Williamson's Notes: 2018 Tocqueville Award Celebration

Thank you all very much for attending United Way of Southeast Louisiana’s 32nd presentation of our Alexis de Tocqueville Award at our Tocqueville Society’s annual celebration. Last Thursday was indeed a joyous celebration of philanthropy. 
We are appreciative of the generosity of our presenting sponsor Entergy Corporation, and fellow sponsors Patrick F. Taylor Foundation, David Fennelly and Carlos Sanchez, Enterprise Holdings, and Latter & Blum, Inc., among others, who helped us put on such an elegant and refined event. 
And for the first time at our Tocqueville celebration, we were able to have philanthropists, community partners, and activists join together with legislators and other elected officials for the presentation of our coveted Legislative Champion awards, recognizing individuals who advanced United Way’s 2018 Public Policy Agenda.
But the highlight of the evening featured our 2018 Tocqueville Award honoree, Mary Keller Zervigon. 
The Tocqueville Society selected Mary as this year’s Alexis de Tocqueville Award winner for her longstanding career as a distinguished public servant and philanthropist. And it’s no surprise that an endless list of loved ones, friends, and colleagues came forward to show their appreciation and support for Mary as she accepted this prestigious award.
During her acceptance speech, Mary shared with us her three principals of philanthropy: 1) give to an organization you trust, 2) give undesignated, and 3) give consistently. 
Her principals serve as a reminder of the importance of giving to a trustworthy organization in a manner that best supports its ability to achieve its mission. Following Mary’s guidance with a consistent, undesignated gift to United Way affords us the ability to fund our Blueprint for Prosperity – the best path forward toward a better, brighter Southeast Louisiana for all.
We can only make significant progress toward our mission of eradicating poverty when we can support all pieces of our Blueprint: programmatic and collaborative grants, internal initiatives, volunteerism, advocacy, long-term recovery work, and community fundraising and outreach. 
Mary believes in United Way’s Blueprint and our collective impact approach as demonstrated by her extraordinary contributions to our work totaling more than $5 million over the last 25 years. For that, Mary, we are grateful. 
Please join me in congratulating Mary once more and take a moment to enjoy the photo gallery from our 2018 celebration. 
Michael Williamson 
President & CEO
United Way of Southeast Louisiana