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JR Ball: Accelerate Louisiana can be a game changer

Before our eyes, a potentially massive game-changer of a development is slowly and semi-silently coming to life, which – if done right – will be of great importance not only to Louisiana but also to Baton Rouge, writes annual report Associate publisher JR Ball in his new opinion piece.

What is actually cause for hope and excitement is the creation of a $3 billion private foundation focused on this state’s anchor issues in the wake of Elevance Health’s anticipated acquisition of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana later this year year.

Because Blue Cross is a non-profit, member-owned organization, there is only a limited amount that can legally be done with the money Elevance pays to close the deal. One is giving money back to policyholders, and some of that will happen. Most of the proceeds, however, go towards establishing a charitable foundation.

The Accelerate Louisiana Initiative will not only be one of the largest private foundations of its kind in the country, but by far the largest in the state. To compare, if the Baton Rouge Area Foundation, with assets of approximately $745 million, and the LSU Foundation, with assets of $667 million, combined their financial powers, the combined company would be $1.4 billion still less than half the size of Accelerate Louisiana.

Not only will it eclipse BRAF and the LSU Foundation, but Accelerate Louisiana will essentially have an unlimited foundation — meaning those making the decisions can use dollars pretty much any way they like see fit, provided it aligns with the foundation’s strategic mission, Ball writes. In contrast, the majority of BRAF foundations — like those of LSU and most other university foundations — are dedicated to specific purposes outlined by the donating donors become.

Accelerate Louisiana’s formation coincides with the Louisiana Purchase in the early 1800’s, the discovery of oil in our soil in the early 1900’s and the hiring of Nick Saban by LSU in the early 2000’s.

It’s such a big deal.

Read Ball’s full opinion column from the latest issue of annual report. Send comments to [email protected]