Tocqueville Society
The United Way Tocqueville Society was formed in March of 1984 to deepen individual understanding of, commitment to, and support of United Way’s work: advancing the common good by creating opportunities for a better life for all. The Tocqueville Society recognizes local philanthropic leaders and volunteer champions around the world who have devoted time, talent, and funds to create long-lasting changes by tackling our communities’ most serious issues.

Membership in the Tocqueville Society is granted to individuals who contribute at least $10,000.00 annually to a United Way.

Specifically, the United Way Tocqueville Society aims to:
  • Change lives through philanthropic leadership by focusing on the building blocks for a better life: a quality education that leads to a stable job; income that can support a family through retirement, and good health
  • Communicate the vital role of personal philanthropic action in creating long-lasting changes by addressing the underlying causes of societal problems
  • Enhance local recognition of long-standing service volunteers
  • Foster philanthropic action and voluntary community service
  • Expand high-level personal giving and United Way Major and Planned Giving programs of a high standard
  • Strengthen local leadership development and Major Giving efforts by building upon cross-geographical linkages
  • Prominently position the Tocqueville Society name and the United Way brand in an effort to stimulate the exchange of philanthropic ideas while maintaining a positive national quality image

Only 26 years old when he came to America in 1831, Alexis Charles-Henri de Tocqueville traveled extensively, recording his observations of life in the young nation. Though he only spent nine months in the United States, he gleaned an insightful view of American society. His observations, readings, and discussions with eminent Americans formed the basis of Democracy in America, a detailed study of American society and politics published in two volumes, in 1835 and 1840.

Tocqueville recognized, applauded, and immortalized American voluntary action on behalf of the common good. He wrote: “I must say that I have seen Americans make a great deal of real sacrifices to the public welfare; and have noticed a hundred instances in which they hardly ever failed to lend a faithful support to one another,” eloquently capturing the essence of personal philanthropy that persists, almost three centuries later. The observation on philanthropy made by Alexis de Tocqueville in 1831 is true today; Americans understand that advancing the common good means creating opportunities for a better life for all. The name Tocqueville Society was chosen because of Alexis de Tocqueville’s admiration for the spirit of voluntary association and effort toward its advancement.

The United Way Tocqueville Society was founded more than 25 years ago in order to deepen the understanding, commitment, and support of United Way’s most generous and community-minded investors. In his original letter to ten pilot cities dated March 15, 1948 Alexis de Tocqueville Society founder, Dr. Thomas F. Frist Jr., wrote that the purpose of the Nashville “chapter” of the society was to “recognize and honor those concerned individuals who accepted a leadership role in making major financial contributions to United Way.” Of those ten invited, 4 accepted the invitation and joined Nashville as the founding cities. The list includes Atlanta, Boston, Cincinnati, and Des Moines.

The National Tocqueville Society Award® recognizes outstanding examples of this commitment to service. Membership in the Society is granted to individuals who contribute a minimum of $10,000 annually to United Way. United Way of America provides guidance to United Ways in developing local Tocqueville Societies, which recognize outstanding volunteer service by presenting local Tocqueville Society Awards; involving and cultivating new influential leadership; encouraging major gifts among high-wealth individuals; and cultivating additional resources with which to strengthen their communities.

The use of the name Tocqueville Society is granted only to those United Ways affiliated with the national Tocqueville Society Program. To become a Tocqueville Society member, the local United Way must contact United Way of America for program participation details and guidelines. Please contact your local United Way on how you can become involved with the United Way Tocqueville Society.

De Tocqueville d’Herouville
The United Way Tocqueville Society is honored by the involvement of descendants of Alexis de Tocqueville. Count and Countess Guy de Tocqueville d’Herouville and their three children, Patrick, Jean-Guillaume and Alexis, have graciously granted permission for United Way of America to use the Tocqueville name and coat of arms.

