United Way of Southwest Louisiana Inc

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LAKE CHARLES, LA   |  www.unitedwayswla.org

Mission

We fight for the health, education, and economic mobility of every person in every community. Our goal is to create long-lasting changes that prevent problems from happening in the first place.

Notes from the nonprofit

United Way of Southwest Louisiana's Corporate Cornerstone Companies designate their gifts to underwrite the annual campaign, dues and administrative costs. This allows all funds raised to go directly to the programming needed in Allen, Beauregard, Calcasieu, Cameron and Jefferson Davis Parishes each year. We operate in the top 9% of all United Ways in the U.S. (top 125 out of 1300) Please see our Community Impact Book from 2020 for all of the work we did following not only the pandemic, but a direct hit from two hurricanes in one season.

Ruling year info

1954

President/CEO

Denise Durel

Main address

815 Ryan Street

LAKE CHARLES, LA 70601 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

72-0456901

NTEE code info

Human Service Organizations (P20)

Public, Society Benefit - Multipurpose and Other N.E.C. (W99)

Human Services - Multipurpose and Other N.E.C. (P99)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Blog

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

United Way of Southwest Louisiana has strategically focused on the impact areas of Education, Economic Mobility, Health and Basic Needs. Through this approach, we ensure more individuals and families have access to quality education, health, a family-sustaining income and critical resources during times of crisis. In Allen, Beauregard, Calcasieu, Cameron and Jefferson Davis Parishes, 47% of the community members live below the ALICE Threshold. This means the basic household survival budget isn't attainable even with adults working. 20% of these community members are living below the Federal Poverty Level of $24,300 for a family of four. A few facts about Southwest Louisiana: - 1 in 4 children are food insecure - 53% of Southwest Louisiana pre-school age children are not receiving early childhood education - The full-time salary of a minimum wage earner is $14,500 - Since 2010, the number of low-income units per 100 has dropped to 46

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

ALICE Southwest Louisiana

By definition, ALICE families and individuals are those who make more than the federal poverty level but less than the ALICE Threshold, which is what is needed to afford the basic necessities of housing, childcare, food, transportation and healthcare.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people
Families

Whether someone is a victim of a disaster or other type of personal crisis, the existence of supportive services helps people’s basic needs to be met. Through United Way of Southwest Louisiana partnerships and funded programs, these services provide a crucial safety net for vulnerable populations to quickly access help and receive the support they need to have a better quality of life, both now and in the future.

Population(s) Served
Adults

As many as one-third of working Americans do not earn enough money to meet their basic needs. Wages have not kept pace with the rising cost of housing, healthcare, and education. Currently, 40 million Americans are working in low-paying jobs without basic health and retirement benefits. For families walking a financial tightrope, unable to save for college, a home, or retirement, United Way of Southwest Louisiana is here to help.

Population(s) Served
Unemployed people
Economically disadvantaged people

Education is the cornerstone of individual and community success. But with more than 1.2 million children dropping out each year, America faces an education crisis. The cost? More than $312 billion in lost wages, taxes and productivity over their lifetimes. These trends are reversible, but only when communities and public, private and nonprofit sectors work together.

Population(s) Served
Infants and toddlers
Economically disadvantaged people

211 resource line, 833.TXT.TEEN and Crisis Chat are all helplines run by United Way of Southwest Louisiana. They are free, confidential and operated by live professional counselors and specialists 24/7/365. 833.TXT.TEEN is a teen texting platform and Crisis Chat is online chat with a counselor for any age or problem. 211 is a resource hotline for anything someone is looking for.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people
Adults

Congress appropriates the money to help expand the capacity of food and shelter programs in high-need areas. United Way provides the administrative staff and distributes the money. This grant is not in response to natural or national disasters.

Population(s) Served
Adults

Whether it is a neighbor without health insurance, a victim of abuse, or someone struggling with mental illness or an addiction, United Way of Southwest Louisiana is working to ensure everyone has access to affordable and quality care.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people
Seniors

This program provides preschoolers with 1 book a month from birth until age 5 at no cost to his or her family. The program is funded by businesses, corporate sponsors, service groups and individual donations to United Way of Southwest Louisiana.

Population(s) Served
Infants and toddlers
Families

United Way of Southwest Louisiana's Summer of Service program is specifically designed for ages 12 to 18. The program has 5 human services projects to do from June through July. Forty youth volunteers will aid UWSWLA staff with projects in our community. The elderly, veterans and homeless will be the focus of projects because they have pressing needs that are not being addressed. While fostering a greater understanding and appreciation for the diversity in Southwest Louisiana, we will illustrate the value of serving those most in need.

