United Way of Southeast Louisiana (UWSELA) asks the community to GIVE, ADVOCATE, VOLUNTEER. Today 30 awards were handed out to recognize individuals, businesses and organizations for their achievements during the latest United Way campaign.

Live United Awards: Recognizes three companies: small, less than 50 employees; medium, 51 to 499 employees; large, over 500 employees.  These companies are exemplary in their service to United Way and our community.

One very special individual also receives the Live United Award for his or her extraordinary service to United Way.     These companies and this individual give, advocate and volunteer.  They epitomize what it means to “Live United.”

The Live United Small Company Award goes to Centerpoint Energy.  Centerpoint has 100% participation in its United Way employee campaign.  The company has been a Pacesetter for the last five years, running the first workplace campaign in Washington Parish in August of each year. 

The Live United Medium Company Award goes to Postlethwaite & Netterville. The firm has greatly stepped up its participation in the last few years, sponsoring presentations throughout their own office locations and its leader, Phil Gunn, a member of our 2015-2016 Campaign Cabinet, has helped secure meetings with other business leaders in the community to tee up future campaigns. Postlethwait & Netterville has also promoted United Way to associations, chambers and other businesses resulting in new workplace campaigns. 

The Live United Large Company Award goes to Enterprise Holdings. Enterprise has a long history of partnership with United Way. Its leader, Alexis Hocevar, has served a Campaign Cabinet Chair, Board of Trustees Chair and currently Chair of United Way's Tocqueville Cabinet. The company generously provides a company match for all of its employees’ contributions and several of Enterprise's employees are members of the Alexis de Toqueville Society. Bea Forlano of Enterprise serves a Chair of United Way's newly-formed Young Leaders Movement.  Enterprise supports its employees’ participation in United Way volunteer projects throughout the State of Louisiana and its Leadership is also very involved in supporting our Public Policy agenda. 

This year's Live United Individual Award goes to three deserving recipients, Lori Barthelemy, Jessica Vermilyea and Toya Barnes-Teamer, who form one strong team. Three years ago United Way began its transformation journey. They hosted and participated in Community Conversations, engaged stakeholders in helping to identify our big issue, reviewed data,  recruited volunteers and thought partners, met with organizations and Chaired the Big Issues Committee and the Thought Partner Convening’s that led us to United Way’s new Blueprint for Prosperity.  They have focused the Community Impact Committee and Board of Trustees on the new Blueprint and they continue to give their time to keep us focused on the Big Issue of Poverty.

While each of these women is unique, they each embody the qualities needed to get the job done. They have caring hearts for the community; a let’s get it done  "all in" attitude; a willingness to share their knowledge and listen to others; and, they also know how to have fun.  These women are very involved in their communities and serve in many capacities including United Way’s Community Impact Committee, Board of Trustees, Governance Committee, the Women's Leadership Council, and the Public Policy Committee.  The trio firmly believes that United Way can make a difference in our community and they are determined to see that we do just that.


Outstanding Board Member Award: Recognizes the Board of Trustees member who exemplifies core United Way values in action.  It is determined by a vote of board members.

The award goes to Kim Sport. She has served on the Board since 2006 as Campaign Chair, Board Chair and Founder of the Women’s Leadership Council.  Kim also chaired United Way's first Tocqueville Gala, honoring outstanding members of the Alexis de Tocqueville society who have made an impact on our community. Sport has served in many other capacities on the Board, but today, she is a tireless advocate for the Public Policy agenda created by the Public Policy Committee, which she chairs. Her passion and legal expertise have allowed United Way to advance a legisative agenda serving Louisiana children and famlies in an unprecidented capacity.  Sport has the deep appreciation of her fellow board members for her efforts,  and her decades of committed leadership and support of our seven-parish area are a model for all current and future board members. 


Hidden Hero Award: Recognizes a non-leadership United Way volunteer who goes above and beyond in service to United Way.

The award goes to Keith Liederman, CEO of Kingsley House, one of United Way's long-standing parter agencies.  Keith served on the 2015-2016 UWSELA Campaign Cabinet and was instrumental in opening doors to several new companies, as well as reaching out to his own board members to encourage them to run United Way campaigns within their organizations. He secured more new accounts than all other Campaign Cabinet members combined!   In addition to helping with the campaign, Keith attended all United Way Thought Partners meetings, actively engaged in developing United Way's new Blueprint for Prosperity. Keith is a tireless advocate in support of United Way's legslative agenda and is always in attendance at United Way's events throughout the year. He is  community hero when it comes to serving the best interests of Louisana's children ad families!



