Our Story

Employees 1st is a program of the Baton Rouge Area Foundation, which has among the deepest experiences in providing disaster and hardship grants in the country. 

The Foundation ranks among the largest of more than 800 U.S. community foundations, and we manage nearly $700 million in charitable assets.

Our first disaster grants were made after Hurricane Katrina. Companies asked us to help their workers who were scattered by the storm. We made grants to employees of McIlhenny Co, the maker of Tabasco sauce; Oreck Vacuums; and Emeril Restaurants.

Soon after that, the Foundation established Employees 1st, and built a scalable system to accept thousands of donations per hour and to efficiently deliver emergency assistance grants to people wherever they live.


We’ve made our online grant application system as simple as we can, while also complying with IRS rules. Just in case an employee needs someone to talk with, our staff is ready to answer their questions and help them complete applications.

Coupled with our own accounting system, we can launch custom assistance programs within days. 

Because hardships are personal, our service is too.

Hurricane Katrina, 2005

Hurricane Katrina, 2005