Michael Williamson Bio

Michael Williamson 
President and Chief Executive Officer, United Way of Southeast Louisiana

July 1, 2013, Michael L. Williamson became President and CEO of United Way of Southeast Louisiana (UWSELA) serving Jefferson, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa and Washington parishes.

Williamson has had a pivotal role helping the 1.3 million people of the seven-parish region better their lives and communities since 2005. Before coming to UWSELA in April 2009 as Chief Operating Officer, he served as Vice President of Field Leadership at United Way of America (UWA) in Alexandria, VA.  Williamson provided overall management and leadership to the UWA Hurricane Response and Recovery Fund developed in Hurricane Katrina’s wake. At that time his desire to assist this area became ever stronger. When presented an opportunity for him and his family to come here and make a difference, Williamson answered ‘yes’ with enthusiasm.

Williamson hit the ground running, creating new opportunities and developing community partnerships with sports teams and individual players, new businesses and a growing volunteer base. As Chief Operating Officer at UWSELA, Williamson was responsible for all fund-raising campaign activities and related committees.  He oversaw campaign and marketing staff to assure United Way conducted an effective annual campaign.

Some of United Way’s biggest challenges and successes have come in the wake of Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Isaac, the BP Oil Spill, and most recently the August, 2016 Floods.  Before the rain stopped falling, Williamson had people on the ground and a page created on United Way’s website to begin collecting critical funding.  All together more than $1.1 million dollars was raised; over $1.4 million collected and distributed in much needed supplies; and volunteers took the opportunity to spend 1,700+ hours helping their neighbors.

Working with individuals, businesses, faith groups, nonprofits and government, Williamson has made United Way key in the recovery, rebuilding and renaissance of southeast Louisiana. 

Williamson is committed to a focus on community outcomes as the top strategy for increasing accountability and maintaining United Ways’ leadership in philanthropy. He has worked to strengthen United Way’s public private partnerships at the local, state and federal level to create ‘scale’ in community building efforts.  In 2016 he was asked to participate in the Early Childhood Policy Leadership Institute, the 2016 Federal Reserve Bank Community Leaders Forum, and the Southeast Super Regional Committee.

Under Williamson’s leadership, United Way has developed a Blueprint for Prosperity with a framework to eradicate poverty in southeast Louisiana.  United Way has a bold vision of equitable communities where all individuals are healthy, educated, and economically stable.

42%, or nearly half the families in southeast Louisiana, are living in poverty or on the threshold of poverty. They aren’t meeting basic needs including housing, child care, health care, food and transportation.

Williamson has ensured UWSELA is strategically investing in programs, initiatives, collaborations and advocacy efforts to meet the greatest needs. This year United Way is funding 78 programs in 54 agencies.  In addition, UWSELA is hard at work developing programs focused on issues like financial literacy, early grade reading, and preparing our youth for jobs.

Williamson has a B.S. in Marketing from the University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC.  He has served as President of United Way of Aiken County, Aiken, SC and Director, Resource Development/Executive Director ATC Foundation,   Aiken Technical College. Aiken, SC.

Williamson has 29 years of executive level nonprofit management experience, 24 of those years served in the United Way system.

He is married and has two sons. The family resides in Mandeville, Louisiana.