Advocacy in Action


2020                                                                                                  2019


Statewide Education Webinar with Gov. John Bel Edwards and Supt. Cade Brumley

On August 7, 2020, United Way SELA hosted a statewide webinar on education titled, “Louisiana Leaders: Education Briefing with Superintendent Cade Brumley and Governor John Bel Edwards.” During the webinar, Louisiana Superintendent of Education Dr. Cade Brumley shared his vision on the education continuum in Louisiana. Governor John Bel Edwards joined to provide an update on COVID-19 in Louisiana and share his thoughts on the importance of education. Also during the program, a panel of subject matter experts; including Dr. Libbie Sonnier of the Louisiana Policy Institute for Children, Michael Hecht of Greater New Orleans, Inc., and Ron McClain of the Institute of Mental Hygiene; engaged Superintendent Brumley in discussion around early care and education, workforce development, and ALICE families with children. This presentation communicated the importance we all – community members, businesses, nonprofits, coalitions, and others – play in creating positive educational outcomes. Watch a recording of the webinar here.


New Orleans Public Wi-Fi Proposal

New Orleans City Councilmember Helena Morena, who chairs the Council's Utilities Committee,  introduced an order to devise a plan to bring free, public Wi-Fi access to all residents in Orleans Parish.  UWSELA Public Policy submitted public comment in support of this proposal. Expanded internet access aligns with UWSELA's plan to eradicate poverty in the region by stabilizing ALICE households


2020 Census Deadline Moved Up One Month

The Census Bureau is ending 2020 counting efforts on September 30, 2020, — one month earlier than previously announced. The 2020 Census will determine the funding communities receive for health care, roads, schools, and more for a full 10 years. It is essential that everyone is counted. UWSELA Public Policy is a member of the Power Coalition for Equity & Justice and we need your help to get more people to complete the Census! Encourage your networks to take the Census online, by phone (844-330-2020), or by mail.


New Orleans Early Care and Education Millage Proposal

Charmaine Caccioppi, the New Orleans Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, and the Ready Louisiana Coalition participated in discussions with New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell regarding an early care and education millage proposal. This millage would provide dedicated, long-term funding to support the City’s $3 million commitment to early care and education. 



2020 UWSELA Public Policy State Legislative Wrap-Up

UWSELA Public Policy is excited to report several legislative wins during the 2020 Legislative Regular and First Extraordinary Sessions. The 2020 UWSELA Public Policy State Legislative Wrap-Up can be viewed here.


Nancy M. Marsiglia Institute of Justice Alumni Association Launch

United Way of Southeast Louisiana and Loyola University New Orleans College of Law launched the Nancy M. Marsiglia Institute of Justice Alumni Association with a special virtual event featuring a keynote by National Urban League President & CEO Marc Morial on July 2. The new alumni association will engage the Institute’s nearly 100 graduates to build their collective capacity to improve our community through advocacy and public policy and further the program’s mission to “reclaim civil discourse.”


Jefferson Ready Start Network Receives $525K Grant from Baptist Community Ministries

Jefferson Parish Schools was awarded a $525K grant by Baptist Community Ministries to allow the Jefferson Ready Start Network, which is chaired Charmaine Caccioppi, to implement a comprehensive and dynamic system of professional development for over 600 early learning professionals who work across 125 early learning sites. The program will benefit child care, Head Start, Early Head Start, Jefferson Parish school system, and other early learning programs with publicly funded seats.



Special Session Advocacy

The Louisiana Legislature ended its pandemic-shortened regular session on June 1, 2020, only to spring back into action just moments later for a month-long special lawmaking session that focused on budget priorities and pandemic relief/recovery. During the special session, UWSELA Public Policy continued to meet with the Governor’s staff, state legislators, and collaborative partners to ensure the successful passage of our 2020 Louisiana State Legislative Agenda “United for a Safe & Prosperous Community.”  


2020 United Way Worldwide Advocacy Forum Day

Charmaine Caccioppi participated in virtual meeting with Louisiana Congressional leaders as part of United Way Worldwide’s 2020 Advocacy Forum Day where she delivered the important message of supporting early care and education in Louisiana.


Charmaine Caccioppi Reappointed as Chair of the Louisiana Women’s Policy and Research Commission 

Governor John Bel Edwards reappointed Charmaine Caccioppi as Chair of the Louisiana Women’s Policy and Research Commission.



2020 Legislative Session Resumes

UWSELA Public Policy prepared for the return of the 2020 Louisiana Legislative session on May 4, 2020, and related advocacy work to address the most pressing health and human service needs in our community and to assist those on the cusp of poverty or ALICE. Throughout May, UWSELA Public Policy continued to advocate for approved legislation in our 2020 Louisiana State Legislative Agenda, “United for A Safe & Prosperous Community.” 

