United Way ALICE Report for Louisiana released today


The Louisiana Association of United Ways has created two hashtags for use to talk about ALICE in social media. The hashtags are:

#meetALICE: To introduce the concept of ALICE, data, report terminology and report goals

#ALICELA: For state specific information content, specifically for our state network use

Baton Rouge, LA — The Louisiana Association of United Ways (LAUW), along with 11 United Ways across the state, is pleased to release the United Way ALICE Report for Louisiana. ALICE, which stands for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed, places a spotlight on a large population of hardworking residents who are struggling to make ends meet, have little or no savings, and are one emergency away from falling into poverty.

In Louisiana, 695,719 households — 40 percent of the state total — are unable to afford basic cost of living, with conditions still lagging behind pre-recession levels, according to the report.

“We believe this report could be placed in the center of tables across Louisiana to inspire the right kind of conversations— in non-profits, churches, businesses, municipal and state government offices, even on the dinner table in homes,” said Sarah Berthelot, President/CEO of LAUW. “The United Way ALICE Report for Louisiana provides statewide and hyperlocal data. Sadly, there is no single solution to ‘fix’ the challenges that so many in Louisiana face. However, armed with information from this report, everyone can make more informed decisions to create policies, programs and priorities to improve the lives of ALICE in Louisiana.”

To download the 263-page report that provides parish-by-parish and town-level data, go to www.launitedway.org. The site also features an interactive, online map that that summarizes the scale of ALICE in each parish.

“United Ways throughout Louisiana have come together to give an identify and voice to people who work hard and yet struggle to make ends meet — people we call ALICE,” said Sarah Berthelot, “The Louisiana Association of United Ways has been honored to lead this collaborative effort in our state.”

The United Way ALICE Report is the most comprehensive depiction of financial need in the state to date, using data from a variety of sources, including the U.S. Census. The report unveils new measures, based on present-day income levels and expenses that show how many Louisiana workers struggle financially and why.

To produce the United Way ALICE Report for Louisiana, a team of researchers collaborated with a Research Advisory Committee, composed of 19 representatives from around Louisiana, who advised and contributed to the report. Louisiana is one of the first ten states in the country to produce an ALICE study. This collaborative model, practiced in each state, ensures each United Way ALICE Report presents unbiased data that is replicable, easily updated on a regular basis, and sensitive to local context. Working closely with United Ways, the United Way ALICE Project seeks to equip communities with information to create innovative solutions.

The Entergy Corporation serves as the lead state sponsor and the Louisiana representative on the National ALICE Advisory Council. As a Louisiana Friend of ALICE, JPMorgan Chase is also a supporter of this project.

“Entergy is committed to giving back to the community, because we can only be as strong as the communities we serve,” said Patty Riddlebarger, Director of Corporate Social Responsibility, Entergy Corporation. “As one of only two Fortune 500 companies headquartered in Louisiana, we take seriously our responsibility to support efforts such as the United Way ALICE Project. The ALICE Project is a road map to stronger communities and economic development. We will use this report to do our part, knowing it will take everyone working together to create a brighter future for all Louisianians."

“Too many hard-working families in our state face too many obstacles limiting their ability to get ahead. JPMorgan Chase applauds the work done by the Louisiana Association of United Ways and the 11 United Ways around the state for bringing recognition to this serious issue,” said Liza Cowan, South Region Executive for the company’s Global Philanthropy.

About the Louisiana Association of United Ways

The Louisiana Association of United Ways (LAUW) is an association of seven regional United Ways serving 49 parishes throughout Louisiana. Our mission is to integrate action and resources for the common good. We work across our communities to tackle challenges that affect individuals, families and whole communities — challenges that are ultimately bigger than any of us and impact our entire state. We are part of a global network of more than 1,800 United Ways, servicing communities in 41 countries.

QUOTES from the Louisiana ALICE Research Advisory Committee

Gary Asmus, Ph.D.
Client Services Manager
Workforce Opportunity Services

“The United Way ALICE Report is the most complete picture to date of the struggles faced by Louisiana households. To solve a problem, we must first understand it and this report provides a solid baseline against which we can measure progress and understand the effects of creating a quality educational system that can lift people out of poverty and put them on the road to sustainability.”

Steven J Dick, Ph.D.
Senior Research Scientist/Statistician
Picard Center for Child Development, University of Louisiana at Lafayette

“An understanding of how poverty impacts Louisiana is essential to direct resources and policy. This report highlights the disparities in education resources while emphasizing the impact of education on income.”

Robert Eisenstadt, Ph. D.
Professor of Economics and Director of ULM Center for Business and Economic Research
University of Louisiana at Monroe

“Louisiana’s United Ways is to be congratulated on the completion of their United Way ALICE Report: A timely and necessary analysis that goes well beyond the Federal measures of poverty to provide a thoroughly comprehensive analysis of household financial hardship. The data presentation alone merits a permanent spot on my computer desktop.”

