St. John United annoucing executive board officers, planning breakfast campaign celebration

Published 12:12 am Saturday, May 5, 2018

LAPLACE — Artis Williams discovered the impact of a united community at a young age, when friends and strangers came together to help his family after a fire consumed his childhood home.

Artis Williams

Years later, Williams attended college on an engineering scholarship funded by industry leaders who reinvested in the community.

Those experiences led him to become executive director of St. John United Way, an organization that allocates funds to support the health, education and financial stability of St. John the Baptist Parish residents.

St. John United Way will announce new executive board officers at the upcoming annual meeting, which is 8:30 a.m. May 16 at the Globalplex Terminal Guest House, 1692 Highway 44 in Reserve.

Vacant positions include president, vice president, secretary/treasurer, vice president of resource development and vice president of community impact.

The annual membership meeting lasts 15 to 30 minutes and is open to all St. John United Way contributors.

Of the 18 current board members, Williams said most are business and industry executives who are key movers and shakers in the community.

Approximately 75 percent of funding comes from local entities, he said, making it important for leaders to have a voice in financial allocations.

A breakfast campaign celebration for donors will be held at 9 a.m. May 24 at Belle Terre Country Club in LaPlace.

United Way touches countless individuals by providing for nearly 30 partner agencies that offer services to St. John Parish residents.

Donations to River Parishes Community College have funded GED training for inmates, while support for the St. John Ministry of Care gives residents relief from financial insecurity.

Volunteers of America built handicap accessible ramps with funding, and Dolly Parton Imaginary Library sends one book a month to local children to promote literacy.

Williams said the working poor and those in poverty account for approximately 40 percent of St. John’s population.

“St. John United Way focuses on the ALICE population, short for Asset-Limited, Income-Constrained, Employed,” Williams said.

“One of the requirements for partner agencies is that they provide services to St. John the Baptist Parish.”

St. John United Way is not a direct service provider, according to executive assistant and office manager Liz Brady.

She said the organization aims to keep local resources up and running, adding residents in crisis are typically referred to Via Link 211.

For a full list of partner agencies with contact information, visit

Williams said those interested in supporting United Way should call 985-651-9118 to inquire about partner agency volunteer opportunities.