Mary Keller Zervigon

Mary Keller Zervigon
2018 Alexis de Tocqueville Award recipient

The mission of United Way of Southeast Louisiana is to eradicate poverty in our seven-parish region. We fight for the health, education, and financial stability of every person in every community we serve. Mary Zervigon’s long career of dedicated service to the improvement of the City of New Orleans exemplifies the spirit of what it means to Live United.

Give - As a philanthropist, Mary has always viewed her advantages as an opportunity to benefit others. Mary’s father, Charles Keller, was the very first UWSELA Alexis de Tocqueville honoree, and it is a most fitting tribute to his legacy to add the name of his daughter to the roll.

Through the Keller Family Foundation and the RosaMary Foundation, Mary has guided significant gifts to many charities and also gives generously personally. Since 1998, the mission of United Way has benefited from Mary’s philanthropic support totaling more than $4.4 million.

Advocate - A single mother of five children, Mary served in the public arena driven by the desire to make her community a better place. Often the only woman in the room, Mary earned the respect of legislators and political leaders by being one of the most capable, prepared, and dedicated persons present.

Taking after her mother, Rosa Keller, Mary puts a high value on the strength and richness of our City’s integrated culture. 

Mary is a constant supporter of our advocacy efforts to build equitable communities where all individuals are healthy, educated, and financially stable. 

Volunteer - Mary has served on the board of numerous nonprofit agencies, including higher education, charter schools, government reform, civil rights, and government advisory boards and commissions. She invariably is one of the most active members of the boards on which she serves and is well regarded for her intelligence and dedication.

Connect - Claiming to be “retired,” Mary remains committed to doing everything she can to make her city a better place now and for future generations.

This year, Mary provided the first scholarship to the Nancy M. Marsiglia Institute of Justice to ensure our inaugural class was an example of true diversity. 

Learn more about Mary's extraordinary career and accomplishments in this National Council of Jewish Women article published after she received the Hannah G. Solomon Award in 2012.