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United Way Announces 2019 Tocqueville Award Recipient

Wednesday Jun 19th, 2019

UW Announces compressorUnited Way of Erie County has announced that Gwendolyn White is the 2019 Tocqueville Award recipient. The award will bepresented during the organization’s Leadership Recognition Reception at the Warner Theatre on Thursday, June 20 made possible by Northwest Bank and through a grant from the William M. & Frances Schuster Fund at the Erie Community Foundation.

This prestigious award recognizes outstanding volunteer service to our community through personal leadership and long-time commitment. The award dinner brings together Tocqueville Society (donors of $10,000+ annually), Leadership Giving Society ($1,000+ annually) and Young Leaders Society ($500+ annually and under the age of 45) members, along with past award recipients and guests of the honoree to pay tribute to the recipient of United Way’s highest honor.

Since 1983, the Tocqueville Award has been given each year to an individual whose outstanding volunteer service has demonstrated commitment and creativity and has inspired others to serve in the community. The service must have been sustained over a number of years, and should be of significance to the Erie community. Recent honorees include Jim E. Martin, Jim Ohrn, Brady Louis and Jim Dible.


Gwendolyn White went to high school in Lexington Kentucky; then attended the University of Kentucky where she studied Communications. She also attended Mercyhurst College, now University, where she studied Business Management.

Gwen is currently an Underwriting Manager at Erie Insurance Group where she has been employed for almost 34 years. In additional to her professional career, she has been and continues to be active in many community organizations. Her service to the Erie Community, in particular United Way, has been invaluable.

Gwen has served or is presently serving on the boards of many nonprofit organizations, including United Way of Erie County (details in next section), Chairperson of the GECAC Charter School, Public Member of the State Board of Dentistry, member of the North East Region of Dental Examiners, Erie County Convention Center Authority, GECAC, National Association of Insurance Professionals, Mercy Center for Women, Hotline Volunteer, Mother to Mother Volunteer, and past Board Chairperson of Bayfront NATO, Inc., and past board chair and member of the Primary Health Care board.

She is a graduate of Leadership Erie and the Continuing Education Program for Leadership Erie. She has also served on the Advisory Board for the Erie Community Foundation as well as has sat on the panel for grant reviews. She is a former member of the Community Fund Drives Committee. Gwen has also been actively involved with VisitErie, Arts Council of Erie, SafeNet, and many other organizations affecting the quality of life of others.

Gwen has been a tireless volunteer for many organizations over her career. For United Way alone, Gwen has volunteered for more than 28 years in the numerous roles.

She has served on the Board of Directors and/or Committees of United Way of Erie County. She has been Board Chair, a member of the Campaign Cabinet, Executive Committee, Community Impact Committee (former Community Building Committee), Executive Compensation and Review Committee, Governance Committee, and also the Chair of the Diversity and Inclusion Committee.

She was very instrumental in the success of Project Blueprint, a Minority Leadership Development program that was formerly operated by United Way. She also chaired “Directions”, a study assessing poverty in Erie County for United Way, helping to prioritize funding needs targeted to meet the various needs of the minority community in Erie County.

She was the presidential advisor on the Erie Conference on Community Development, has served on the Mayoral Advisory Council, and was a member of the Insurance Women’s Association and Vice Chair of the National Association for the Insurance Professional’s Board.

As a member of the Edinboro University of Pennsylvania Foundation Board, she served as Governance Chair. She is a Breast Cancer Survivor and advocate for many women’s issues. She served two board terms on the American Cancer Society and three years as board chair for ACS. She has her Six Sigma Green Delta certification and implementation and Lean Operations Champion Training.

Gwen is a member of the Shiloh Baptist Church where she has served as church treasurer and trustee. Gwen received numerous awards from various organizations throughout Erie County as well from the state of Pennsylvania when she was named one of Pennsylvania’s Best 50 Women in Business in 2001.

Additional awards include: The Black Achiever Award, The Louis J. Tullio Community Services Award, The Martin Luther King Community Service Award, The Lifetime Achievement Award from Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Mu Nu Omega Chapter, the Women Making History Award from the Mercy Center for Women, and the Our Community Matters Humanitarian Award.

In Honor of her commitment to Crushing Poverty in our region, United Way of Erie County presents the 2019 Tocqueville Award to Gwendolyn White.