The United Way of Acadiana was named a top five finalist in United Way Worldwide’s first ever Common Good Awards, which honors “coalitions that are creating community-wide change in education, income and health.”

According to a press release from UW of Acadiana, the honor was bestowed upon the local UW chapter for its partnership with the Lafayette Parish Public Education Stakeholders Council, a collaboration that has “demonstrated clear progress toward its goal of reducing the achievement gap in Lafayette public schools.”

“Our work with the Lafayette Parish Public Education Stakeholders Council (LaPESC) in our community has captured the attention of people outside Acadiana,” says Margaret Trahan, United Way of Acadiana president/CEO.

The local chapter was chosen among 62 communities in 11 countries that were up for the award.

“United Way of Acadiana scored in the top tier of a highly competitive pool,” says Peter Hahn, vice president of national engagement at United Way Worldwide. “These collaborations are the ones to watch.”

LaPESC is a coalition of independent civic groups working collectively to improve public education at the parish level. Its membership is comprised of 13 groups: United Way of Acadiana, 100 Black Men of Greater Lafayette, Citizens Actions Council, Concerned Citizens for Good Government, Greater Lafayette Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Southwest Louisiana Black Chamber of Commerce, State of Greater Black Lafayette, The705, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, the Lafayette Parish School System, the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office, the Pugh Family Foundation, and the Upper Lafayette Economic Development Foundation.

The sheriff’s office, the Pugh Family Foundation and the Upper Lafayette Economic Development Foundation are the newest members of LaPESC, bringing the collective membership of the group to more than 6,000 stakeholders.

The local chapter was recognized as a Common Good Award recipient May 3 at the United Way Community Leaders Conference in Nashville.

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