Community Impact Funding Partner Award:  Recognizes the foundation or government entity that most aligns its funding to achieve United Way’s goal of eradicating poverty.

The award goes to Entergy Foundation.  Entergy Foundation has a long history of focusing their investments on the Big Issue of Poverty.  Entergy has been a longtime supporter of UWSELA's Financial Stability work, providing well over $200,000 per year to support our IDA Individual Development Account Project and VITA, Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program.  This support is in conjunction with Entergy’s substantial investment in our Financial Literacy Initiative.  Entergy also has been a major partner with United Way in our public policy / advocacy agenda


Community Impact Service Partner Award: Recognizes the nonprofit service provider in the 7-parish area that is most aligned with United Way’s goal of eradicating poverty.

The award goes to The Asset Building Coalition. The primary focus of the Coalition is the VITA, Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program, which, as we mentioned earlier, provides low-to- moderate income workers with free tax preparation services to keep all of their tax refunds in their pockets and in our community.  United Way salutes the Coalition and we are proud to be a part of it.


Public Policy Award:  Recognizes an individual and an organization that creates substantial legislative or regulatory change in support of the Big Issue of poverty.

The Organization Award goes to the Louisiana Center for Children’s Rights.  Executive Director Josh Perry formed the statewide Louisiana Youth Justice Coalition, which championed a four-bill legislative package.  The package raises the age of juvenile jurisdiction; imposed a default 9-month cap on sentences for nonviolent offenses in the juvenile justice system; built an entirely new system for education accountability in Louisiana’s juvenile justice schools; and created a mechanism for ensuring effective assistance of counsel for imprisoned children. 

At the outset, Coalition members were not confident of any one bill passing and seasoned lobbyists cautioned that success on the most ambitious proposals would likely mean a 3 to 5 year campaign.  In the end, all four of the Coalition’s bills were approved by wide margins.


The Individual Award goes to Norma Elizabeth Grace. Grace has been a member of the Public Policy Committee for three years; serves on United Way’s Board of Trustees and is the past chair of United Way’s Women’s Leadership Council.

Grace has provided compelling testimony before countless Louisiana state legislative committees over the past years.  She has advocated in support of increased funding to High Quality Early Child Care and Learning, Expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit, Equal Pay for Women, Increase in the Minimum Wage, Domestic Violence Prevention, and the Breast Cancer Treatment Alternative Insurance policy ACT 145. 

During her tenure as WLC chair, Grace championed increased program funding to partner agencies. 


Outstanding Communications Award: Recognizes a business in the 7-parish area for outstanding work in promoting United Way with superlative media and creative support.

The award goes to Entercom New Orleans. This broadcast leader is United Way’s long-standing media partner. For more than two decades it has aired our United Way Radio Show to help us tell our story and featured United Way staff and supporters on its top talk shows to speak about our community’s most important issues.  


New Company Campaign Excellence Award: Recognizes a company which runs its first United Way workforce campaign.

The award goes to Zachry Holdings,Valero Site. Zachry had more than 25% employee participation, has an average employee gift of more than $130, and also makes a corporate contribution.

Top Notch Award: Recognizes the company that has the highest employee campaign participation rate.    

The award goes to Tidewater.  With 100% participation Tidewater also has a very substantial average gift of $684 per employee.

Campaign Spirit Award: Recognizes the company that runs the most creative and innovative campaign.

The award goes to Phillips 66 Alliance Refinery.  Phillips 66 runs a gumbo and jambalaya cook off each year and also invites its contractors to  hold a silent auction raising money for the cause.

Best of the Best Employee Campaign Coordinator Award: Recognizes the Campaign Coordinator who runs the best company campaign. 

The award goes to Andre Bourgeois from Pan American Life Insurance Group.   Pan American employees participated in UWSELA’s Katrina @ 10 Day of Caring and the annual United Way Day of Caring for a total of over 300 volunteer hours.  The team of ECCs at Pan American planned and executed their first Annual United Way Day for their campaign kick-off this year.

Moving on Up Awards : Recognizes the company in each of the industry categories that has the highest percent increase over the prior year’s campaign in the percentage of employee participation. The award goes to:

Genuine Parts/NAPA

Entercom New Orleans

Energy & Natural Resources
Shell Oil Company: Tangipahoa

Postlethwaite & Netterville APAC

St. Tammany Parish Assessor’s Office

Hyatt Regency New Orleans


Mildred S. Harris Elementary School

Jones Walker

Maritime & Transportation
Associated Terminals of St. Bernard LLC

Northlake Behavioral Health

Hartwig Moss Insurance Agency Ltd

C&S Wholesale Groceries

Not for Profit
Jewish Family Service

Entergy Corporation