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Michele Griswell named 2012 Tocqueville Society Awardee


Michele Griswell has been named the 2012 Tocqueville Society Awardee. The award is United Way of Central Iowa’s highest honor, given annually to one individual or family who exemplify inspirational and sustained service to the central Iowa community through United Way. Tocqueville Society recognizes annual contributions of $10,000 or more to United Way.

The award was presented in the annual Tocqueville Society event on October 27. Griswell was selected by past Tocqueville Society awardees.

Griswell was one of the founding members of United Way Women’s Leadership Connection (WLC) in 2002.  In the decade since, she’s helped WLC grow to over 600 members, raising a total of over $10 million to improve central Iowa’s network of learning centers for young children in lower-income neighborhoods. She’s also been an advocate on behalf of young children through the WLC Advisory and Advocacy committees, encouraging legislators to enact legislation benefitting Iowa’s young children.

In 2005, Michele and Barry Griswell launched the Griswell Family Challenge, which matched new and increased contributions to WLC. That same year, they were leaders in United Way Worldwide’s launch of Born Learning, a national awareness campaign on the power of parents to be their child’s first and best teacher.

Later, Michele was selected to serve on United Way Worldwide’s National Women’s Leadership Council, where her energy and passion inspired growth in women’s philanthropy throughout the United Way network.

Michele, Barry and other United Way leaders traveled to India in 2008 and London in 2011, where they were integral in establishing a United Way presence in those countries.

“Thanks to Michele, many thousands of children have grown, learned and flourished in safe, positive and enriching environments. She’s given children opportunity where they had none; she’s helped families care for their children in ways they otherwise could not,” says United Way President Mary Sellers.

"I’m humbled to be recognized by United Way and my friends in Tocqueville Society. Nothing is more important than our work on behalf of the children in our community. I’m grateful for the many opportunities to serve. I feel like I’ve received so much more in return than I could ever give, myself,” Griswell says.

The Tocqueville Society award recipient is selected by a panel of past recipients. Previous awardees are:

Marvin Pomerantz* – 1985

Robb Kelley* – 1986

David Kruidenier* – 1987

Maddie Levitt* – 1988

Robert Houser* – 1989

William C. Knapp – 1990

Robert E. Larson – 1991

Bob Burnett – 1992

Johnny Danos – 1994

Evelyn Davis* - 1995

John R. Grubb* - 2000

Sunnie Richer - 2002

J. Barry Griswell – 2003

Roger Brooks - 2004

Suku Radia - 2005

Patty & Jim Cownie – 2006

Steve Lacy - 2007

Fred & Charlotte Hubbell - 2008

Steve Chapman – 2009

David & Barb* Hurd – 2010

Cara Heiden — 2011


* Deceased


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