Only 26 years old when he came to the United States and Canada in 1831, Alexis Charles-Henri de Tocqueville traveled extensively, recording his observations of life in the young nations. Though he only spent nine months in North America, 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 North American voluntary action on behalf of the common good. He wrote: “I must say that I have seen Americans make a lot of real sacrifices to the public welfare; and have noticed a hundred instances in which they hardly ever failed to lend faithful support to one another,” eloquently captures 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; North 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 formed in 1984 to deepen individual understanding of, commitment to, and support for United Way’s work in advancing the common good by creating opportunities for a better life for all. The Tocqueville Society recognizes local philanthropic leaders and volunteer champions in the United States, France, and Romania who have devoted time, talent, and funds to create long-lasting changes by tackling our communities’ most serious issues. Globally, Tocqueville Societies have continued to see growth in a number of ways. Currently, 430 societies raise over $556 million dollars from nearly 27,000 individuals.
United Way of Pullman Tocqueville Society was established in 2009 and it is the local community arm for philanthropic giving. The primary mission is to change lives through philanthropic leadership which supports the work of 16+ local charities who are devoted to advancing the quality of life in our community. Members of the Tocqueville are community business leaders and individuals who share a common vision to build a better community.
Each year, the Society has a gathering of members and potential new members to celebrate Philanthropic Generosity. It is an opportunity to inform participants about our efforts to support the work of local United Way charities and encourage giving for the betterment of our community.