Butch Roussel doesn’t take himself too seriously. But he’s doing serious work with 24 Hour Citizen Project.
The concept is simple: give good people a chance (and a little money) and they do amazing things.
“There are people that have ideas, but also don’t know how to get them done,” Butch says. “What we do is sort of connect people with ideas to kind of bring them to fruition.”
Folks come together to pitch ideas and compete for funding. It’s sort of like the entrepreneur competition show Shark Tank, Butch says, only the winners go on to make the world a better place. Plus, the vibe is much more casual and down to earth.
“It’s not, you know, where you wear a suit and tie and you go up on stage and you pitch,” he says. “It’s really a celebration of community. You’ve got an idea and you’re competing for funding, yes, but you also have a walkout song. You’re also encouraged to dress up, be creative. There’s a tunnel that you run down before you go on stage to pitch.”
Over the last decade, 24 Hour Citizen Project has funded two dozen projects for a combined $180,000 and climing. The program has seeded ideas that have become fixtures in Lafayette: Downtown’s Lafayette sign, Krewe de Canailles, the Musical Instrument Library, the Eyes of the Sun poetry mural installation and more.
What drives the program is Butch’s community spirit. His work as a clinical researcher takes him around the country, and it’s a trade he could take anywhere. It’s a privilege, he says, to choose Lafayette.
“Some people have the luxury — and I do too — to look at this place and the rest of the country and say, ‘I could live in the Austin, Texases, of the world. Or I could live in a place that needs me,’” he says. “And I choose the latter. I feel like we have a responsibility to this community and to our children to make this a good place.”
Celebrate Butch and the rest of this year’s honorees Dec. 1 at Moncus Park.
Brach, Carly, and Emile
Myers Family Fund