United Way kickoff set for Tuesday at ESM

Published 1:48 am Saturday, September 26, 2015

The United Way of Southeast Louisiana’s Washington Parish Regional Office is hosting its annual Campaign Kick-Off Luncheon, featuring keynote speaker Bob Merrick, chairman and CEO of Latter & Blum Inc. and Million Dollar Roundtable member.

The event takes place Tuesday, Sept. 29, at noon at the ESM United Methodist Church — Family Life Center on 510 Ave. B in Bogalusa. Registration starts prior to 11:30 a.m.

Coming off of a successful year and positioned to create an even more successful future, United Way of Southeast Louisiana recently kicked-off its 2015-16 community fundraising campaign with a lofty goal of $14.6 million.

United Way works to meet the health and human service needs in our community by supporting over 130 Education, Income and Health related programs in Jefferson, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa and Washington parishes.

“We are truly grateful for the remarkable individuals and companies we have in our region that support our work,” said United Way’s president and chief executive officer Michael Williamson. “Donors, advocates and volunteers are helping every day to advance the quality of life for hundreds of people in Washington Parish and the region as a whole.”

Larry Miller will chair the 2015-16 Washington Parish Leadership Council, an executive volunteer group whose role is to oversee funding decisions and assist in raising money. Linda Jenkins, with Good Samaritan Living Center, will serve as co-chair.

Luncheon keynote speaker Merrick has built the largest real estate business in the Gulf South and one of the largest in the country, and has become one of the foremost benefactors of nonprofit organizations in the region.

Merrick has invested millions of dollars and countless volunteer hours to the greater New Orleans area. Last year, he made a single $1 million gift to United Way of Southeast Louisiana, becoming the first person in the state to join an elite circle of million-dollar donors to United Way worldwide.

Born in New Orleans and graduating from Tulane University, Merrick has received many honors, including Gambit Magazine’s New Orleanian of the Year (2014), American Red Cross Humanitarian of the Year (2005) and United Way’s Alexis de Tocqueville Award (2004).

The luncheon is open to the public. Tickets are $10 each and include food & beverage, and a chance to win great door prizes.

“United Way’s campaign theme this year is ‘What this place needs is you!’” Williamson said. “We have our work cut out for us. And we can’t do it alone…we need you.

“You can be part of the solution to our community problems. You can give. You can advocate. You can volunteer.”