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    Tuesday
    Jan192010

    The Story of Our Name.

    What’s in a Name?

         Coming up with a name for our organization was no easy task.  It didn’t come to us in an instant.  Nor was there a eureka-moment in which we collectively proclaimed, “That’s it!”  Still, we believe we have found the perfect name that works on a number of levels and captures the essence of who we are.

         For starters, we wished to be incorporated in the state of New York, and we had to make sure “our” name wasn’t already taken.  Unfortunately, many of our initial ideas were.  In addition, we wanted a name with a corresponding URL; hence, our name plus the suffixes .com, .net, and .org all needed to be available.  Once again, that seriously cut into our potential name pool.

         But we were undeterred.

         We all felt strongly that our name should have a connection to New Orleans.  The Crescent City and our post-Hurricane Katrina efforts there were what brought us together as individuals, and over the course of our numerous trips there, we’d each developed a strong affinity and attachment to the city.
    The acronym NOLA (New Orleans, Louisiana) provides us with the mechanism and means to establish the desired nexus.  It’s easy to pronounce, simple and elegant, and familiar to everyone with knowledge of New Orleans.  And for those who don’t know of “NOLA,” it creates a teaching moment, and education is a key part of our organization’s vision.

          With the New Orleans portion of our name in place, we set out in search of the other word or words that would fill out are name.  What word or words should come before or after NOLA?  We tried far too many variations and directions to list, but over time, we kept on returning to one word:

         Tree.

         On one level, a tree is a living organism, and the idea of having something alive in our name resonated with all of us.  The tree as a metaphor also carried a great deal of weight.  A tree comes from a seed and then grows; our volunteers are the seeds that will grow, learn and prosper.  A tree has roots; our volunteers will be participating in ground-up initiatives, establishing deep-rooted ties to community development programs.  A tree has branches that reach out and grow in all directions; our volunteer efforts will branch out all over New Orleans and then across the nation and globe.

         Thus, we found our name, The NOLA Tree.
    

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