When the people of Acadiana founded the first local United Way effort in 1949, our communities were small and close-knit. To say life was simpler would be unfair — the size of our challenges always seems relative to the size of our capabilities. But we know from experience that in smaller community it was easier for groups to communicate needs, identify concerns and directly address the issues of the day.
Today, the population of our service area of Acadia, Lafayette, St. Martin and Vermilion parishes has grown tremendously from the estimated 168,075 people that called it home in 1949. With that growth has come a change, as well, in the diverse needs of the area. Each day United Way of Acadiana works to rise to these growing changes and diverse needs targeting three basic areas: essentials, education and earnings.
We partner with the community and its members to implement the most effective strategies in the most efficient way. It’s about spending smarter and reaching more families. It’s about living united as we fight for the health, education, and financial stability of every person in every community we serve.
Nationally, United Way was founded in 1887 in Denver, Colorado when a diverse group of community leaders – a woman, a priest, two ministers and a rabbi – came together to improve the condition of their community. Today, their actions have grown into United Way, the world’s largest privately-supported nonprofit. We’re proud to be one of the nearly 1,800 United Ways in 41 countries and territories.