Blue Cross Foundation Grants $1 Million to United Way of Southwest Louisiana for Hurricane Laura Recovery

September 17, 2020, by mharding

Funds will be utilized for immediate needs and long-term recovery efforts in the wake of the strongest hurricane on record to make landfall in the state of Louisiana

LAKE CHARLES, LA, September 17 – The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation has granted United Way of Southwest Louisiana a $1 million award to assist community members rebuilding in the wake of Hurricane Laura. Funds will be used to meet immediate needs such as the distribution of essential supplies like cleaning products, food, clean water and shelter and for long-term recovery efforts which will evolve over time.

“The United Way was among the first to respond after the impact of Hurricane Laura,” Michael Tipton, Blue Cross Foundation president, said. “We have been encouraged by their response and are grateful for their leadership in attracting supplies, volunteers and other critical resources to support people throughout the region.” Ann Knapp, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana board chair who calls Lake Charles home, added her praise for the grant. “The damage here is devastating. These kinds of grants can ease the strain on people by keeping them healthily fed, in stable housing and more while they focus on rebuilding and resuming their lives.”

Denise Durel, United Way of Southwest Louisiana president and CEO, said funding from sources like Blue Cross allows the non-profit to be a continued trusted community ally. “We will see things through to the very end until every individual and neighborhood is equipped with the necessary resources for true recovery,” she said. “Thanks to the incredibly generous $1 million donation from the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation, Southwest Louisiana can be confident that our best days are truly ahead!”

Lake Charles Mayor Nic Hunter agreed that the grant is a step in the right direction towards recovery. “With the dedicated leadership at the United Way of Southwest Louisiana, this $1 million donation is sure to put Lake Charles and the surrounding communities on the right track towards wholeness and the restoration in the wake of Hurricane Laura.”

Senate members Mark Abraham and Ronnie Johns thanked the foundation for their generosity. “Thank you, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana for being there for us when we desperately need help! You continue to be a true friend to our state,” Johns said. “A big thank you to Blue Cross for stepping up financially and helping the people of Southwest Louisiana; and we are especially grateful to the United Way of Southwest Louisiana for their proactive response to so many residents that need help in this hurricane disaster. This is teamwork at the highest level,” Abraham said.

For more information on United Way of Southwest Louisiana’s Hurricane Laura recovery efforts visit,

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About United Way of Southwest Louisiana

United Way of Southwest Louisiana is an authority on recognizing, measuring and mobilizing the resources to target community needs in Southwest Louisiana with a focus on four pillars: Education, Economic Mobility, Health and Basic Needs. For 80 years, we have supported efforts in Allen, Beauregard, Cameron, Calcasieu and Jeff Davis Parish that improve the quality of life for all residents through volunteerism and resource development.

About the Blue Cross Foundation

The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation works each day to improve the health and lives of Louisianians by empowering everyday people to do extraordinary good. By building and funding coalitions of friends, families and neighbors, the Foundation hopes to build a healthier Louisiana, particularly for its children. The Foundation is funded solely by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana, but is a separate 501(c)(3) nonprofit entity. Together, Blue Cross and the Blue Cross Foundation invest $3.5 million each year into Louisiana’s communities and nonprofits.