Open Accessibility Menu

BRG Names Arts Council, Front Yard Bikes 2019 Grant Winners

  • Category: In the Community
  • Posted On:
  • Written By: Baton Rouge General

BATON ROUGE, La. – Today, Baton Rouge General (BRG) announced the winners of its 2019 Community Enhancement Award: the Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge and Front Yard Bikes. Each organization will receive $25,000/year for three years.

BRG’s Community Enhancement Award (CEA) supports organizations that positively impact the Baton Rouge community by addressing social determinants of health. The grant program started in 2018 when BRG selected HOPE Ministries’ The Way to Work program. This year, the committee chose to split the grant between two recipients.

“I’m a big fan of the work Front Yard Bikes is doing to train young people for long-term careers, and I also love how the Arts Council is promoting heart health with trails throughout the city,” said Edgardo Tenreiro, President and CEO of BRG. “Ultimately, we couldn’t choose between the two and decided to support them both.”

Front Yard Bikes was selected for its youth development program in partnership with Cristo Rey Baton Rouge. “With workforce training, we can combat unemployment and incarceration rates, especially in a community with limited resources,” said Dustin LaFont, founder of Front Yard Bikes.

BRG’s investment will support high school equivalency testing and job training for hundreds of young people between 14 and 22. The grant will fund apprentice training for four Cristo Rey students who will then assist instructors in certifying other young people in mechanics or welding. Both fields are in high demand in the Baton Rouge region.

“Many young people in Baton Rouge encounter enormous challenges to finish high school and then after high school graduation, to gain employment,” said Tenreiro. “We are proud to support Front Yard Bikes where these young people have the opportunity to learn a skill, the value of work, and a sense of self-worth and ownership, giving them an incentive to earn their high school diploma and the skills to be meaningfully employed.”

The Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge was selected for its heART trails project, which will use existing infrastructure to develop heart-shaped walking trails throughout Baton Rouge. The trails use temporary art installations for way-finding and to celebrate local “Trailblazers.” BRG’s investment will allow for the design and installation of three heART trails at targeted locations around Baton Rouge.

“We are building the Baton Rouge we all want, a city that encourages a healthy lifestyle by being walkable and bikeable,” said Tenreiro. “The heART trails project takes what we have – infrastructure and talent – and tackles the challenge of making moderate aerobic activity accessible to everyone. The heART trails will safely connect people, neighborhoods, businesses, health and art to create a true community of caring.”

“Through these heart-healthy trails, which will have art that changes and grows over time, participants can discover and rediscover all that is wonderful about our city,” said Renee Chatelain, President and CEO of the Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge. “We are so excited to have the opportunity to be part of the Baton Rouge General’s vision to restore and maintain health, one person at a time.”

The Arts Council piloted the heART trail concept at the Ebb & Flow Festival in April. The trails will be created and designed by Taylor Jacobsen, who is currently working on his master’s degree in LSU’s Landscape Architecture program and is the co-founder of United Aerial, a Dallas-based company, and the owner of New Land Development.

The CEA program allows BRG to support large projects with significant, multi-year grants, focusing on initiatives that are transformative for the Baton Rouge community. Non-profit organizations seeking support are asked to address complex challenges like social determinants of health, quality of place and population health.

Informational sessions about the grant process will begin in January for the 2020 award, and applications will be accepted in the spring.

About Baton Rouge General Medical Center
Baton Rouge General Medical Center is the area’s first community hospital with 588 licensed beds between two campuses. Baton Rouge General opened its doors in 1900, and has provided the Greater Baton Rouge community with high-quality healthcare for generations. An accredited teaching hospital since 1991, Baton Rouge General serves as an affiliate of Tulane University School of Medicine, and offers other medical education programs, including a School of Nursing, School of Radiologic Technology, Family Medicine Residency Program, Internal Medicine Residency Program, and Sports Medicine Fellowship Program. For more information, visit, find us on Facebook at and follow us on Twitter at @BRGeneral.