In lieu of in-person testimony, we submitted prepared statements and data with sources concerning legislation for committee members’ review prior to scheduled legislative committee hearings. We also continued to share action alerts with partners to encourage support of key legislation and worked in close partnership with the Governor to advocate for maintaining funding levels for high quality early childhood education.  


Call for Unity Letter to the Editor

Kim Sport and Charmaine Caccioppi submitted a letter to the editor to The Advocate, “Coronavius crisis makes equity and progress more important,” which called for unity among elected officials as they lead our state’s COVID-19 response.


House Health & Welfare Committee Testimony

Kim Sport, UWSELA Public Policy Committee chair, testified in-person before House Health & Welfare Committee in support of HB 596, authored by Rep. Barry Ivy. This bill prohibits nonconsensual pelvic and rectal examinations on patients performed by healthcare providers and medical residents, interns, or students.


COVID-19 Statewide Survey

Charmaine Caccioppi led a conversation with LAUW to launch a statewide survey to better understand the impact of COVID-19 on ALICE households and to secure the data needed for the release of our latest ALICE report.


2020 Census Digital Action Weekend

UWSELA Public Policy participated in and raised awareness of the 2020 Census Digital Action Weekend held May 1-3, 2020. 


Anti-Hunger Coalition

Charmaine Caccioppi continued to work in partnership with the statewide Anti-Hunger Coalition to fight for increased funding for SNAP.


Letter to Extend Health Plan Protections

Seventeen organizations, including UWSELA Public Policy, representing thousands of patients and consumers across Louisiana who face serious, acute, and chronic health conditions, urged Commissioner Donelon to immediately extend the protections against cancellation and non-renewal of health plans for 90 days beyond the end of the state’s COVID-19 emergency declaration on May 15, 2020. 


Louisiana Women’s Policy & Research Commission

Charmaine Caccioppi chaired the Louisiana Women’s Policy & Research Commission statewide meeting to address concerns of COVID-19 on vulnerable women and children.  


Work with City of New Orleans to Address Financial Security

Charmaine Caccioppi worked in partnership with the City of New Orleans and Joshua Cox, Senior Advisor & Director of Strategic Initiatives in Mayor Cantrell’s Office to connect our Community Impact staff so that we can work in partnership to address financial security and VITA and to assist with the growing demand for utility assistance.


New Scholarship Funding for Nancy M. Marsiglia Institute of Justice

UWSELA Public Policy secured $20,000 to fund scholarships and support the creation of an alumni group for the Nancy M. Marsiglia Institute of Justice.



Despite the Louisiana legislative session's suspension due to the COVID-19 pandemic, UWSELA Public Policy continued its dedicated advocacy for children and families. In addition to advocating for critical support for the charitable sector, we shared Action Alerts to support funding for 2-1-1, the Emergency Food & Shelter Program, and VITA.


United for Early Care and Education Launch

On April 30, UWSELA Public Policy announced the United for Early Care and Education program in partnership with Loyola University New Orleans College of Law and Agenda for Children. The program will provide technical assistance, beginning with a focus on the Payroll Protection Program (PPP), to help child care providers navigate new public funding and supports rolled out in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.


Economic & Community Development Resilient LA Task Force Appointment

Charmaine Caccioppi secured the appointment of UWSELA President and CEO Michael Williamson to Governor Edwards’ Economic & Community Development Resilient LA Task Force, an element of Resilient Louisiana, a state commission charged with examining Louisiana’s economy amid the COVID-19 pandemic and making recommendations for more resilient business-related activities and commerce in the coming months.


Convention Center Donation Supports Hospitality Cares Pandemic Response Fund

UWSELA Public Policy secured $500,000 in funds from the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center for the Hospitality Cares Pandemic Response Fund, which triggered the reopening of its crisis grants application process.  


A2C Coalition Letter Sign-On

Unemployment insurance is one of the most effective policy tools governments can deploy to combat a recession and as a member of A2C Coalition, UWSELA Public Policy Committee signed on to a letter requesting the State enact the necessary changes to ensure Louisianans receive the assistance they need and deserve.   

COVID-19 Legislation & Implications for Nonprofits Webinar

UWSELA Public Policy hosted a statewide webinar “COVID-19 Legislation & Implications for Nonprofits” on April 15 including public policy experts Steve Taylor, Senior Vice President and Counsel for Public Policy at United Way Worldwide; Jan Moller, Executive Director of the Louisiana Budget Project; and Tina Vanichchagorn, Special Counsel in Governor John Bel Edwards Office; to give an overview of federal bills passed to date, what they mean for nonprofits and the communities we serve, the state budget implications for Louisiana, and a preview of what the 2020 state legislative session may look like. View the webinar recording and deck here.


