We all had different priorities a year ago. Now think back to what your life was like in 1986. The current members of United Way of Central Alabama’s (UWCA) Tocqueville Society are celebrating 35 years of exceptional giving to the community.
“The events I remember most were the opening of the Riverchase Galleria, Cosmo’s Pizza in 5 Points South and, most importantly, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off came out, which I know I’ve seen at least 35 times,” said Kelly Morrison, 2021 Retention Co-Chair with Andrew Nix.
This was before the premiere of “The Macarena” dance craze and the explosion of social media led by Facebook. It was also just the beginning of a journey that would lead to the UWCA Tocqueville Society becoming nationally recognized as the largest in the country.
Back in ’86, this year’s Tocqueville Chairs Kim and Bruce Rogers had recently moved into “the worst house in the best neighborhood” and were investing in the station wagon their new daughter would learn to drive 16 years later.
2021 New Member Chair Sara Beth Wilcox was playing with dolls and dressing up the family cat in princess attire.
Kelly Morrison was attending the Advent Day School in downtown Birmingham.
No matter what members were doing 35 years ago, when they come back to the present day, it’s clear the Tocqueville Society makes an impact on their lives.
“Looking at my son, who’s close to the age I was in 1986, I’m reminded of the innocence that children have,” said Wilcox. “My son doesn’t know yet about the injustices of the world. He doesn’t know yet that there are children out there living through difficult family situations who may not even have a consistent warm bed to sleep in at night.”
More than 800 members of the society contribute $10,000 or more to help provide vital services to our community and support our neighbors in need. This translates to programs including those that provide meals for homebound seniors, support for newly unemployed citizens and counseling for abused mothers and children, just to name a few.
Just as Alexis Charles-Henri de Tocqueville, for whom the organization is named, observed during his travels to North America in 1831, the philanthropic actions of Tocqueville Society members set examples of leadership in our community. They help create long-lasting change and a better life for us all.
“We know the life-changing work the United Way is doing through its direct [services] and its partner agencies and we’re so thankful for the leadership of the 36 charter members of Tocqueville and hope to perpetuate their legacy,” said Wilcox.
Thirty-five years ago, those 36 charter members set out to give back in memorable ways. Since then, many more have joined in carrying on that tradition.
“We are so grateful to the original pioneers who put the Tocqueville Society together and we’re proud of all of you and everyone who’s involved in carrying it forward,” said Kim and Bruce Rogers. “As Tocqueville would say in French, ‘Merci Beaucoup.’”
Head to UWCA’s website, Instagram and Facebook every Tuesday for Tocqueville Tuesday and reflect on the generosity of this community. Then think, how will you leave a legacy for many generations to remember?