Jean-Guillaume de Tocqueville d’Herouville has been especially involved with the growth and development of the United Way Tocqueville Society, hosting Society members on philanthropic exchanges and traveling to attend various Tocqueville Society national events in the United States. He is a corporate lawyer and has been a partner with the Gide firm, a leading Paris-based firm, since 1993. He studied political sciences and law both in Paris and the United States and is also a member of the New York Bar. Jean-Guillaume and his wife, Stephanie, are known for their personal philanthropy in Europe, and they accredit their involvement in United States philanthropy to contacts and friendships with members of the United Way Tocqueville Society and United Way of America. Jean-Guillaume is currently active in projects promoting the heritage of Alexis de Tocqueville throughout the world, as well as involving American philanthropy in Europe. Jean-Guillaume and Stephanie currently live in Paris with their three children.

Tocqueville Today
Results of United Way overall campaign for 2010 show that over 400 Tocqueville Societies collectively raised over $514 million dollars from over 25,700 individuals nationwide. Currently there are nearly 500 Million Dollar Roundtable members, and more than 400 National Society members, and more than 470 families that are members of the Tocqueville Legacy Circle by making plans to endow their annual Tocqueville support through a planned gift.

Membership Levels
The United Way Tocqueville Society was created to acknowledge and honor those individuals whose leadership and commitment to the common good have been uncommon in its generosity. On behalf of the thousands of lives who are touched each year, we thank these visionary leaders for their outstanding annual support.

Three elements which Alexis de Tocqueville admired in American society were liberty, equality and the spirit of neighbor helping neighbor. These same elements are embraced in the French phrase “Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité.” Tocqueville believed that by achieving these elements of democracy, all people would choose to pursue freedom, knowledge and prosperity, or indépendance, connaissance, and prospérité.

To distinguish Tocqueville Society members who achieve higher levels of giving, special orders of recognition have been created in the spirit of Tocqueville’s belief in the power of free will to do good:
  • La Table Ronde de Millions de Dollars — $1 million plus
  • Ordre de Prospérité — $750,000 - $999,999
  • Ordre de Connaissance — $500,000 - $749,999
  • Ordre d’Indépendance — $250,000 - $499,999
  • La Société Nationale — $100,000 - $249,999
  • Ordre de Fraternité — $75,000 - $99,999
  • Ordre d’Egalité — $50,000 - $74,999
  • Ordre dé Liberté — $25,000 - $49,999
  • Membres de la Société — $10,000 - $24,999

United Way Tocqueville Society Legacy Circle

The United Way Tocqueville Legacy Circle was created to honor current Tocqueville Society members who have also made legacy commitments of $200,000 or more. These Tocqueville Society members are visionaries; making lasting gifts to the advance the common good. The legacy commitment may be: (1) a realized deferred gift of $200,000 or more received from a bequest or similar vehicle; (2) an outright gift or documented written pledge of $200,000 or more to the endowment fund of your local United Way; or (3) a written notification of a revocable or irrevocable planned gift arrangement such as a provision in a will, a life insurance policy, or a split interest gift with a face amount or death benefit of $200,000 or more. An L signifies United Way Tocqueville Society Legacy Circle membership in the annually published National Tocqueville Leadership Recognition Book.

Legacy commitments when coupled with annual contributions help change lives today and tomorrow. Legacy commitments will be providing charitable solutions to societal challenges unimaginable today. We honor United Way Tocqueville Society Legacy Circle members for their uncommon generosity and leadership in advancing the common good.

Membership Benefits
Specific local Tocqueville Society benefits differ by location; however, all Tocqueville Society members benefit from:
  • Joining a national network of philanthropic leaders who are engaged locally to create long-lasting, positive changes
  • Partnering with a quality organization and dedicated staff; ensuring that gifts, voice, and time are efficiently invested in local communities to maximize impact
  • Utilizing the unique position of United Way as one of the world’s premier philanthropic organizations to convene community business and civic leaders focused on the building blocks of a good life: a quality education that leads to a stable job; income that can support a family through retirement; and good health.

Tocqueville Society members receive these national benefits:
  • All members of the Tocqueville Society are listed in the National Tocqueville Leadership Recognition Book, published annually by United Way of America.
  • Special recognition is given to those members who have made extraordinary commitment to their local United Way by becoming members of the National Society or Million Dollar Roundtable. Members of both the National Society and the Million Dollar Roundtable are featured in the leadership book with their picture and biography.
  • Local Tocqueville Society leaders along with National Society and Million Dollar Roundtable members are invited to attend various.

Thank you