United Way Opens Prosperity Center in Washington Parish

20989234 10155012732907309 5367770038039575779 O 2BOGALUSA, La. — On Aug. 17, the United Way of Southeast Louisiana opened the doors to the United Way Prosperity Center – Bogalusa Campus. The new center is a partnership between UWSELA, the City of Bogalusa and the International Paper Bogalusa Mill.  

“We are excited to announce the opening of our newest prosperity center as a beacon of hope and opportunity for all of Washington Parish. This center stands as a testament to the power of collaboration and United Way’s unwavering commitment to ensuring every individual has equitable access to the resources they need to thrive,” said Michael Williamson, UWSELA president and CEO. “In rural, underserved areas, the importance of a dedicated community hub cannot be overstated. This center will provide vital services directly to our residents and serve as a rallying point for nonprofits across the parish.”  

The center, located in Bogalusa on Avenue U across from the mill entrance, will use a one-stop approach to help low- to moderate-income participants gain financial stability through an array of services, including financial education, financial coaching, credit improvement and tax preparation. 

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“We are elated to welcome the United Way Prosperity Center to Bogalusa. We look forward to the fruit that this partnership will bear,” said Bogalusa Mayor Tyrin Truong. “The potential for impact, coupled with the United Way’s track record, is sure to make a positive contribution within our community.” 

The International Paper Bogalusa Mill is helping to fund the center. Since 2013, the mill has raised $1.2 million for UWSELA through its employee-giving campaign, plus an additional $1 million in its annual golf tournament. International Paper provides 60% match funds on money raised for United Way, helping to make the mill a top-five donor in UWSELA’s seven-parish service area.  

“The Bogalusa Mill is proud to support the work of United Way, and are dedicated to working together to address the critical community needs where our employees live and work,” said Nakia Cowan, mill manager. 

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The center will target the 60% of households in Washington Parish living below the ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) Threshold. Households below the ALICE Threshold don’t earn enough money to afford a basic survival budget, including housing, transportation, health care, child care, food and technology or save for an emergency.  

According to the ALICE Report, having a low income is often associated with lower levels of education, higher rates of unemployment and poorer health. UWSELA is committed to disrupting these associations in Washington Parish through the new center’s proven approach and its full suite of programs and partners focused on stabilizing households living under the ALICE Threshold. 

In the first six months of opening its most recent center – the Northshore Prosperity Center – UWSELA’s expert financial capability team helped clients achieve remarkable results as participants saved an average of $1,500 and reduced their debts by $300.  

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“When canvassing the center’s surrounding neighborhoods in the weeks before today’s opening, the residents’ excitement about our return to a physical presence in the parish was palpable,” said Chiquita Lattimore, UWSELA senior VP of community impact financial capability initiatives. “And this center is just the beginning. Not only are we bringing life-changing financial capability services and support, we’re also bringing hope – hope for brighter futures and a stronger Washington Parish for us all.” 

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