The Impact of COVID-19 on Louisiana Child Care Providers Report and Virtual Press Conference

UWSELA Public Policy, the Louisiana Policy Institute for Children, Agenda for Children, and the Louisiana Association of United Ways are working to gather new data about the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the early care and education sector to inform changes in policy and practice to stabilize the sector and ensure we continue to improve access to quality early care and education in Louisiana. A virtual press conference was held on April 8 to release the first report, “The Impact of COVID-19 on Louisiana Child Care Providers.” View the full report here and watch a piece from WDSU here.

An announcement was also made of a generous anonymous donor from United Way of Southeast Louisiana’s Board of Trustees who, in recognition of their long-standing commitment to early care and education, pledged a $5,000 match for Ready Louisiana coalition members who contribute financially to these research costs.


2020 Census Day

UWSELA Public Policy shared 2020 Census Day information throughout the community (#EveryoneCounts – April 1st is Census Day!). We have one chance every 10 years to count our population to ensure we have adequate representation in Congress and ensure our fair share of over $675 billion in federal funds. These funds pay for everything from school lunches to roads and bridges along with informing emergency response funds allocated and coastal restoration efforts. Census questionnaires can be completed online, by phone (844-330-2020), or by mail.


Bloomberg Campaign Equipment Donation

UWSELA Public Policy received an equipment donation from the Bloomberg for President campaign including computers and iPhones to assist our New Orleans Campaign for Grade-Level Reading regional collaborative.


Louisiana Anti-Hunger Coalition

UWSELA Public Policy continues to participate in Louisiana Anti-Hunger Coalition virtual meetings to discuss advocacy for Emergency Food Systems Response, Child Nutrition Programs, SNAP, and overall food assistance for our ALICE population.


Congressional Advocacy

UWSELA Public Policy forwarded a letter to Congress urging them to add workforce funding to the COVID Stimulus 4. Workforce investments are critical to respond to the on-going fallout the crisis is expected to have on the U.S. economy and its workforce. Congress is urged to invest critical resources in our public workforce and postsecondary education systems.


Marsiglia Institute Spring 2020 Class Moves to Virtual Instruction

Class Instructor Martha Lemoine continues to teach our Nancy M. Marsiglia Institute of Justice 2020 spring classes through virtual learning. We have postponed the cohort’s graduation and will not solicit enrollment at this time given there are too many unknowns in the fluid COVID-19 crisis. Updates will be provided as they are available.


Center for Health Equity Conference

UWSELA’s Charmaine Caccioppi participated on panel, “Building a Bold Advocacy Agenda,” at the Center for Health Equity Conference on March 3. Her panel discussion focused on the state health improvement plan and addressing strategies to improve health outcomes in Louisiana. The goal is to try to move Louisiana to 40th on some key health indicators by 2030.


2020 State Legislative Session Begins
The 2020 Regular Legislative Session convened at noon on Monday, March 9. Final adjournment will be no later than 6 p.m. on Monday, June 1.
Center for Health Equity Conference

UWSELA’s Charmaine Caccioppi participated on panel, “Building a Bold Advocacy Agenda,” at the Center for Health Equity Conference on March 3. Her panel discussion focused on the state health improvement plan and addressing strategies to improve health outcomes in Louisiana. The goal is to try to move Louisiana to 40th on some key health indicators by 2030.


