United Way of Central Iowa announced on Wednesday, October 4 that Jim Brannen and Maria Volante were selected as this year’s co-recipients of the prestigious Tocqueville Society Award.

To be considered for this award, one of United Way’s highest honors, past awardees look to Tocqueville Society members who exemplify inspirational, sustained leadership and service to the central Iowa community.

“For me, being a part of United Way of Central Iowa is about giving back in a way that allows contributions to impact our entire community,” said Jim Brannen, Community Volunteer and former Chief Executive Officer of FBL Financial Group, Inc. “I’m so proud of the work we collectively have been able to accomplish through this organization.” 
Jim has contributed to United Way of Central Iowa at the Tocqueville Society membership level since 2007 and has been giving to United Way for nearly 40 years. Jim has been actively engaged with the organization, in addition to volunteering on a variety of committees and cabinets Jim served on United Way's Board of Directors from 2010-2017, and demonstrated exceptional leadership during the pandemic as United Way’s 2020 Campaign Chair.

“I am so honored to stand beside Jim as the first co-recipients of the Tocqueville Society Award,” said Maria Volante, President, Volante Consulting and United Way of Central Iowa’s Board Chair. “United Way of Central Iowa and I share the same passion of serving our community to create lasting, sustainable change in the most critical areas we face. I am so fortunate of the multiple opportunities throughout the years to stand alongside United Way and continue this work in fostering a thriving community, because to grow, to prosper, to thrive as a community, we must all LIVE UNITED.”

Maria has held numerous leadership positions within the organization, and she recently began serving as United Way of Central Iowa’s Board Chair in July. In addition to volunteering on a variety of committees and cabinets, she was the Strategic Communications Chair from 2013-2019 and co-chair of the Tocqueville Campaign Committee in 2011. Maria has also volunteered her time and talents for nearly 15 years to provide United Way’s Loaned Executives, Campaign Team, and staff with presentation and communications knowledge to further support sharing United Way’s work, message, and goals with our community and corporate partners. 

“Central Iowa is fortunate to have Jim and Maria, not only because of their generosity and care they have for everyone who lives here, but also for their commitment to create lasting, positive change,” said Mary Sellers, President of United Way of Central Iowa. “Their leadership and contributions have had immeasurable impact on our community, and we appreciate their continued dedication to serving central Iowa through United Way in such powerful ways. The results we’ve seen under their guidance are incredible and the scope of the positive change they’ve created is inspiring.”  
Jim and Maria were presented with the Tocqueville Society Award at the annual Tocqueville Society Celebration, sponsored by Holmes Murphy, held on October 4 – where United Way also celebrated raising over $7 million in 2022 by more than 400 central Iowa Tocqueville Society members who annually invest $10,000 or more to foster a thriving community through United Way of Central Iowa. 

“Jim and Maria are incredible champions for central Iowans,” said Steve Lacy, United Way of Central Iowa Give Chair, and past Tocqueville Society Award recipient. “The genuine passion Jim and Maria have for fostering a thriving community is evident by their involvement and inspiring generosity. I am honored to be a part of recognizing them with this year’s award and share my congratulations for all they’ve helped make possible for central Iowa.”

Learn More About Tocqueville Society 

Topics: Tocqueville Society

Kelly Sparks

Written by Kelly Sparks

Kelly Sparks is the Director of Tocqueville Society at United Way of Central Iowa.