Centennial

United Way of Southeast Louisiana is celebrating 100 years of driving positive change, all thanks to the support of our donors, volunteers, advocates, and partners. 

 

Over the last 100 years, United Way has been the force for good in our community. We've been at the forefront of improving outcomes in education, income, and health for every person, everywhere. Our communities’ dedication to United Way is why more families have stable homes, children receive quality education, and people can afford a quality life. Our enduring legacy is a testament to the incredible impact your support has had on millions of lives. 

Giving back has always been at the heart and soul of United Way's impact. As we celebrate our centennial, we’re rolling up our sleeves and mobilizing the power of people, offering ways for you to create a community strong enough for the next 100 years. Your time, skills, and dedication have been instrumental in our journey to creating a brighter Southeast Louisiana. Join us in 2024 in making our centennial unforgettable by giving, advocating, and volunteering, because when we come together, we can achieve remarkable things.  

Join our centennial celebration and be part of Southeast Louisiana’s next century. Your support will continue to connect people to possibility, close gaps, and create opportunities for all.  

We want to thank you for your dedicated support. Your donations, your time, your passion - it all matters.

Where there's a need, there's always been a United Way. We've come a long way, and our journey continues thanks to you.  

 

Here's to the next century of creating positive, lasting change. 

 

Michael Williamson, President and CEO

 

Listen to our President's Centennial Message

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timeline

The United Way began in 1887 in Denver when a priest, a rabbi, and a minister recognized the need for cooperative action to address their city’s welfare problems, a result of the thousands of families who came to Colorado during the Gold Rush. They formed the Charity Organization Society of Denver, which sought to coordinate charitable services and seek financial support for ten agencies in a combined fundraising campaign. 

In 1908, the first community planning department was developed at Pittsburgh Associated Charities. In 1913, a budget program began in Cleveland to allocate campaign proceeds to participating charities. The first Community Chest began in Rochester, New York in 1919.

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1924

Community Chest began in New Orleans to meet the needs of a growing city. The first campaign raised over $902,000 for 64 local agencies. 

We proudly celebrate 100 years of partnership with these agencies:

Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans, Clover (formerly Kingsley House),
Jewish Family Services, Red Cross, Salvation Army, Traveler's Aid, and YMCA.

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1940s

New Orleans Community Chest became the United Community and War Chest, supporting 73 home- and war-related agencies.

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1952

New Orleans Community Chest evolved into the New Orleans United Fund and raised $2.5 million.

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1974

The New Orleans United Fund joined United Way of America.

As a member, the organization would benefit from national brand recognition, training, national campaign structure, and other resources while maintaining local autonomy.

This health and human service organization was now known as
United Way for the Greater New Orleans Area.

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1985

The New Orleans Chapter of the Tocqueville Society was formed by C. Allen Favrot.

Mr. Allen followed a long family tradition of philanthropy and service to our community - his father, Clifford F. Favrot, Sr., was the 1948 Community Chest's Board Chair.

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1992

Incubated Unity for the Homeless. 

Unity brought together for the first time New Orleans homeless service providers, government partners, business leaders and homeless people. UNITY was formed as a communitywide system to coordinate various programs and services to prevent, reduce, and end homelessness in Orleans Parish and neighboring Jefferson Parish.

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1994

Tangipahoa Area United Way merged with United Way for the Greater New Orleans Area to fund agency programs serving the residents in Jefferson, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Tammany, and Tangipahoa Parishes.

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1997

Incubated the Greater New Orleans Community Data Center (now The Data Center).

The Greater New Orleans Community Data Center created the most reliable, in-demand data in a user-centered website design, with limitations explained in simple, clear language. 

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2002

Women’s Leadership Council, founded by Kim Sport, adopts Success By 6, the first of UWSELA’s signature education programming.

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2005

Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast.

Despite suffering major damage from extreme flooding at its own corporate headquarters and being unable to return to the facility for over five months, with 90% of the homes of its employees severely damaged or destroyed, United Way used its fiscal reserves to keep all 60 of its community partners fully funded after the immediate aftermath of the hurricane.

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From October 2005 until December 2006, the United Way Plaquemines Parish Distribution Center supplied food, clothing, household goods, and supplies -- even toys and books for children -- to as many as 1,000 people per day from the region.

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2007

Championed successful passage of State Legislation for a Quality Rating System to ensure that high-quality child care centers are available to all children.

