Community Partner Spotlight: The Crescent River Port Pilots Foundation

Question & Answer Session with The Crescent River Port Pilots Foundation

The Crescent River Port Pilots Foundation (CRPPF), the philanthropic arm of the Crescent Pilots, strives to uphold the values and traditions that protect the state of Louisiana and its citizens. The Foundation engages in various community initiatives that protect the vulnerable, provide for the hungry, safeguard physical and emotional wellbeing, and deliver quick response to the community during times of crisis.

In December of 2018, the CRPPF presented Hope House with a $10,000 check to implement an innovative child abuse prevention program called Play it Safe! for children of all ages in St. Tammany and Washington parishes. Since the start of this partnership, Hope House has trained 1,381 children in the 22nd Judicial District in this valuable, evidence-based child abuse prevention curriculum. Because of the CRPPF, 1,381 kids (and growing) are safer and less likely to become victims of abuse.

We sat down with the CRPPF team to discuss what supporting Hope House means to their organization.

Q: What motivated you to get involved with Hope House?

A: “Hope House stood out to us because of the incredible impact they were making on the youth of the community. We have a commitment on and off the river to ‘protect the vulnerable,’ and we wanted to make a difference in the lives of those who were in abusive situations at home and in the trafficking world. Educating youth to be able to recognize abuse at an early age is critical. Hope House makes this a reality.”
– Captain Strother Sacra, Pilot and CRPPF Board Member

A: “When I visited Hope House for the first time, it was totally apparent that the mission of the Hope House was not only very needed, but so very beneficial to the children of the Northshore. I was informed that the State of Louisiana mandates Hope House’s services for child abuse cases. That mandate was not met with a budget, however, leaving Hope House responsible for funding their services through other resources. When I became aware of this and what the mission statement was for Hope House, the Crescent Pilots became sincerely invested with Hope House and what they do. And then to realize that our contributions were immediately invested to educate students in St. Tammany and Washington Parish on sexual abuse made the pilots very proud to partner with this great cause. The CRPPF believes in this outreach and will continue to support this initiative going forward.”
– Captain E. Michael Bopp, CRPPF Board President

Q: How does it feel to know that you’ve empowered so many children through your giving?

A: “When Thomas Mitchell sent the numbers telling us how many students completed the Play It Safe! curriculum in just one year, we were blown away when we realized that the culture change we had hoped to make was actually happening – and would continue to happen! The thorough feedback we received really affirmed our decision to further partner with Hope House. There is a massive need when it comes to protecting children, and it is hard to find the right place to make an impact as we seek to fulfill our mission of ‘protecting the vulnerable.’ Hope House provided us with the results we hoped to find, and engaging with them helped us make a difference in our own backyard.”
– Captain Strother Sacra, Pilot and CRPPF Board Member

A: “Our board sat down as a group and read the notes written by the children explaining what they learned and how they felt about the information presented in Play It Safe! It was emotional as we read their comments and their notes of appreciation. This helped us recognize the individual impact each child experienced. We could tell their eyes were opened as they began to realize they had options to protect themselves.”
– Susan S. Bopp, CRPPF Board Member

Q: What is special about the CRPPF’s partnership with Hope House?

A: “The Crescent Pilots are comprised of 121 men and women that work 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to protect the citizens and everything that is important to the State of Louisiana. Our mission on the river is complex and not without extreme danger, making SAFETY integral to every decision we make. Being able to lead and make critical decisions – as Hope House does when it comes to the needs of children –  made a significant impact on me. When I learned that on the very day Thomas Mitchell received our donation he turned around and made the purchase of the Play It Safe! curriculum, I knew this was donation was worth its weight. I realize the program will be used for years to come, but I’m very pleased that in the first 12 months of our donation, over a thousand children were taught how to recognize and respond to abuse.”
– Captain E. Michael Bopp, CRPPF Board President

Q: What is one of your favorite memories or experiences from working with Hope House?

A: “We decided to surprise Thomas and the Hope House staff and deliver the donation check on a day they only expected to give our board members a tour. I remember this day so well. It was touching to arrive at a ‘cottage’ that was welcoming in appearance as we drove up, and even sweeter as we entered the front door to be greeted with more cuddly teddy bears than we could possibly count. As I imagine the children do when they visit Hope House, we all relaxed just a little – as we know the subject at hand is anything but sweet. Our tour provided a sense of calmness, safety and security. No detail of the experience of the child has been overlooked. The big glass bowl of buttons has served as one of my favorite ways to communicate the tenderness and care extended to children as they face the uncomfortableness of telling their stories. It was reassuring to learn that Hope House works hand-in-hand with local authorities in their efforts to offer hope to child victims of abuse. Yet it was perplexing to learn that while all abuse cases are mandated by the State to be evaluated by Hope House staff, that no state funds were allocated for this purpose. As a board member, I am grateful to the pilots that they are willing to support children that need protection. My gratitude to the staff of Hope House is expansive, and I am humbled by the dedication and sacrifice they make to serve those who have suffered at the hands of another person.”
– Susan S. Bopp, CRPPF Board Member

To learn more about the CRPPF, visit