Williamson’s Notes: Who is Marcus Brown?

Feb. 9, 2022

On Thursday, United Way of Southeast Louisiana will honor Marcus V. Brown with our most prestigious honor – the Alexis de Tocqueville Award – an award which recognizes an individual for exemplary leadership in community volunteerism and philanthropy. As I’ve prepared my remarks for the evening, I keep coming back to a simple question. Who is Marcus Brown?

I am sure he would answer the question humbly. A husband, father, and employee of Entergy Corporation.

After working with Marcus during our annual campaign in 2020, I learned he is so much more.

As COVID-19 began to impact every aspect of life in our country, Marcus accepted the challenge of serving as United Way SELA’s Campaign Chair. There’s no doubt fundraising during a time of historic economic uncertainty is a role many would have shied away from. But not Marcus. 

He is a leader, but not the type that craves the limelight. He prefers to lead from behind and empower those around him to do great things. I witnessed this mastery as Marcus mobilized and inspired campaign volunteers and staff to reach our campaign goal in spite of the massive challenges of the pandemic.

He is a philanthropist. Marcus gives generously to causes and institutions he cares about, including United Way. He is committed to supporting brighter futures for our neighbors, from their youngest to oldest years, and ensuring equitable access to quality opportunities in life. In the face of adversity in 2020, Marcus and his wife Nanette stepped in with a major gift to ensure we met our campaign goal, allowing programs, partners, and families in need to breathe a sigh of relief knowing United Way would be there – no matter what. 

He gives with both his head and his heart. During a panel discussion on the power of African-American philanthropists, Marcus encouraged others to give to the causes they care about in strategic ways that allow their gift to continue beyond the initial donation. He also encouraged younger donors who are not yet able to make substantial gifts to build philanthropic lifestyles, giving their time and connecting with causes in deeper, more meaningful ways. 

He is thoughtful. One might expect a busy executive like Marcus to not have time to give sincere thought to small details or carefully acknowledge those around him. With Marcus, the opposite is true. Every United Way team member who worked with Marcus can attest to his naturally supportive and attentive nature. Unsurprisingly, his unanimous selection as this year’s society award winner was met with Zoom cheers and high-fives. 

Marcus also continues a legacy of transformational giving to United Way by Entergy employees established by extraordinary individuals like the late J. Wayne Leonard. And thanks to Entergy’s generous match for employee gifts and corporate donations, we’re able to elevate work happening across Southeast Louisiana to build stronger, more equitable communities for all.

On Thursday night, I look forward to adding Tocqueville award winner to Marcus’ name. There’s no question he is wholly deserving of the honor.

Living United, 

Headshot of Michael Williamson, UWSELA President & CEO

Michael Williamson
President & CEO 
United Way of Southeast Louisiana