Population(s) Served
Adolescents

VITA sites offer free income tax preparation for individuals who, generally, make less than $54,000 annually, persons with disabilities, the elderly and limited English speaking taxpayers who are in need of assistance.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people
People with disabilities

Where we work

Accreditations

Charity Navigator 4-Star Rating 2019

GuideStar Gold Seal of Transparency 2019

Operates in TOP 12.5% of all United Ways in the U.S. 2019

Member in Good Standing of United Way Worldwide 2019

GuideStar Platinum Seal of Transparency 2020

#8 in United Way Worldwide Pop 3 Group 2020

$5 Million Donation from Mackenzie Scott 2021

Member in Good Standing of United Way Worldwide 2020

Operates in the TOP 9% of all U.S. United Ways this year. (in the top 125 of out of 1300) 2021

Charity Navigator 4-star Rating 2021

Affiliations & memberships

Partnership with The City of Lake Charles 2021

Partnership with Calcasieu Parish Police Jury 2021

Partnership with Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Office 2021

Partnership with Lake Charles Police Department 2021

Fiscal agent for VOAD (Volunteer Organizations Active in Disasters) 2021

Fiscal agent for Local FEMA Board 2021

Recipient of Mackenzie Scott Gift 2020

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Total dollar amount of grants awarded

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Families, Economically disadvantaged people, Homeless people

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

We fund human services nonprofits working in our four key areas: Education, Health, Basic Needs and Economic Mobility. We consider these four pillars the building blocks to a successful life.

Number of clients served

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

At-risk youth, Economically disadvantaged people, Homeless people, Victims of disaster, Unemployed people

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Southwest Louisiana has an average 50% of it's individuals living below the ALICE Threshold (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed). Half of those actually live below the Federal Poverty line.

Number of people given basic needs

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Economically disadvantaged people, Internally displaced people, Victims of disaster, Unemployed people, Emergency responders

Related Program

Basic Needs

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Basic needs include shelter, helplines, legal help following domestic abuse, natural disaster resources and recovery

Number of people given education

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

At-risk youth, Economically disadvantaged people, Unemployed people

Related Program

Education

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Education services include United Way SWLA Literacy Kits, children's summer programs, after-school tutors, autism programs, school supplies

Number of people given economic mobility

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Families, Economically disadvantaged people, Unemployed people

Related Program

Economic Mobility

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Economic Mobility services include job training, GED programs, financial assistance, increasing credit scores, budgeting, free tax prep, banking literacy, certifications

Number of people given health/dental services

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Seniors, Families, Economically disadvantaged people

Related Program

Health

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Health services include prescription assistance, homemaker services for seniors and disabled, counseling, meals

Number of meals served or provided

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

At-risk youth, Economically disadvantaged people, Victims of disaster, Emergency responders, Unemployed people

Related Program

Health

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Decreasing

Context Notes

Meals provided by food pantry, congregate meals, Weekend Food Packs for children, and delivery

Number of therapy hours provided to clients

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Economically disadvantaged people, Victims and oppressed people, People with psychosocial disabilities

Related Program

Health

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Number of hours of counseling and therapy

Number of crisis hotline calls answered

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults, Social and economic status, Work status and occupations, Health

Related Program

Basic Needs

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

211 is a resource line for our five parish area. The top three needs for two years in a row are 1. Housing 2. Utilities assistance 3. Food

Number of educational hours provided to adults/children

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Families, At-risk youth, Economically disadvantaged people

Related Program

Education

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Educational services are for all ages and can be related to financial, health, literacy, legal, jobs, etc.

Number of bed nights (nights spent in shelter)

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

At-risk youth, Homeless people, Victims and oppressed people

Related Program

Basic Needs

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Decreasing

Context Notes

Nights of shelter funded by United Way for families, domestic abuse victims, homeless, natural disaster victims

Number of books given to pre-school children

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Infants and toddlers, At-risk youth, Economically disadvantaged people

Related Program

Dolly Parton's Imagination Library

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

United Way of SWLA funds the Imagination Library in four parishes. Each child registered received one free book per month for their first four years of life.

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

United Way of SWLA tackles the issues in our four focus areas because they keep individuals and families from having a level playing field for a successful life.

Our goals for each pillar:
Education - Early Childhood Success and Youth Success
Health - Families/individuals access healthcare and improve their health
Basic Needs - Decreasing the number of individuals/families dependent on assistance and assisting people in times of need
Economic Mobility - Individuals obtain good jobs and effectively manage their finances

Our mission is to unite Southwest Louisiana to address our human needs. In doing so, we will identify important issues while continuing to fund local organizations that improve community conditions.

United Way of Southwest Louisiana is dedicated to improving community conditions by targeting and investing resources in at-risk populations.
- We fund local organizations that improve community conditions in the four focus areas.
- When a need is not being filled by another organization, we fill the need with our own initiatives:
VITA's Free Tax Prep, WriteStart, Summer of Service, 833.TXT.TEEN hotline, CrisisChat online, 211 emergency resource number, Literacy Kits for pre-school, Dolly Parton's Imagination Library, The Path Home homelessness RFP, United Against Child Hunger summer feeding program, VOAD's Volunteers in Disasters, ALICE for working poor, FEMA emergency management, Disaster Fund and FamilyWize Prescription Discounts.
- We partner with City of Lake Charles, Lake Charles Police Department, Calcasieu Parish Police Jury, Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Office

For over 80 years, United Way of Southwest Louisiana has been committed to building strong, successful families and strengthening our community.

