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Tocqueville Society Helps UWNCM Distribute Nearly $1 Million in Grants to Support Community Needs

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A Tocqueville Society Newsletter
Tocqueville Society Helps UWNCM Distribute Nearly $1 Million in Grants to Support Community Needs
Thanks to our generous Tocqueville Society members, UWNCM is on track to distribute nearly $1 million in grants to local non-profits in recent months.
With your support, we made $555,357 in grants from our Community Impact Fund to 40 non-profit programs in July. The fund gives grants annually to programs that address the region’s most critical needs in the areas of health, education and financial stability. 
This round of grants supports a wide variety of programs that provide services including housing, food and nutrition, early literacy resources and youth engagement. Several non-profits, including North Star Family Services, Inc. of Leominster, have received grants for multiple years, enabling them to build long-term partnerships with UWNCM. 
“The annual financial support that North Star receives from the United Way directly supports the traumatized, homeless families who have exhausted all of their resources and are desperate. These families are in crisis and we are the safety net that take them in. We humbly thank the United Way for their continued support,” says Jon Hogue, Executive Director of North Star Family Services, Inc.
Your dedication also helped UWNCM raise more than $300,000 from our Stand United COVID-19 Response Fund. Launched in March, the fund helps local agencies provide for basic and on-going needs of community members affected by COVID-19, including food, housing and utilities. Grants are being deployed through September 2020 in response to evolving needs.
“We are so grateful to our Tocqueville Society members for giving generously so that UWNCM can support so many inspiring organizations, as the need for these critical services has never been greater,” says UWNCM President Kory Eng. “We look forward to continuing to work together to strengthen our community during this unprecedented time.”
History of Tocqueville Society
United Way Worldwide
United Way Tocqueville Society began nationally in 1984 to honor individuals who have demonstrated extraordinary commitments to philanthropy through their passion for investing in the community and making a difference – personally and collectively. The Tocqueville Society was named in celebration of the vision of French historian Alexis de Tocqueville, who was recognized as a symbol of the true spirit of volunteerism that lives in America’s heart. 
Tocqueville recognized, applauded and immortalized North American voluntary action on behalf of the common good. In 1835, 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 to this day.
The Tocqueville Society is comprised of individuals who contribute at least $10,000.00 annually to a member United Way. Today, there are nearly 400 Tocqueville Societies across the globe that have collectively raised over $529 million dollars from nearly 25,000 individuals. Specifically, these societies:
• Change lives through philanthropic leadership focused 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.
• Expand high-level personal giving within United Way through Major and Planned Giving programs.
• Strengthen local United Way leadership by building a network of like-minded leaders across the globe.
United Way of North Central Massachusetts
The Tocqueville Society at UWNCM was founded in 1996—nearly 25 years ago—thanks to the inspiring leadership of Ron Ansin, a local philanthropist and business leader who was involved with UWNCM for over 50 years, including serving on our Board of Directors and as Campaign Chair for many years.
Ansin was approached by former UWNCM campaign chair John Brisbois to brainstorm new fundraising ideas and recalled an event he had attended while visiting his brother in Florida. Held at the home of singer Julio Iglesias, the event honored the founders of the United Way of Miami-Dade’s Tocqueville Society. 
“When I learned how positive an impact the Tocqueville Society had on United Way’s fundraising in Miami, I thought it was an idea worth exploring back home,” said Ansin. After discussing the idea with Phil Grzewinski, then CEO of UWNCM, Ron generously offered to match dollar for dollar any new Tocqueville gifts to our United Way.
Soon after, the UWNCM Alexis de Tocqueville Society was launched. Today, our Tocqueville society is the largest among our size United Ways in the country, thanks to the vision and collaboration of Ron Ansin, John Brisbois and Phil Grzewinski.
Ensuring That Our Nonprofits Survive the Pandemic
By Kory Eng and Stephen Adams
The COVID-19 crisis is ever so slightly relaxing its grip on our lives. But as we begin to breathe a little easier, it is clear the pandemic is leaving in its wake a potentially more lasting and dangerous crisis — the hollowing out of our nonprofit sector. Only decisive and sustained action to shore up our nonprofits will avert a sharp decline in the quality of life across North Central Massachusetts.
We are privileged to lead two of the region’s funder organizations. It has been remarkable to see people and institutions come together to fight the pandemic and its community-crushing effects. We have gained a deep appreciation for how important nonprofits are to sustaining the lives of our region’s vulnerable residents. In these few short months, our two organizations have partnered with over 50 nonprofit agencies to fight food and financial insecurity, bring vital mental health services to individuals in need and combat the insidious isolation the virus has forced on our seniors.
At the same time, dozens more organizations have been stalled or sidelined by the pandemic. Our historical societies, arts and music centers, youth organizations and childcare centers are staggering under the dual challenge of the loss of revenue from the economic lockdown and the costs of reopening in the lingering COVID-19 environment. Together, these organizations hold the fabric of our communities and region together, and they are in trouble.
Congress, acknowledging the critical role non-profit organizations serve in our community as well as their significant contributions to the overall economy, included nonprofits in the $670 billion Paycheck Protection Program run by the Small Business Administration. But many have been shut out of the financial aid by a complicated application process and concerns that they may not meet the criteria for loan forgiveness.
An enormous amount of philanthropy has gone to addressing immediate COVID-related needs, and necessarily so. Still, across North Central Massachusetts, and across America critical organizations have had to cut or eliminate services due to a sharp decline in grants and donations, the cancellation of fundraising events and loss in fee-based revenue. A recent survey of local nonprofit organizations found that close to 60% reported significant funding losses as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, with 55% reporting the need to reduce services as a result of these losses.
This strain has created considerable concern among our area’s non-profit leaders about their ability to meet the needs of the people and communities they serve in light of an eroding resource environment and continuing need for support. As we look ahead to 2021, it is very likely that there will be fewer dollars available to meet the needs of vulnerable people and to sustain our quality of life in our region and across the nation.
A recent analysis by Candid estimates that between 11% and 38% of nonprofits across the US will fail in the next 36 months. Without aggressive action to support our nonprofit sector, we risk the erosion of a critical safety net upon which thousands of local residents rely, and the deterioration of the quality of life for all who live in North Central Massachusetts.
Given the unprecedented depth and breadth of the COVID-19 pandemic, Congress continues to debate the need for recovery financing. However, whether, when and how much support we can expect from Washington remain open questions. In the meantime, it is important that we solidify our efforts to build a COVID-19 recovery strategy.
Addressing the post-COVID challenge will require an enormous degree of collaboration between civic and municipal groups across North Central Region. Together we should begin to (1) develop a sense of the scale of the financial challenge confronting the region’s nonprofit organizations; (2) establish an approach to setting priorities for directing resources; and (3) scope out potential sources of financial support to meet the challenge.
The people and institutions of North Central Massachusetts have already demonstrated a strong desire to see the region through this difficult time. Donations of time and treasure and unprecedented levels of collaboration and ingenuity have helped dampen the worst effects of the pandemic on vulnerable neighbors.
Despite our COVID-19 fatigue, it is time to turn our attention to preserving the vulnerable nonprofit organizations that help enrich the quality of life in North Central Massachusetts.
Kory Eng is the President and CEO of the United Way of North Central Massachusetts. Stephen Adams is the President and CEO of the Community Foundation of North Central Massachusetts.
As published in the Sentinel & Enterprise on August 16, 2020.
For More Information on Tocqueville Society, contact Jody Athanasiou, Director of Resource Development at or (978) 345-1577, Ext. 306.

United Way fights for the health, education and financial stability of every person in every community. We have one life. To live better, we must LIVE UNITED®.

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