Barry Erwin
Council for a Better Louisiana

“I think from CABL’s perspective, the United Way ALICE Report for Louisiana is of tremendous value. What it does more than anything is give us a clearer picture of the real challenges we face as a state and how they impact our people. We can’t address these challenges effectively unless we understand very clearly what they are. This report helps us do that.”

Vicki Mack, MHA, PhD
Senior Research Fellow
The Data Center

“This United Way ALICE Report for Louisiana reminds us that too many individuals and families live on the brink of financial disaster and crisis every day and that we can and should do more to protect them, especially the most vulnerable populations like children and the elderly. The strategies provided in this report can improve the well-being of many people in each parish, and the state as a whole.”

Clair Hebert Marceaux, PCED
Director of Economic Development
Cameron Parish Police Jury

“All of us know ALICE. It is time for us to stand united and make a positive difference in the lives of ALICE. This United Way ALICE Report for Louisiana is a courageous first step toward helping our neighbors.”

John L. LaCour, M.S.W, retired

“This report comes at a timely moment — reflecting unique data representing the geography, demography, and economics of Louisiana. Louisiana’s United Ways has provided a unique opportunity for local and state policies to reflect reality.”

Jan Moller
Executive Director
Louisiana Budget Project

“This important report shows us the true face of poverty in Louisiana — and that it goes far beyond the federal government's definition. Meaningful action can only happen if we have good data, and the numbers in this report will be crucial in moving an anti-poverty agenda in Louisiana.”

Dave N. Norris Jr., Ph.D.
Chief Innovation Officer
Louisiana Tech University

“The United Way ALICE Report reveals the reality of families living and working with economic distress in Louisiana. It is an essential resource for anyone concerned with alleviating that distress to promote a more prosperous future for Louisiana.”

Alexandra Priebe
Qualitative Research Manager
Louisiana Public Health Institute

“The United Way ALICE Report for Louisiana is a powerful tool for facilitating meaningful discussions about the health and wellbeing of the citizens of our state by enabling those working to improve population health to positively strengthen our communities.”

Peggy Ramey
Community Specialist
BHP Billiton Corporate Affairs

“It is critically important for businesses and other organizations to form strong ties to the communities where they operate. By helping identify root causes of the financial hardship that many in our communities face, the United Way ALICE Report for Louisiana provides information that citizens can use to target their community support much more effectively.”

Kim Hunter Reed, Ph.D.
HCM Strategists

“This month Louisiana's new Governor called on us to address the harsh realities of poverty in our state. Through the United Way Alice report, we understand the magnitude of the challenge and the plight of the working poor. When 40 percent of households struggle to afford basic needs, families are in distress and children suffer. Our pathway to prosperity must ensure that all citizens have access to quality education and quality healthcare in Louisiana.”

Tre Rials
Sr. Research Analyst
New Orleans Business Alliance

“ALICE represents an innovative, hyperlocal approach to better understand income inequality throughout Louisiana. This effort is beneficial to NOLABA because 48 percent of Orleans Parish households live below the ALICE threshold. Every day, NOLABA looks for new ways to attract living wage jobs and create more on-ramps to opportunity for all our residents.”

Patty Riddlebarger
Director of Corporate Social Responsibility
Entergy Corporation

“Entergy is committed to giving back to the community, because we can only be as strong as the communities we serve. As one of only two Fortune 500 companies headquartered in Louisiana, we take seriously our responsibility to support efforts such as the United Way ALICE Project. The ALICE Project is a road map to stronger communities and economic development. We will use this report to do our part, knowing it will take everyone working together to create a brighter future for all Louisianians.”

Bill Rodier
Executive Director
St. Landry Parish Economic Development

“The United Way ALICE Report for Louisiana does a great job of providing detailed data down to the community level. This data will be a tool that we as economic developers can utilize, along with community leaders, to help identify and secure impactful resources.”

Adrienne C. Slack
Vice President and Regional Executive
Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta-New Orleans Branch

“The United Way ALICE Report initiative will assist Louisiana in understanding the challenges moderate income workers face in their financial lives. The report demonstrates that people earning middle wages are challenged in many of the same ways that people in poverty are - something that is often overlooked”

Monty Sullivan, Ed. D.
System President
Louisiana Community and Technical College System

“Louisiana's community and technical colleges are thankful to the United Way organizations of Louisiana for the extraordinary work on ALICE. Bringing a more fundamental understanding of the data and the critical issues our people face is critical to improving our communities economically and socially.  We are better prepared to take Louisiana forward as a result of this work.”