Paying It Forward

United Ways Team Up for Flood Relief

SEC football, devoted fans and tailgating will take on a deeper meaning this Saturday as the game between the University of South Carolina Gamecocks and the LSU Tigers moves to Baton Rouge. In Columbia and throughout South Carolina rising floodwaters and dam breaks are all too reminiscent of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and the levee breaches.

United Way of Southeast Louisiana (SELA) and Capital Area United Way in Baton Rouge are each contributing $20,000 to United Way of the Midlands in Columbia for a $40,000 gift,

“United Way of the Midlands played a major role in assisting more than 2,000 New Orleans residents who were evacuated after Katrina to South Carolina,” said Michael Williamson, President and CEO of United Way SELA. “Working in the recovery and rebuilding of our region I know it’s going to take a multitude of resources to help the people in Columbia. I grew up in the Palmetto State and am a proud graduate of the University of South Carolina. So, to be able to encourage other United Ways and alumni living in Louisiana to help is especially important to me.”

“Ten years ago we responded to the needs of New Orleans,” said Mac Bennett, President and CEO of United Way of the Midlands. “We’re fortunate to be a part of the United Way network that comes together in times of need, and we are grateful to have the support of Louisiana United Ways during this difficult time in our community.”

United Way of the Midlands serves about 750,000 residents in a six-county region. Due to torrential rains and heavy flooding, a large portion of the area is currently without clean drinking water and is under high alert with the threat of further dam failures.

“We’re glad to team up to help each other in a crisis’, says Williamson. “That’s the beauty of our United Way system—to organize and galvanize people into action. At tomorrow’s big game we want our Bayou Bengal fans to join United Way in rooting for relief to flood victims In South Carolina.”

“Although we are two different states and various communities, a disaster in one affects us all. It is our pleasure as a community and as a board to extend support and prayers to our friends in South Carolina,” says Ralph Bender, CFO-Manship Media and Board Chair-Capital Area United Way.

About United Way of Southeast Louisiana

United Way of Southeast Louisiana is creating a strong community for all, so children succeed in school, people are healthy and productive, and families are financially stable. Together we can educate and empower people to help lift themselves out of poverty in Jefferson, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa and Washington Parishes. For more information, please visit or call (504) 822-5540. You can find us on facebook at UnitedWayNola or follow us on twitter: @UnitedWaySELA. Aspire to change tomorrow starting today. …because what this place needs is you! Join United Way. GIVE. ADVOCATE. VOLUNTEER.


About United Way of the Midlands

United Way of the Midlands is the most organized, efficient and accountable system for investing in the community. With more than 90 certified partner agencies, United Way works to identify and respond to the critical human service needs of Calhoun, Fairfield, Lexington, Newberry, Orangeburg and Richland counties. Funds are raised through workplace campaigns, grant writing and individual donations. For more information, please visit


About Capital Area United Way

Capital Area United Way works to advance the common good and create opportunities for a better life for all. This is done through our focus on education, income stability, and healthy living. We touch the lives of thousands in our 10-parish Capital Area and are making a positive impact on a aily basis by stabilizing individuals and families with their most basic needs as well as strengthening our community in the areas of education, income stability and healthy living. To give, advocate, or volunteer, please visit