“To increase the organized capacity of people to care for one another in order to create a stronger community for all.”
Since 1924, the United Way of Southeast Louisiana has been a key force in addressing the most heartfelt and necessary issues of the communities we serve. Through the commitment of volunteer leadership, our United Way has worked to raise both awareness of needs and the funds necessary to address those needs.
History of United Way
The United Way began 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 to seek financial support for ten agencies in a combined fundraising campaign. This first campaign raised $21,700.
In 1908, the first community planning department was developed at Pittsburgh Associated Charities. In 1913, a budget program began in Cleveland for the allocation of campaign proceeds to participating charities. The first Community Chest began in Rochester, New York in 1919.
During World War I, more than 130 war-related services and relief organizations were formed and joined with the already established United Ways. Beginning in 1930, corporate giving began to assume great significance in campaigns and, by 1950, represented more than 40% of the dollars raised. Ninety percent of all monies raised today comes from corporate and employee giving. United Ways achieved a major milestone with the introduction and implementation of payroll deduction for charitable giving.
In 1971, United Way of America was formed to aid in addressing the needs of community problem solving through training of volunteers, statistical data evaluation, and development of national corporate support. Its purpose is to act as a service organization to the United Ways throughout the country.
Today, there are 1,400 member United Ways throughout the country. Each of these United Ways is autonomous and governed by a local volunteer Board.
The local organization began in 1924, as the Community Chest began in New Orleans to meet the needs of a growing city. Raising $902,000 for local agencies, it established itself as one of the oldest United Way traditions in America.
In 1952, New Orleans Community Chest evolved into the United Fund and raised $2.5 million.
In 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 and retaining 98.5 cents of every dollar raised. Since then, this 85-year-old health and human service organization has been known as the United Way for the Greater New Orleans Area.
In 1994, the Tangipahoa Area United Way merged with the United Way of Southeast Louisiana to provide funding to agency programs serving the residents in Jefferson, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Tammany and Tangipahoa Parishes.
In 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 5 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 Impact partner social and human service agencies fully funded after the immediate aftermath of the hurricanes.
In 2009, the Washington Area United Way merged with the United Way of Southeast Louisiana to provide funding to agency programs serving the residents in Jefferson, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa and Washington Parishes.
United Way of Southeast Louisiana provides funding to over 100 programs and 70 partner agencies serving the people of of Jefferson, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa and Washington Parishes. We continually strive to be a delicately balanced system of donors' desires, volunteers' values, agencies' operations and recipients' needs.
We look at the big picture to create long-lasting changes in the hopes of “advancing the common good.” The work of 20,000 volunteers and the generosity of over 125,000 contributors to the annual campaigns demonstrate the Mission “To increase the organized capacity of people to care for one another in order to create a stronger community for all”. By partnering with donors, employers, nonprofits, faith groups and government, United Way brings a coordinated approach to solving community problems.