Common Ground Relief (New Orleans, LA)


  • Name:Thomas Pepper
  • Title:Executive Director

Organization Address

  • Organization Name:Common Ground Relief
  • Address:1800 Deslonde Street
    New Orleans, LA 70117
    United States

Organization Phone

  • Main phone:(504) 312-1729
  • Main fax:(504) 754-7917

Organization Web

User Email


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  • Mission:
  • Common Ground Relief seeks "to create resilient Gulf Coast communities that are environmentally sustainable, financially viable and personally cohesive."

  • Overview:
  • Common Ground Relief (CGR) is a grassroots organization located in New Orleans’ Lower 9th Ward. It's mission is “to create resilient Gulf Coast communities that are environmentally sustainable, financially viable and personally cohesive.” CGR realizes this mission by helping residents build assets that support community transformation and renewal by providing the following integrated platform of programs, projects and services: (1) coastal wetlands and urban environmental restoration; (2) home building, restoration and construction; (3) carpentry and nursery job training; and (4) free legal services.

    CGR’s work supports and reaches the following three main groups:
    Low-wealth individuals and families, from diverse backgrounds, who reside throughout the Greater New Orleans area. Although Common Ground Relief does not place residential limitations on its constituents, many of them reside or wish to return to their homes in New Orleans’ Lower 9th Ward neighborhood, which was one of the most heavily Katrina-damaged areas of the city.

    Greater New Orleans area elementary, middle and high school students who participate in Common Ground Relief’s wetlands educational programs, both at the school-site as well as hands-on plantings.

    Local and national corporate and civic volunteers whose values are aligned to those of Common Ground Relief.

    CGR's impact can be greatly attributed by its strategic partnerships with skilled, knowledgeable people, not-for-profits, community organizations, and businesses. As a small, volunteer-based organization, CGR believes that mutually-beneficial partnerships are necessary to create sustainable, effective solutions to the problems facing our communities. To achieve its mission and the goals of the Wetlands Restoration Program, CGR collaborates with the following organizations: America’s WETLAND Foundation, Audubon Nature Center, Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program, Evacuteer, FutureProof, Groundworks New Orleans, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, Lower 9 School Development Group, Lower 9th Ward Community Wellness Consortium, Lower Ninth Ward Stakeholders Coalition, and The Gulf Coast Involvement Team.

  • History:
  • Common Ground Relief (CGR) was established in 2005 to provide short-term relief and long-term rebuilding support to the Greater New Orleans communities affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. In 2012, CGR revised its mission to reflect a transition from recovery to revitalization and sustainability. Since its inception, CGR has engaged nearly 50,000 local, regional, corporate and civic volunteers in the implementation of the following programs and initiatives:

    Environmental Restoration Program: Established in 2006, the Environmental Restoration Program provides youth and adults with opportunities to learn about and restore the region’s wetlands as well as address urban watershed issues. In addition to the restoration projects on public and private lands, the ERP includes: (1) the maintenance of the Native Plant Nursery 2.0 and Cabane Coypu Learning Facility, which is built with funding and support from the Coypu Foundation; (2) educational field trips to local elementary, middle and high schools and partners with local university and college environmental programs; and (3) program to re-introduce Bald Cypress in the Cypress Triangle in the Lower 9th Ward. CGR has recently established a nursery, at Angola Penitentiary, at which inmates grow Spartina Alterniflora and Bulrush grasses. Inmates who work at the nursery and participate in a 1,500 hour horticulture class, taught through Baton Rouge Community College, can obtain a Louisiana horticulture license upon completion and passing of the course exam. Common Ground Relief has also become the state representative for Flying Wild, an approach to environmental education using birds as the focus.

    For the past decade, over 20,000 local and visiting volunteers have participated CGR’s Environmental Restoration Program that is designed to armor the shorelines in the Gulf Coast as well as educate and grow a new generation of environmental stewards. In the past year, CGR has hosted over 500 volunteers as well as coordinated groups from 28 different colleges and high schools from around the country. Working together, CGR staff and volunteers have planted thousands of native trees from Lake Pontchartrain to Grand Isle on the Gulf of Mexico and the Lower Ninth Ward;

    Construction and Fine Carpentry Job Training Program: Engaged in the historically sensitive, energy efficient and affordable renovation of a 120-year old home for the benefit of Calvin Duncan, who was wrongfully convicted of a crime and 30 years in Angola prison before being exonerated in 2011. This home will serve as a prototype for future renovations of New Orleans historical housing stock. CGR continues to partner with Robert Wolfe Construction to build housing for residents participating in the Road Home program and provide construction job training program for local residents; and

    CGR Legal Clinic, LLC (CGRLC): Partnered with the Louisiana Civil Justice Center in providing a myriad of free legal services to residents.

  • Year established:2005
  • Endowment:Unknown


  • Executive / Trustee board size:7
  • Advisory board size:0
  • Staff size:3


  • Organization type:Grantseeker
  • Country of registration:United States
  • Tax Determination Letter:Received Determination Letter
  • IRS Section:501(c)(3)
  • IRS Subsection:None
  • Tax ID:06-1816720

Other Organization Web

IRS Business Master File Information

  • EIN:061816720
  • Organization Name:COMMON GROUND RELIEF
  • Sort (Secondary) Name:
  • Care Of Name:% MARINA DRUMMER
  • Organization Address:1800 DESLONDE ST
  • Organization City:NEW ORLEANS
  • Organization State:LA
  • Organization Zip:70117-4032
  • Group Exemption Number:0000
  • Subsection Code:03
  • Classification Code(s):1, 2
  • Subsection/Classification Desc.:Charitable Organization, Educational Organization
  • Affiliation Code:3
  • Ruling Date:August, 2007
  • Deductibility Code:1
  • Foundation Code:15
  • Foundation Code Desc.:Organization which receives a substantial part of its support from a governmental unit or the general public 170(b)(1)(A)(vi)
  • Activity Code(s):
  • Activity Code Desc.(s):
  • Organization Code:1 (Corporation)
  • Exempt Org. Status Code:01 (Unconditional Exemption)
  • Tax Period:December, 2016
  • Filing Requirement Category:01 (990 (all other) or 990EZ return)
  • Accounting Period:December
  • NTEE Code:M20
  • Asset Amount:$411,479
  • Asset Code:4 ($100,000 - $499,999)
  • Income Amount:$99,004
  • Income Code:3 ($25,000 - $99,999)
  • 990 Revenue Amount:$99,004
  • Last Updated:2/22/2018 7:00:00 am

This information is directly from the IRS Exempt Organization Business Master File at Exempt Organizations Business Master File Extract. This information is not under the control of the Common Grant Application and is collected and compiled and can only be changed by the IRS.