Employees 1st is a charitable service provided by the Baton Rouge Area Foundation, whose assets of more than $600 million rank it among the top 20 of more than 700 community foundations in the country. Operating for nearly 50 years, the Foundation manages charitable savings accounts, managing the funds and guiding grants to nonprofits across the world.

Employees 1st partners with companies to provide short-term financial assistance to their workers who are faced with unexpected catastrophes not covered by insurance. It was created by and is an affiliate of the Baton Rouge Area Foundation, which has a solid record of success in managing employee assistance funds. After Hurricane Katrina, the Foundation created and managed employee assistance funds for 16 companies.

Among them were Emeril Lagasse Restaurants, Oreck Vacuums, Whitney National Bank and McIlhenny Co., the maker of Tabasco pepper sauce. Employers relied on the Foundation to deliver more than $8.5 million in aid to hundreds of uprooted workers after Katrina. After the well blowout in the Gulf of Mexico, BP chose the Foundation to manage a $100 million donation. This money was used to assist deepwater rig workers who had suddenly seen their incomes reduced, or vanish altogether, as a result of the federal halt on deepwater drilling.