NEW ORLEANS - The United Way of Southeast Louisiana calls it the largest-ever single gift from an individual.
On Friday, Latter & Blum chairman and chief executive Robert Merrick presented the agency with a check for $1 million.
Merrick surprised United Way staffers with the donation at a luncheon at Galatoire’s.
Merrick, a longtime civic and business leader, is chairman of Latter & Blum, the largest real estate operation in the south.
With Friday’s donation, he joins an elite group – the United Way Million Dollar Roundtable, a national membership reserved for such generous donors.
Merrick is the first individual to donate $1 million to a United Way in Louisiana or Mississippi.
“I was not born wealthy and I believe in helping those who are down on their luck pull themselves up by their own bootstraps,” Merrick said in a statement. “Second, I hope to encourage more people with the ability to give, to do so.”