NGO Funding Request

The recipient entity's full legal name:  The Cooley House Foundation, Inc.

The recipient entity's physical address:
           c/o Masur Museum
1400 South Grand Street
Monroe, LA 71202

The recipient entity's mailing address (if different):
           P.O. Box 2183
Monroe, LA 71207-2183

Type of Entity (for instance, a nonprofit corporation):  Non-Profit Corporation

If the entity is a corporation, list the names of the incorporators:
          Lauren A. Beach
Sue M. Prudhomme

The last four digits of the entity's taxpayer ID number:  3816

What is the dollar amount of the request?  $500,000

What type of request is this?  General Appropriation

Is this entity in good standing with the Secretary of State?  Yes

Provide the name of each member of the recipient entity's governing board and officers:
           President - Brian M. Davis - 315 Charlie McCain Road - West Monroe, LA 71292
Vice-President - Gregory Hudgins - 1204 Saint John Drive - Monroe, LA 71202
Secretary - Johnette Mintz - 211 Lake Village Drive - West Monroe, LA 71291
Treasurer - Lyle Miller - 1888 Hudson Circle, Ste. 2 - Monroe, LA 71201
(no staff members)

Provide a summary of the project or program:
           The goals of this project are to restore a nationally significant and rare example of Prairie style architecture in the South and facilitate its regular use after a prolonged period of vacancy. The property is owned by the City of Monroe with assistance through a CEA with The Cooley House Foundation. Improvements to the building systems (electrical, plumbing, Information Technology, mechanical, life safety, etc.) as well as to the more visible elements are needed to improve the safety of the public and ensure the longevity of the building.

The G.B. Cooley House contributes to the National Register of Historic Places at a level of national significance, due to its association with architect Walter Burley Griffin. This increase in significance was noted in 2010, following the initial listing to the National Register in 1986. We would argue that this should once again be updated, to recognize the contributions of Marion Mahony Griffin in the complete design of the house and her significance as one of the first licensed female architects in the country. The Cooley House is the product of the training and experience of two proteges of Frank Lloyd Wright in the time period where they were establishing their own firm and signature style. It is also the only hybrid example of their work which combines elements of their styles from the United States and Australia. In 1913, the couple won an international competition to design Canberra, the new capital city of Australia, and relocated their practice. The Cooley House was the couple's last design to be constructed in the United States.

Updates to the electrical and HVAC systems have been minor and no modifications to the plumbing system has been made since construction in 1926. Damage from previous roof leaks are still evident, in spite of the roof being replaced in 2008. Vacancy is a detriment to the site, since small maintenance items such as a leaking toilet or overflowing HVAC drain can go unnoticed for extended periods of time and compound into larger problems.

On November 1, 2022, the City of Monroe publicly announced that the restoration of the Cooley House received a 2022 Save America's Treasures Grant from the National Park Service for $483,500. This requires a 50/50 match, which the Cooley House Foundation is working to raise.

Preservation architect, Gunny Harboe, has restored similar landmark structures designed by the Griffins and Frank Lloyd Wright. His firm estimates that the full restoration of the Cooley House will cost $1.3 Million. The sustainability plan for the property includes operating it as a short-term rental for at least five years after completion. This will help with general and future maintenance, utilities and insurance. This will also allow the building to be experienced and appreciated by those who stay in the Cooley House and for occasional special public tours.

What is the budget relative to the project for which funding is requested?:
          Salaries. . . . . . . . . . . . . $0
          Professional Services. . . $0
          Contracts . . . . . . . . . . . $0
          Acquisitions . . . . . . . . . $0
          Major Repairs . . . . . . . $500,000
          Operating Services. . . . $0
          Other Charges. . . . . . . $0

Does your organization have any outstanding audit issues or findings?  No

If 'Yes' is your organization working with the appropriate governmental agencies to resolve those issues or findings?

What is the entity's public purpose, sought to be achieved through the use of state monies?
          The mission of The Cooley House Foundation is to provide educational outreach regarding preservation, architecture and regional steamboat history to the citizens of Northeast Louisiana. The Foundation works to raise public awareness of the architectural and historical significance of the Cooley House and to restore, maintain, and preserve the home for the public.

