How We Work
United Way’s mission is: “To increase the organized capacity of people to be independent and self-sufficient." Working within the seven-parish area of Jefferson, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa and Washington, UWSELA funds programs, supports collaborations, convenes experts and fosters new and needed community services based on best practices. We work to ensure quality health and human services for the citizens of southeast Louisiana and assess the success of programs based on the achievement of pre-defined outcomes.
Since Hurricane Katrina, UWSELA has made grants totaling just over $66 million to area health and human services agencies. UWSELA-funded programs in calendar year 2010 that addressed priorities such as housing, medical and mental health care, child and adult care and academic supports served 481,422 unduplicated clients by program. Through grants, donor designations via workplace campaigns and partnerships with other funders, UWSELA invests around $18 million per year in the region.
In the early 1990’s, UWSELA was one of the first local United Ways to transition from giving to community agencies to investing in solutions to community problems. The Community Impact model has as its goal: to improve lives by mobilizing communities to create sustained changes in community conditions. This approach goes beyond the agencies to the citizens they serve. UWSLEA’s central role in this process is to provide leadership in identifying the root causes of community issues and to work with local leaders to strengthen the community’s ability to address them, including the investment of United Way campaign resources.
Our United Way is addressing the region’s most critical needs with a goal of maximum impact. Our work is organized around three impact (program) areas:
- Education: Success for Children & Families… programs and community partners working collectively to help children and youth develop to their fullest potential, support healthy, nurturing family relationships, and improve access to quality, affordable child care;
- Health: Health & Independence for All… programs and community partners working to assure that community residents have access to timely and effective physical and behavioral care, and that seniors and those with disabilities have the best possible quality of life;
- Safety Net: Financial Stability for Hardworking People & Those in Crisis… programs and community partners working together to assist people in times of need or emergency, empower people to increase household income, build savings to weather crises, and help families gain, sustain, and protect their assets, such as a home.
Impact areas are led by two volunteer co-chairs having a big picture understanding of community change and benefit with the membership consisting of volunteer professionals with topical expertise relative to that impact area.