Women’s Professional Council Meeting
UWSELA Public Policy staff attended the Women’s Professional Council (WPC) meeting on February 3 to brainstorm on the direction of WPC programs, with a segment at the beginning that focused on core WPC values.
UWSELA Marks Early Ed Week in New Orleans with Gov. Edwards, Partners
Gov. Edwards and Early Ed Week
United Way of Southeast Louisiana was honored to host a Louisiana Early Ed Week event in New Orleans on February 13 at Clara’s Little Lambs Preschool Academy highlighting the need to expand access to quality early care and education (ECE) for children, birth through age four. Gov. John Bel Edwards attended and shared why increasing funding for ECE is the #1 priority for his second term. View a video recap of the event here.
Also in attendance to elevate this important issue were Sen. Troy Carter, Rep. Gary Carter, Rep. Ray Garofalo, Rep. Aimee Freeman, and LDOE Assistant Superintendent Jessica Baghian. LA Early Ed Week is a statewide event hosted annually by the Louisiana Policy Institute for Children. Thank you to the Jefferson Chamber for cohosting the Early Ed Week event in New Orleans with us. Special thanks also to Entergy, Jones Walker, and the Save the Children Action Network for sponsoring LA Early Ed Week, and Sonjia Brown-Joseph at Clara’s Little Lambs for graciously opening her facility for our tour stop.
Entergy Challenge Grant for Early Childhood Education
We are excited to work with Entergy to raise support for the Entergy Charitable Foundation’s 300K challenge grant to expand access to high quality early care and education in Orleans Parish. There is enormous demand for publicly-funded early care and education programs in New Orleans as 83% of low-income families lack access to affordable, high-quality early childhood education. Learn more here.
UWSELA Collaborative Partners Present Policy Recommendation
UWSELA Collaborative Partners Recommendation
Each year before the state’s legislative session, the UWSELA Public Policy Committee adopts a legislative agenda to advocate for legislation on behalf of our community. In keeping with our commitment to support our Collaborative Partners, UWSELA Public Policy held a meeting on February 13 to hear presentations on their policy or legislative priorities that align with our shared work to eradicate poverty. 
2020 Census Press Conference
The 2020 US Census kicks off March 12, and New Orleans officials hope to improve on 2010's low response rate. The Census only takes place once every decade. The national headcount shapes political boundaries and determines how federal tax dollars are shared. UWSELA Public Policy Staff participated in a press conference held on February 18 in New Orleans East with Governor John Bel Edwards, New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell, and Baton Rouge Mayor Sharon Weston Broome. The Governor stressed the stakes, “It’s critical that we get a complete and accurate count of all of our people.”
UWSELA Public Policy Committee Meeting
UWSELA Public Policy Committee held a meeting on February 19 and approved its proposed 2020 state legislative agenda, “United for a Safe & Prosperous Community.” The agenda includes topics that serve to advance our Blueprint for Prosperity and continue our advocacy for all issues that complement the mission and goals of UWSELA and support ALICE.
LWPRC Quarterly Meeting
UWSELA Public Policy staff participated in the Louisiana Women's Policy and Research Commission quarterly meeting held in Baton Rouge on February 27 to prepare the commission’s 2020 Annual Report. The commission’s duties include advising the governor, through the executive director of women’s policy, on the particular hardships, concerns, and needs that challenge women in Louisiana and their possible solutions. 


UWSELA Attends Gov. John Bel Edwards’ Inauguration
UWSELA Public Policy staff attended Governor John Bel Edwards’ inauguration at the Louisiana State Capitol on January 13. Governor Edwards shared his primary focus is on funding early childhood education across the state, as well as increasing education funding across the board and providing a bump in teacher pay – continuing to increase classroom funding and giving educators additional pay raises that will get them to at least the southern regional average. His other priorities include setting the state’s minimum wage at $9 per hour, passing equal pay legislation, and improving the state’s infrastructure.
Nancy M. Marsiglia Institute of Justice Welcomes Spring 2020 Class
Marsiglia Spring 2020 Class
The Nancy M. Marsiglia Institute of Justice held its first class of the 2020 spring semester on January 16. View a list of participants here.
UWSELA Public Policy Team Featured in Book Profiling Influential Women in New Orleans
UWSELA COO Charmaine Caccioppi and UWSELA Public Policy Committee Chair Kim Sport are featured on the back cover “Cherchez La Femme: New Orleans Women,” a new book profiling influential women of New Orleans. Charmaine and Kim attended the launch of the book and accompanying exhibit on January 16. 
Early Childhood Education Roundtable with Bloomberg Campaign
Early Childhood Education Roundtable with Bloomberg Campaign
UWSELA Public Policy staff participated in an early childhood education roundtable, “What more can be done at the federal level to help Louisiana’s most vulnerable children?” at Kingsley House on January 17 with Diana Taylor of the Bloomberg campaign. This event was an educational opportunity to share information and address the importance of education for all children across the continuum.
LIVE UNITED Radio Show on Women’s Listening Tour
The Governor’s Office of Women’s Policy Director Amanda Brunson was interviewed on LIVE UNITED Radio on January 21 to discuss the LWPRC Women’s Listening Tour stop in New Orleans sponsored by Women United. Listen here
Louisiana Women’s Policy & Research Commission Listening Tour
Louisiana Women’s Policy & Research Commission Listening Tour
The LWPRC conducted listening tours across Louisiana to speak with women regarding concerns they face in their daily lives. Over 110 people attended the New Orleans event held on January 30 at the Kingsley House Gayle and Tom Benson Community Center. This event provided a forum for women to vocalize and elevate their specific concerns and to recommend possible solutions and/or strategies. View LWPRC's 2018 Annual Report here