United Way established its Tocqueville Society in 1984 as a means of encouraging large-scale philanthropic efforts. Today the society continues to support that goal by admitting individuals whose donations to United Way have surpassed $10,000. Members include citizens of the United States, France, and Romania who have funded United Way's work in areas such as education and health care.
The Toqueville Society draws its name from Alexis de Tocqueville, a Frenchman who visited the United States and Canada for nine months in 1831. During his travels, he analyzed politics and society in these nations and later recorded his experiences. The fruit of his observations became Democracy in America, a political and historical text still studied in colleges across the country and frequently quoted by politicians and journalists.