Gerry Neugent, co-chairman of the board and former CEO of Knapp Properties, was selected as this year’s winner of the prestigious Tocqueville Society Award from United Way of Central Iowa. This award is the organization’s highest honor, given annually by past awardees to an individual or household who exemplifies inspirational, sustained leadership and service to the central Iowa community.

“I am humbled and honored to be the 2020 Tocqueville Award recipient,” said Gerry. “United Way of Central Iowa makes a huge impact on meeting the challenges facing our community and its most vulnerable residents. I am proud to be a part of it.”

The award was presented at the annual Tocqueville Society Celebration on September 30, which was held virtually this year, sponsored by Ryan Companies. The celebration recognizes the more than 430 central Iowa Tocqueville Society members and households comprising United Way's premier philanthropic society, who annually invest $10,000 or more in the community through United Way of Central Iowa in the areas of health and human services.

Watch: Gerry's Acceptance of 2020 Tocqueville Society Award 

“Gerry is the ultimate connector. When our community is facing a problem or a challenge, if he can bring resources together to improve the lives of central Iowans, he’s all in,” said Tom Mahoney, chairman of the board and former CEO of ITA Group and 2020 United Way Campaign cabinet member. “He is genuinely as nice a man as you’ll meet and has devoted his life to giving people in need a hand up. Gerry is incredibly dedicated to uniting our community and showing us the way. I congratulate him on being recognized as this year’s award winner. He has made central Iowa better and stronger.”

Gerry has contributed to United Way of Central Iowa at the Tocqueville Society membership level since 2005 and has been a donor since 1997. He has made a long-term commitment as the Give Chair on the United Way of Central Iowa Executive Committee and as the Vice-Chair of the annual campaign in 2018. In serving as Chair of the 2019 United Way Campaign Cabinet, his leadership lead to tremendously positive financial results for the campaign, which have allowed United Way of Central Iowa to respond to our communities urgent and current needs.

In addition to his duties at Knapp Properties, Gerry enjoys participating in many community, civic and professional activities outside of United Way. He currently serves as a Director of American Equity Investment Life Insurance Company and Iowa State Bank. He is past Chair of the Greater Des Moines Partnership, President of the Des Moines Community Playhouse, the Des Moines Public Library Foundation, the West Des Moines Community Enrichment Foundation and has served on many other city and community boards.

“Gerry is one of the most influential, dedicated, and caring individuals I know – and one of the humblest,” says Elisabeth Buck, president of United Way of Central Iowa. “His 23-year engagement with United Way of Central Iowa as a donor, volunteer, and advocate has made an immeasurable impact in our community and in our fight for the health, education, and financial stability of every central Iowan.”

Tocqueville Society with United Way of Central Iowa

Since its inception in 1984, Tocqueville Society members have contributed more than $94 million to improving the health, education, and financial stability of central Iowans. More than 430 Tocqueville members give $10,000 annually to create measurable and lasting change to central Iowa’s most pressing issues. Join this prestigious group of central Iowa leaders by donating at this impactful level through your workplace campaign, donor advised funds, stock, or If you would like to discuss giving options, including the Tocqueville Society Step-Up program, it would be my pleasure to speak with you and share more about how your gift will make a difference in our community. Please connect with me at

TAGS: Tocqueville Society

Sara Kurovski

About The Author: Sara Kurovski

Sara Kurovski is the director of United Way of Central Iowa's Tocqueville Society.