“Our goal is to help rebuild houses — I don’t want people to leave,” he said, adding that he is concerned about the city returning to the economically depressed days of the 1970s and ’80s.
O’Grady said that he expects to receive official non-profit status within a few months, at which point he will launch an application grant process for homeowners. He expects to start awarding grants this summer, and the foundation has established a board of directors that includes local business owners and organizations to help facilitate the process.
“As that goes on, the more money that becomes available, the more I’ll give to people — the more I get, I’ll increase the amount that goes out to each person,” he said. “I want people to see where the money is going — if you give a contractor money for something specific, there’s transparency there and we can keep track of it. There are people out there that are cynical and they need to be. But I’m not making a dime off the Mohawk Avenue Saint Foundation — I just wanted to do it because I love this town. And I’ve been here from the beginning and I’m not leaving.”
O’Grady, who also serves as a representative for Oceansafe — a New York-based company that manufactures hurricane-resistant and environmentally friendly building materials, and became prominent for its work in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina — said that in the future, he hopes to take his nascent non-profit national.