Grants & Initiatives

The Pennington Great Performers in Concert Series

The Irene W. and C.B. Pennington Foundation "Great Performers in Concert" Series has brought world-class musical talent to the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra for the past ten years. The Pennington Foundation understands the power of the arts to unite the community, and create a healthier, more vibrant environment for our city's children and adults.

Past performers have included: Yo-Yo Ma, Renee Fleming, Chris Botti, Itzhak Perlman, Natalie Cole, and Audra McDonald.


Pennington Biomedical Research Center

Expanding Our Minds, Expanding Our Reach.
The Foundation has a close relationship with the Pennington Biomedical Research Center and collaborates on much of the research the Center is doing. The Pennington Biomedical Research Center is nationally acclaimed for its work in obesity, nutrition, and chronic disease, as well as the interconnected nature of these afflictions. It also examines how chronic disease, mental health, and obesity can impact a community's resilience.

HIV / AIDS

The state of Louisiana has one of the highest national rates of new HIV cases each year. Part of this comes as a result of Louisiana's outdated response to HIV/AIDS. Poverty, education, nutrition, and mental health play important roles in new HIV cases as well as HIV and AIDS treatment. All of these problems impact and provide a detriment to a community's resilience and ability to recover following a disaster.

The Milan World Team Tennis Smash Hits Tournament enabled the Irene W. and C.B. Pennington Foundation to create it's HIV/AIDS Initiative, and the Foundation continues to leverage its investment in local organizations dealing with HIV/AIDS treatment, education, and research.

Our goal is to provide a summit in 2014 that will review how our stakeholders, service providers, and legislators respond to the HIV crisis in our community, as well as what current legislation is exacerbating or assisting us to solve this problem.

Girls' Empowerment Zone

The Irene W. and C.B. Pennington Foundation takes female empowerment and women's advocacy very seriously. The State of Louisiana recently passed the Equal Pay for Women Act, which bans state agencies from paying different wages to employees of different genders with the same job. However, women still face myriad challenges in society.

The Foundation acknowledges that these issues - from education to nutrition, body image, mental health, domestic violence, equal pay, and health care - are interconnected. As such, we created our Women's Empowerment Zone Initiative, bringing together organizations promoting strong, healthy girls and providing a safe space for women of all walks of life.

We are proud to partner with the Pennington Biomedical Research Foundation on this initiative, which allows us to address the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being of the women in our community.

Disaster Resilience

We believe that all grant makers are disaster grant makers. That is, every issue funded by grant makers is exacerbated by disasters, and the many problems in a given community also impact a community's resilience when a disaster strikes. Our Louisiana community is particularly vulnerable, facing numerous community and social challenges as well as the yearly impact of Atlantic Hurricane Season and recently the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

The Irene W. and C.B. Pennington Foundation is interested in examining how the compounding effect of disaster as well as issues in areas including mental health, education, women's issues, unemployment, and poverty affect a community's resilience.

The Pennington Disaster Resilience Fund initially grew out of trustee-driven tennis tournaments Duel Under the Oaks to benefit disaster relief and recovery. This Fund is now a year-round fund that is put towards research, recovery, and a continued movement of all grant makers as disaster grant makers. It also provides thought leadership in cross-sector coordination.


Hurricane Katrina (2005) Aftermath


Continuum of Care

We believe that every child has the right to an education that allows him or her to excel and to reach his or her full potential. It is also vital that parents know that, as their child grows and develops, proper educational assistance and tools will be in place from elementary school through graduation and beyond.

This is why the Irene W. and C.B. Pennington Foundation started the Continuum of Care Initiative. This seeks to ensure all children have access to the highest standard of education throughout their time as students, and that these resources prepare them for post-secondary school education or employment. This year, The Foundation is focusing on better understanding the needs of children in our community with disabilities, as well as opportunities to access proper schooling. The Foundation is working to convene organizations such as Hope Academy and the Baton Rouge Speech & Hearing Foundation that assist children with communication, learning, and social needs to ensure every child receives continuity of high-quality education and resources from early developmental years through graduation.