The use of state monies will be used in conjunction with funds from the National Park Service Save America's Treasures Grant, private and corporate donations to fully restore the Cooley House so it may be used once again.

For the past fifteen years, The Cooley House Foundation has collected membership dues, held special ticketed tours and given free fall lectures to educate the public on the architecture of the Cooley House and North Louisiana. Although meaningful, this income and occasional donations were not enough to begin a full restoration of the house. Several early grants were able to replace the original glazed tile roof and provide minimal electrical service to 25% of the house.

In 2005, the Cooley House was added to the Louisiana's Most Endangered Places List, a program of the Louisiana Trust for Historic Preservation (LTHP). In 2019, LTHP received a $20,000 grant from the National Trust for Historic Preservation, to conduct a historic paint study, develop a new electrical plan and replace the original cork flooring from 1926.

State monies, when combined with grants and donations, will allow the Cooley House to be fully restored and operated as a short-term rental. This returns the house to a residential use and creates low-impact and few modifications to the existing landmark. Guests of the City of Monroe, St. Francis Hospital, consulting teams, architectural enthusiasts, historians and the general public will have the opportunity to stay and meet at the Cooley House. The Cooley House Foundation will provide management for the site and continue our work to educate the public through special tours and lectures.

What are the goals and objectives for achieving such purpose?
          Of the estimated $1.3 Million for the restoration project:
$483,500 (Grant received) from the Save America's Treasures Program (National Park Service)
$500,000 Appropriations from the State of Louisiana (requested)
$260,000 LA State Historic Tax Credits for Commercial Properties (to be applied for and syndicated)
$50,000 (Grant received) from Entergy Corporation
$6,500 Proceeds from The Cooley House Foundation
TOTAL: $1.3 Million

Additional funds raised (existing and future) by the Cooley House Foundation will be used for fixtures and furnishings required for operation as a short-term rental (appliances, linens, furniture, etc.).

By restoring the Cooley House so it may be operated as a short-term rental, the site will be accessible for appreciation and educational study. This will also make the site self-sustaining into the future and garner the attention and visitation by architectural scholars, both nationally and internationally. Local public school and college students may understand the importance of the Cooley House and its connection with three internationally notable architects of the 20th century and their designs.

We anticipate that due to the importance of the Cooley House and the rare opportunity to experience a Prairie style house in this region, the Cooley House will have a high rate of rental to sustain itself, once completed.

What is the proposed length of time estimated by the entity to accomplish the purpose?
           We anticipate design to construction completion to take between two to three years.

If any elected or appointed state official or an immediate family member of such an official is an officer, director, trustee, or employee of the recipient entity who receives compensation or holds any ownership interest therein:
     (a) If an elected or appointed state official, the name and address of the official and the office held by such person:
     (b) If an immediate family member of an elected or appointed state official, the name and address of such person; the name, address, and office of the official to whom the person is related; and the nature of the relationship:

     (c) The percentage of the official's or immediate family member's ownership interest in the recipient entity, if any:

     (d) The position, if any, held by the official or immediate family member in the recipient entity:

If the recipient entity has a contract with any elected or appointed state official or an immediate family member of such an official or with the state or any political subdivision of the state:
(a) If the contract is with an elected or appointed state official, provide the name and address of the official and the office held by such person: 

(b) If the contract is with an immediate family member of an elected or appointed state official:
          Provide the name and address of such person:

          Provide the name, address, and office of the official to whom the person is related:

          What is the nature of the relationship? 

(c) If the contract is with the state or a political subdivision of the state, provide the name and address of the state entity or political subdivision of the state:

(d) The nature of the contract, including a description of the goods or services provided or to be provided pursuant to the contract:

Contact Information
name:  Brian Madison Davis 
                                       address:  315 Charlie McCain Road
West Monroe, LA 71292

                                       phone:  14097711973
                                       relationship to entity:  Cooley House Foundation board president