Tocqueville Society History

Mike & Susan McKnight Tocqueville Society Chairs 2005-2007 at the Tocqueville Leaders Weekend in Atlanta, GeorgiaThe United Way of Deschutes County Tocqueville Society was established in 2005 under the leadership of Mike and Susan McKnight and Executive Director Ken Wilhelm.

Mike and Susan McKnight, Co-chairs of our Tocqueville Society, attended the Tocqueville Leaders Weekend, held in Atlanta, GA in April 2007. This was an opportunity to meet with several hundred Tocqueville Society chairs from United Ways around the nation. They had the opportunity to meet and hear featured speakers and volunteers, attend learni ng sessions and enjoy networking opportunities. The highlight of the weekend was the presentation of the National Tocqueville Award to the Bill Gates Family in honor and recognition of their leadership and philanthropic support of the United Way for many years.

We are grateful for the continued commitment and generosity of our Tocqueville Society members, and for the leadership of Mike and Susan McKnight.

Mike & Susan McKnight
Tocqueville Society Chairs
2005-2007 at the Tocqueville
Leaders Weekend inAtlanta, Georgia



You’ve probably heard the phrase "extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures". The Tocqueville Society recognizes extraordinary measures of generosity that occur during ordinary times as well as extraordinary times such as those we are all experiencing today. We are honored to follow in the footsteps of two people who have made an extraordinary impact on our community Mike and Susan McKnight who championed the establishment of the Tocqueville Society of the United Way of Deschutes County and served as the chairs during its first two years. 

This year it was our privilege to witness first hand the outpouring of generosity given to those in need within our community through the members of our local Tocqueville Society. When needed most, these community supporters rose to the occasion and donated $179,810 to the annual fund raising effort. While the dollars themselves were more precious than usual, what made the gifts extraordinary was not their dimension, but the spirit in which they were offered. 

Along with the contributions we received comments that included "It’s the least I can do to help?" "I’m better off than a lot of people" "It’s needed now more than ever". 

We all know that these are very challenging times. To all the members of the Tocqueville Society who gave so generously we salute you for the extraordinary measures you’ve taken to help those members of our community most affected by these difficult times. 

John and Susan Appel
Tocqueville Society Chairs 2008-2011