(3/29/2014 New Orleans) Today with a deep sense of satisfaction and pen firmly in hand, Robert W. Merrick signed a check for one million dollars to United Way of Southeast Louisiana (UWSELA)—the largest-ever single gift from an individual.
Merrick is the Chairman and CEO of LATTER & BLUM Inc., the oldest and largest real estate and home services operation in the Gulf South. Merrick is a renowned civic leader and philanthropist. With this latest gift, Merrick has joined a very elite group, the United Way Million Dollar Roundtable, a national membership reserved for million dollar donors. Merrick is the first individual to donate one million dollars to a United Way in Louisiana or Mississippi. He will meet other Roundtable members from around the country in April when their annual meeting is held in New Orleans.
When asked why he contributes so much of himself and his wealth to the nonprofit sector, Merrick replied, “For two reasons. First, I was not born wealthy and I believe in helping those who are down on their luck pull themselves up by their own bootstraps. And, second, I hope to encourage more people with the ability to give, to do so. Can you imagine all the good we could do for our community if everyone voluntarily gave, according to their means?”
UWSELA President/CEO Michael Williamson said, “Bob is the first to demonstrate this caliber of giving. United Way hopes more will join him because the need is great in southeast Louisiana. Bob Merrick is one of a kind. He’s a man of exceptional character, a man for the ages…and we at United Way have been blessed to call him friend. “
“Bob possess a spirit of generosity which manifests itself in many different ways. Certainly there is a large financial component in supporting our community, but in addition, and in a profound way, Bob inspires everyone in our companies to contribute time, energy and expertise to organizations which help develop strong communities. Simply stated, Bob Merrick changes lives and he has been a great mentor for me and all of us.” said Richard Haase, President, Latter & Blum, Inc.
Merrick’s involvement with Junior Achievement, his role in the establishment of the Max Derbes III Professorship in Real Estate at the University of New Orleans’ Business School, and his own educational scholarship fund for the children of the Agents and Employees at the Latter & Blum Family of Companies demonstrate his willingness to help make a better future a reality for many.
Following the back to back Hurricanes Katrina and Rita with hundreds of people on his payroll and with clouds of uncertainty over the entire regional real estate market, Merrick continued to pay salary to all of his employees, regardless of their ability to work or not. For those who could relocate to Baton Rouge, he also provided housing—whether in a house, apartment or hotel, at his expense.
In 2013, Merrick was inducted into the Red Cross’s National Chairman’s Council; an honor reserved for donors whose lifetime giving exceeds a million dollars. Coupled with today’s gift to United Way, these two inspiring gifts are matched by a lifetime of giving which currently exceeds fifteen million dollars. This level of giving has dramatically impacted the quality of life in New Orleans and making it a better place for our families to call home.
A nationally respected expert in real estate, Merrick is the only person in Louisiana and one of a handful nationally, to earn the professional designations of the Appraisal Institute (MAI), American Society of Real Estate Counselors (CRE), Society of Industrial and Office Realtors (SIOR), and Commercial Investment Real Estate Institute (CCIM).
About Latter & Blum Inc.
Latter & Blum, Inc., established in 1916, is the largest full-service real estate brokerage in the Gulf South and operates Latter & Blum, Inc./REALTORS, ERA Powered, C.J. Brown REALTORS Inc. ERA Powered, Van Eaton & Romero REALTORS ERA Powered, Noles-Frye Realty ERA Powered, while Latter & Blum Classic Homes & Properties, Latter & Blum Shaw Properties and Latter & Blum Hometown, operate under franchise agreements. All are networked nationally and globally as ERA Powered Companies. NAI Latter & Blum Commercial Real Estate, Latter & Blum Property Management, Latter & Blum Insurance Services, Platinum Title and Essential Mortgage Corp. augment the core real estate company operations. for a total of 35 offices in LA & MS.