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United Way of Central Maryland Honors Greater Baltimore’s Top Philanthropists, Volunteers at Tocqueville Society Event

Tent at Toast to Tocqueville

Baltimore, Md. (May 20, 2022)United Way of Central Maryland recently held a Tocqueville Society event, celebrating the philanthropy and volunteerism of dedicated community members, at Sagamore Spirit. Honorees include Ellen and Ed Bernard, who received the Philanthropists of the Year award, and Jim Brinkley, who received the Mark Furst Volunteer of a Lifetime award. They were joined by McCormick & Company, which was honored as Organization of the Year.  

“We are fortunate to have such extraordinary leaders and corporate partners dedicated to supporting United Way’s work to strengthen lives and our communities,” said Franklyn Baker, president and CEO, United Way of Central Maryland. “Jim, the Bernards, and McCormick & Company are among the most generous and dedicated philanthropists in our area who help make our work possible. Without their generous support, we would not be able to continue our work improving access to basic needs like food, housing, healthcare and jobs.” 

Each honoree has a well-known commitment to serving the community and continuing to inspire and encourage others to improve lives.  

Ed and Ellen Bernard have been involved in many institutions in the area, including Baltimore Center Stage, BaltimoreFranklyn Baker and Ed and Ellen Bernard Community Foundation, Baltimore Women’s Giving Circle, T. Rowe Price, The Walters Art Museum, and more. They have been Tocqueville Society members for 23 years and recently joined United Way’s Million Dollar Round Table, representing a new generation of philanthropy and engagement in our region. The pair is one of the area’s most generous couples dedicated to improving greater Baltimore.  

Franklyn Baker and Jim Brinkley  Jim Brinkley, who has supported United Way for 30 years,   received the Mark Furst Volunteer of a Lifetime award, named   in honor of the former United Way of Central Maryland  president and CEO who died in 2019. Jim recently retired from Morgan Stanley and has been an active member in many local, state,and national   organizations, including Legg Mason, Greater Baltimore Committee, Maryland Academy   of Science, Business Volunteers Maryland, and many others. He understands the power   of changing lives through volunteering and supporting community members in need. 

McCormick & Company, which was honored as the Organization of the Year, has beenFranklyn Baker and Lawrence E. Kurzius committed to supporting United Way of Central Maryland for almost 100 years. Willoughby McCormick, founder of McCormick & Company, was part of the group who helped start United Way of Central Maryland in 1925. Since then, the two organizations have partnered to help provide what’s needed in the community, including access to healthy food and wellness education. McCormick encourages staff to show their commitment to our local communities through volunteerism and by raising more than $1.76 million for United Way. 

This year’s honorees were presented with a unique work of art designed by a student from Benjamin Franklin High School which is the core of United Way’s Neighborhood Zone in South Baltimore. He created illustrations that depict the inspiration he receives from his community. 

The Tocqueville Society was established to recognize those who have rendered outstanding service as supporters and volunteers in their community and invested $10,000 or more annually. The Society also exists to promote community service and to recognize the value this service has to our nation. The Tocqueville Society is named after Alexis de Tocqueville, a 17th-century French diplomat and historian, who lauded the commitment to the common good he witnessed on a tour of America. 

United Way of Central Maryland’s Tocqueville Society has recognized outstanding individuals and organizations at its annual event since 1987.  


United Way of Central Maryland helps the working poor and those in poverty access basic needs like housing, healthcare, jobs, and education. The nonprofit’s programs promote equity, create opportunity, and improve the lives of our neighbors and the neighborhoods they call home. For nearly 100 years, United Way has tackled the toughest challenges in Baltimore City and Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Harford and Howard counties. Learn more at