We understand the complexity of social issues and we integrate solutions that improve lives with sustainable results.
We are on the ground in five parishes, focusing on what’s most needed and what works locally.
We gather leaders and organizations to work together on shared goals.
We democratize philanthropy by engaging thousands under a recognizable brand.

United Way of Southwest Louisiana's own initiatives served close to 40,000 individuals in the last fiscal year.
United Way ofSouthwest Louisiana's funded partners provided services to more than 57,000 individuals in that same time span.

United Way of Southwest Louisiana funded programs and initiatives that resulted in:

- Over 8,000 individuals received either mental health or financial counseling = 99,776 hours of mental health counseling alone
- 1,650 individuals received free legal help after being the victim of a crime or abuse
- 11,859 individuals received some type of educational service = 216,815 education services
- 52,769 meals were served
- 6,228 children were off the street after school attending an activity

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • Who are the people you serve with your mission?

    United Way of Southwest Louisiana serves families in a five-parish area where 51% of the population live below the threshold where they can afford basic necessities each month without struggling. Approximately 16% of these families live below the federal poverty line. In 2020, while most of the world was suffering through the pandemic, these families with directly hit by Hurricane Laura and Hurricane Delta. This was followed closely by Winter Storm Uri and then flooding from torrential rains. This area has still received no federal emergency block grants despite a record 5 federally declared natural disasters in one year.

  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    SMS text surveys, Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), Paper surveys, Focus groups or interviews (by phone or in person), Case management notes, Community meetings/Town halls, Constituent (client or resident, etc.) advisory committees, Suggestion box/email,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals,

  • What significant change resulted from feedback?

    United Way of Southwest Louisiana's initiative, The Path Home, came from feedback regarding our homeless population. We found a need for a family shelter when young males were being separated from their mothers when looking for shelter. We will open the first family shelter in Southwest Louisiana and each member of the family will get individualized help along a path toward their own home. United Way of Southwest Louisiana is located in the area that received direct hits from Hurricanes Laura and Delta in one season. A Hurricane Relief Center was organized and operated for months beginning the day after Laura hit. This center came about because community members reached out en masse and our team listened to their needs.

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    The people we serve, Our staff, Our board, Our funders, Our community partners,

  • How has asking for feedback from the people you serve changed your relationship?

    United Way of Southwest Louisiana has always asked for feedback from the community served by donor dollars. This strengthens ties with the individuals needing help and assists the team in planning.

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on demographics (e.g., race, age, gender, etc.), We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive, We tell the people who gave us feedback how we acted on their feedback, We ask the people who gave us feedback how well they think we responded,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback, We don’t have the right technology to collect and aggregate feedback efficiently, The people we serve tell us they find data collection burdensome, It is difficult to get honest feedback from the people we serve, It is difficult to identify actionable feedback,

Financials

United Way of Southwest Louisiana Inc
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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United Way of Southwest Louisiana Inc

Board of directors
as of 11/4/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Kevin Lacy

Investar Bank

Term: 2019 - 2021

Karl Bruchhaus

Calcasieu Parish School System

Barry Brown

Red River Bank

Dana Keel

CITGO Petroleum Corporation

Keith Faul

LyondellBasell

Mike Nodier

Polaris Engineering

James McGee

Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Department

Kirk Pellerin

Sabine State Bank

Tony Barre

Indorama Ventures

Curtis Brescher

Westlake Chemical Corporation

Leona Fletcher

Rain Carbon, Inc.

Joshua Floyd

Coldwell Banker Ingle Safari Realty

Paula Gaspard

Firestone Polymers

Robert Gelinas

Retired

Tonya Griffith

Wells Fargo

Jason Guidry

CITGO Petroleum

Debra Lastrapes

Calcasieu Refining Company

Joanne Logston

Westlake Chemical Corporation

Floyd Mitchell

Chemical Waste Management

Patricia Prebula

Prebula Public Relations, Inc.

Simon Randolph

Golden Nugget Lake Charles

Jim Rock

Lake Area Industry Alliance

Claiborne Self

CC's Pawn Superstore

Mike Solari

Mike Solari Company

Greg Thibodeaux

Turner Industries Group

Boyd Boudreaux

Evangeline Bank & Trust Company

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 11/04/2021

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Decline to state
Disability status
Decline to state

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 11/11/2019

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We analyze disaggregated data and root causes of race disparities that impact the organization's programs, portfolios, and the populations served.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We disaggregate data by demographics, including race, in every policy and program measured.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.