NEW ORLEANS (January 17, 2013) - Chase announced today a $350,000 grant to The Team Gleason House for Innovative Living, funding the development of technologies that will help ALS and MS patients continue living more productive and purposeful lives.
The Team Gleason House will be located at St. Margaret's Skilled Nursing Residence and will be the second U.S. facility of its kind. The collaboration between Chase and Team Gleason also supports New Orleans' effort to develop a thriving BioDistrict and support innovation as a means to strengthen the local economy.
"The Team Gleason House was only a dream less than a year ago. Through our efforts and the extraordinary efforts of Chase and St. Margaret's, we have realized that dream so ALS patients can continue to live, thrive and contribute to the community," said Steve Gleason, founder of Team Gleason. "Until there is a medical cure for ALS, technology is the cure and we are proving that today."
A folk hero on and off the field, the former Saints player has become a symbol of the city's determination and perseverance. His celebrated punt-block on the night the Superdome reopened in 2006 renewed hope that New Orleans was ready for a big comeback.
"That was the day when the people of New Orleans began to believe that we can win again," New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu said. "What Steve did is prove that no matter how bad things got, if we work hard and come together, we can turn it around. What's in his heart represents the best that the city of New Orleans has to offer."
Gleason retired from football in 2008 and was diagnosed with ALS in 2010. He has made it his mission to show ALS patients can not only live but thrive after this diagnosis. In doing so, he hopes to inspire others to do the same.
The Team Gleason House for Innovative Living will be a residential facility within St. Margaret's that provides care for people living with incurable neuromuscular disorders, such as ALS and MS. Since these diseases are incurable, The Team Gleason House's approach will focus on employing technology that allows patients to control doors, lights, televisions, shades, and other devices through eye-sensitive technologies.
The Team Gleason House for Innovative Living will be located within one mile of the city's new BioDistrict, which is expected to provide employment for 5,500 people in its first five years. Over 10 years, 13,400 direct and indirect jobs are expected to be created.
"The Team Gleason House will be equipped with cutting-edge technology, making it part of the city's progress in developing a more entrepreneurial, innovative economy," said Todd Maclin, Chairman of Chase Consumer and Commercial Banking. "Investing in biosciences and digital technology will create more economic diversity and greater opportunity in New Orleans."
Since Hurricane Katrina, Chase has donated more than $30 million to non-profits working in Louisiana. In New Orleans, Chase is working with non-profits, residents, and other funders to support the city's transformation, focusing on two high-need neighborhoods: Central City and Treme. Highlights include support for revitalizing the historic OC Haley Boulevard; grants for the Chase Business Incubator, which provides essential services to low-income, minority and women-owned small businesses; and the CP3 Afterschool Zone, an enriching afterschool program for children in Central City. Chase also supports the Idea Village, a nationally-recognized leader working to catalyze an entrepreneurial ecosystem in New Orleans.
In addition to the firm's philanthropy, Chase has provided special financing for $294 million worth of affordable and mixed income housing - more than 4,200 units - in Louisiana since 2005. Projects include the redevelopment of the Lafitte Public Housing in Treme, financing for the King Rampart Street apartments in Central City, and financing for the historic rehabilitation of 1501 Canal Street into housing for seniors.
Chase employees and their families will be volunteering today to help create a garden at The Team Gleason House for Innovative Living. The garden honors Chase's former Baton Rouge Market President Kevin Kelty, who lives with ALS. The garden will provide a peaceful atmosphere for residents and their families. Several scientific studies have concluded that a garden can reduce patients' levels of pain and stress.
"Steve Gleason inspired our city when he blocked that punt," said Lizette Terral, President of Chase in New Orleans. "But even more inspiring is his work to prove ALS patients can still lead productive lives. Chase is very proud to partner with Steve and Team Gleason."
About Team Gleason
The Gleason Initiative Foundation is a charitable 501c3 non-profit corporation with the mission to help provide individuals with neuromuscular diseases or injuries with leading edge technology, equipment and services. It also works to raise public awareness toward amyotrophic lateral sclerosis "ALS" by providing and documenting extraordinary life adventures for individuals with muscular diseases or injuries.
Chase has 4,600 employees and 155 branches in Louisiana and is the state's #1 Small Business Administration lender. The bank serves 1.6 million consumers across the state. Chase has extended more than $9 billion in credit to businesses, individuals and governments in Louisiana. Chase also has provided financing for a number of notable Community Development projects in New Orleans, including The Blue Plate Lofts and the Saenger Theater.