Campus News, Newsletter

Dillard University Awarded $20,000 Keller Family Foundation Grant for Sustainability Project

In a significant move towards sustainability and innovation, Dillard University has secured a $20,000 grant from the Keller Family Foundation. This grant funds the installation of refillable water stations, aligning with the university’s commitment to sustainability and innovation.

Timeline for Installation

The installation of these water bottle filling stations is eagerly anticipated in early spring, bringing numerous benefits to students and staff. These stations will not only provide a convenient way to refill their water bottles but also contribute significantly to reducing plastic waste on campus. By encouraging the use of reusable bottles, Dillard University aims to minimize the environmental impact of single-use plastic bottles and promote sustainability. Additionally, this initiative aligns with the university’s commitment to creating a healthier environment for its community members.

Grant Details and Purpose

The $20,000 grant supports the installation of the stations in high-traffic campus areas. Ms. Kem Opperman-Torres, Director of Sustainability, and Ms. Anne McKinley, Grant Officer, played key roles in securing this funding.

Ms. Opperman-Torres emphasizes, “In both the short and long term, this grant significantly reduces the use of plastic water bottles on campus, aligning with our goal of promoting sustainability and a healthier environment. In the short term, students witness changes at their University, fostering awareness of our sustainability efforts and initiating discussions about becoming more environmentally conscious.”

Ms. Anne McKinley highlights the importance of this grant in addressing student health, stating, “The recent record-breaking heat levels emphasized the importance of hydration for our students. Dehydrated students struggle academically and face physical and mental health risks. Many students resort to sugary, caffeinated drinks due to convenience, risking dehydration. With 13 refillable water stations, this grant enhances student well-being, helping them endure higher temperatures, improve academic performance, and maintain better health.”

Charlie W. Coleman, III, Assistant Vice President for Development & Alumni Relations at Dillard University, emphasizes, “Being a recipient of the Keller Family Foundation Grant positions Dillard University as an innovative leader. Our fundraising efforts prioritize traditional needs while nurturing creativity among our students, faculty, and staff.”

Historical Partnership with Keller Family Foundation

This grant builds upon the ongoing partnership between Dillard University and the Keller Family Foundation, known for its support of educational and community projects in New Orleans. Previous collaborations include projects like the Avenue of the Oaks.

Additional Grant for Beautification

In addition to the Keller Family Foundation Grant, Dillard University has secured funding from Keep Louisiana Beautiful. This grant will be used to restore the flower beds surrounding the Avenue of the Oaks.These flower beds are near the Dillard sign and Kearny Hall.

 further enhancing the campus environment and promoting sustainability.

As we anticipate the installation of the refillable water bottle stations in early spring, Dillard University’s commitment to sustainability remains unwavering. The university continues to actively seek additional grants and initiatives that align with its sustainability goals, further reinforcing its dedication to creating a more environmentally responsible campus community.

About the Keller Family Foundation 

The Keller Family Foundation, established in 1949 as the Lincoln Foundation by Charles Keller, Jr., and Rosa Freeman Keller, concentrates on supporting initiatives in education, youth development, human services, and public affairs. Its operations primarily target the New Orleans area and its neighboring communities, aiming to foster positive community development.

About Dillard University

Dillard University is a historically Black institution that cultivates leaders who live ethically, think and communicate precisely, and act courageously to make the world a better place. Located in New Orleans, Dillard is a private faith-based liberal arts university that offers 22 majors and two certificate programs. Ranked 5th on 2021 The New York Times Overall Mobility Index and 14th in 2022 by Academic Influence for Best Colleges and Universities by Academic Stewardship, Dillard’s call to future leaders is to Write Your Legacy. Find out more about Louisiana’s oldest HBCU by visiting