. The competition featured the opportunity to win up to $100,000 in total grant funding. Six U.S.-based organizations pitched their projects to a panel of judges, explaining what their initiatives had already accomplished, what they planned to do next, and how they would invest the grant money were they to win. Each organization had an impressive pitch, but it was ultimately Louisiana-based Pelican Institute that was awarded a $100,000 grant.

Pelican Institute’s CEO Daniel Erspamer took the stage to explain how his organization would use a grant to supercharge their project on occupational licensing. He pointed out that Louisiana has one of the highest proportions in the nation of jobs that require licensing. These requirements drive up costs for consumers, keep out entrepreneurs, and increase the poverty rate by placing absurd requirements on jobs that many of us take for granted. Erspamer told the stories of several individuals who had been negatively impacted by licensing laws, like a woman who decided moving to Texas would make it easier to fulfill her dream of operating a hair braiding business rather than staying in Louisiana, or a man who wants to own and operate a mobile barbershop but currently cannot due to legal technicalities.

Pelican Institute will use the $100,000 grant to double down on their campaign to make occupational licensing a front-and-center political issue in their state. By maximizing their online reach and promoting a short video explainer they will produce, the organization will expand their owned audience. This will allow them to ensure occupational licensing is a core issue in the swiftly approaching 2023 state election cycle. By focusing public and legislative attention on the issue, Pelican Institute hopes to effect real change and allow the people of Louisiana to craft their own more prosperous futures.

Atlas Network sponsored the Dignity Unbound Investors Summit and provided the $100,000 grant.

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