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2009

Washington Area United Way merged with United Way for the Greater New Orleans Area to fund agency programs serving the residents in Jefferson, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, and Washington Parishes.

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2010

United Way answered the call following the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, distributing mini-grants to local organizations to assist those impacted by the oil spill.

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2011

United Way for the Greater New Orleans Area changed its name to United Way of Southeast Louisiana to reflect the region the organization serves.

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2014
Advocated for the historical passage of seven Domestic Violence bills aimed at stopping domestic abuse and established the Million Dollar Roundtable with a $1M gift from Robert Merrick.  

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2015

United Way of Southeast Louisiana partnered with United Ways throughout Louisiana on a groundbreaking study of financial hardship known as the ALICE Report.

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2016

United Way introduced our Blueprint for Prosperity, our strategic plan to eradicating poverty in Southeast Louisiana.

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2017

Introduced collaborative funding.

Collaborative grants are designed to support groups of relevant stakeholders taking a collaborative approach to systems change in addressing poverty in the region. 

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2018 

Opened the first Prosperity Center.

The opening of J. Wayne Leonard Prosperity Center gave our region the first one-stop financial stability center offering an array of free programming to residents, including financial education and coaching, credit building and counseling, benefits screening, and income tax assistance

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2021

After Hurricane Ida, distributed over $5M in relief to families and organizations affected. Created innovative relief pop-ups to provide food and supplies to affected families throughout the region.

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2024

United Way of Southeast Louisiana celebrates its centennial and looks forward to the next 100 years of serving our region.

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JOIN US

Giving back has always been at the heart and soul of United Way. As we celebrate our centennial, we’re rolling up our sleeves and mobilizing the power of people, offering ways for you to create a community strong enough for the next 100 years. Join us in 2024 to kick off our year-long celebration by volunteering with United Way because when we come together, we can achieve remarkable things. 

Check back often for updates!

 

April 6  |  9 - 12 pm

Spring Day of Service 
Volunteer Event (outdoors, physical labor - may include painting, building items, gardening, blight reduction activities)

 

June 6  |  8 - 10:30 am

Annual Meeting & Live United Awards
Join us as we review the past year, look forward to the next year, introduce you to our new Board and Campaign Chairs, and announce our Live United Award recipients and Top 10 Most Generous Workplaces in our region.

 

June 8  |  9-12 pm

Day of Action (Southshore)
Volunteer Event (outdoors, physical labor - may include painting, building items, gardening, blight reduction activities)

 

June 15  |  9-12 pm

Day of Action (Northshore)
Volunteer Event (outdoors, physical labor - may include painting, building items, gardening, blight reduction activities)

 

July 29  |  11 - 2 pm

15th Annual West St. Tammany Red Beans 'N' Rice Cook-off 
The Red Beans ‘N’ Rice Cook-Off events mark the official Kick-Off of the United Way fundraising campaign in St. Tammany Parish. 

 

August 5  |  11 - 2 pm

20th Annual East St. Tammany Red Beans 'N' Rice Cook-off 
The Red Beans ‘N’ Rice Cook-Off events mark the official Kick-Off of the United Way fundraising campaign in St. Tammany Parish. 

 

October 3  |  6 - 10 pm

Tocqueville Gala
Each year, the Alexis de Tocqueville Society of United Way of Southeast Louisiana presents its highest award for exemplary leadership in community, volunteerism, and philanthropy. These outstanding philanthropists serve as inspiration for all of us who endeavor to create a better community for our citizens. 

 

November 9  |  9-12 pm

Family Day of Service 
Volunteer Event (outdoors, physical labor - may include painting, building items, gardening, blight reduction activities)

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Remember Morgus and Chopsly?  #8?  Allen Toussiant?  Throughout the years, celebrities and influencers in our region supported United Way by sharing their talents.  See a few examples below.

 

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share your story

Do you have a video, printed piece, or any type of memorabilia from our United Way?  Please share - send us a direct message on social (@UnitedWaySELA) or email info@unitedwaysela.org.

Were you or someone you know helped by United Way?  Did you volunteer with us?  Share your story by April 30 and we may include you in our annual video. Tell us your story.

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ThankYou

From Community Chest to United Way of Southeast Louisiana, thousands of individuals made our work possible. We captured as many team members as possible - and to them and countless others, THANK YOU for creating a positive impact on our region.

 

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If you know of someone not included on our list, please contact info@unitedwaysela.org.