Tocqueville Gala

Feb. 11, 2022

United Way 2022 Tocqueville Gala honors community hero Marcus V. Brown
Leo Denault, Entergy contribute $100,000 in Brown’s honor

NEW ORLEANS – United Way of Southeast Louisiana (UWSELA) hosted Thursday its Alexis de Tocqueville Society’s Annual Gala, honoring Entergy Corporation Executive Vice President and General Counsel Marcus V. Brown as the distinguished recipient of the 2021 Tocqueville Society Award. Brown’s friends, family and colleagues joined in celebration with society members at The Ritz-Carlton New Orleans in the first gathering of the group since 2019.  

“I am standing here today because I’ve been lucky. Lucky to have encountered people in my life who are more committed, giving and thoughtful than I could ever be on my own,” remarked Brown during his acceptance speech. “Like so many before us, we have the ability to change the course of history through the collective impact of our individual actions. So don’t be overwhelmed by the seemingly tidal wave of issues coming at you. Instead, do the small things to help where you can.”   

In recognition of Brown’s extraordinary commitment to the community, Entergy’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Leo Denault announced a $50,000 gift to UWSELA, which was promptly matched by Entergy. The contributions will support UWSELA’s work to ensure equitable access to quality health, education and financial stability for all.

“What a lot of people see when they see Marcus Brown is that steely-eyed lawyer, that James Bond cool exterior, but underneath that exterior is one of the biggest and warmest hearts that I’ve ever seen,” said Denault. “By his actions, when I see those random acts of kindness, when I see the things that Marcus does, what all of us observe, and what all of us think, is ‘Why am I not doing more?’…That’s true leadership by example.”

The members of the Society selected Brown as the 2021 recipient of its highest award for his exemplary leadership in volunteerism and philanthropy. As the 2020-2021 UWSELA Campaign Cabinet chair, he exceeded the organization’s annual fundraising goal in one of the most challenging years in its 97-year history, bringing in over $13.7 million through his tireless efforts.

“Marcus recognized the herculean tasks of joining our bold fight to end poverty and leading the campaign during a global pandemic – not something for the faint of heart,” said Michael Williamson, UWSELA president and CEO. “But tackling poverty is like a game of tug-o-war; at some point, everyone has to jump in and grab some rope, and you can bet Marcus is always first in line.”

Entergy also credits Brown for “helping create a program that dramatically increased the pro bono commitment of the company’s lawyers and paralegals, … [and establishing a] full-time in-house counsel role dedicated to pro bono legal assistance – a first amongst Fortune 500 companies.” 

The Tocqueville Society also marked the passing of C. Allen Favrot, the founder of UWSELA’s Tocqueville Society, first lifetime achievement award winner and first UWSELA Campaign Chair to break the $10-million threshold in 1981. 

“Allen was all things to our United Way, but most importantly, he cared about the people in our communities,” said Cathy McRae, UWSELA’s immediate past board chair and Tocqueville Society member. “He believed in the power of community giving and support, and it was because of his passion and caring that we first considered becoming Tocqueville members.”  

UWSELA’s Alexis de Tocqueville Society was formed in 1985 by Favrot. The Society’s current membership includes more than 125 civic and philanthropic leaders who understand the community’s challenges and want to be a part of the solution. 

Members commit to an annual $10,000 minimum gift to United Way, which accounts collectively for a significant portion of United Way’s multi-million-dollar annual campaign. The Tocqueville Society is critical to United Way’s ability to stabilize families, help children succeed and empower healthy living.  

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About United Way of Southeast Louisiana 
For more than 95 years, United Way of Southeast Louisiana (UWSELA) has been a leader and trusted partner in improving lives and making a lasting difference. We fight to eradicate poverty by preparing people for quality jobs, growing incomes, and affording better health and education opportunities throughout Jefferson, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, and Washington parishes. We have a bold vision of equitable communities where all individuals are healthy, educated, and financially stable – and we have a plan. United Way of Southeast Louisiana’s Blueprint for Prosperity guides all strategic investments in programs, initiatives, collaborations, volunteerism, and advocacy aimed at tackling poverty. For more information, please visit Find us on social: @UnitedWaySELA.