A Tocqueville member for more than 10 years, to say Tiziana Polizio, aka “Tiz”, has volunteered with United Way Massachusetts Bay is quite an understatement. Tiz (pictured above, second from the left, with her family at the 2018 Thanksgiving Project Family Night) has reviewed grant applications of member agencies; reviewed high school student applications for the Marian L. Heard Scholarship; served as a mentor for high school students; participated in the youth review process for our Venture Fund; packed/distributed food bags at our Thanksgiving Project; and helped new parents succeed at our Baby Shower.
Professionally, Tiz is currently Senior Vice President and Managing Counsel at Brown Brothers Harriman & Co. (BBH) in Boston, joining in 2011. She’s responsible for a team supporting BBH’s U.S. Custody, Global Tax, International Risk Analysis and Administration, Network and Service Delivery groups. Prior to joining BBH, Tiz was a Senior Vice President and Managing Counsel with State Street Bank & Trust Company where she began her career in financial services.
Tiz, thanks so much for speaking with us. How did you first get involved with United Way?
I started through a workplace campaign right out of college, in 1991, when I joined State Street. I signed up to participate right away, because I was impressed by what United Way was telling us about helping those in need. And I have been following along ever since! I became a Tocqueville member around 2005.
You mentioned that a workplace giving campaign was your gateway to Tocqueville – why was that valuable early on?
State Street made giving really fun for employees in the work environment. Games, prizes, they were a great way to entice employees to participate (even if an employee couldn’t donate in a particular year). I saw that the environment of a workplace helps employees to think about giving – their money or time – and learn about how money is used to help those in need. I’m proud that BBH has the same approach.
With Tocqueville, I could really make connections and get involved with volunteer opportunities with United Way. I think if, say, you’re on the street just reading a billboard, you might not understand all the opportunities a nonprofit (like United Way) provides to its donors.
Through Tocqueville, we – the donors – get a greater return than even United Way does: we get immense opportunities to give back to our communities.
Tiz, as an active Tocqueville member, is there an event that stands out for you?
The Thanksgiving Project. Not only filling bags with food, but distributing them and meeting the families. That was an incredible experience. We’ve even made it a family affair [see photo above] with my sister, my cousin, my nieces. It’s so important for the kids to see this. Especially in this day and age, some kids have quite a lot, and may not understand need. The Thanksgiving Project helped my young nieces and nephews who are very fortunate, understand need even more.
Wow, that’s great. Can we talk about lessons learned: what has being a Tocqueville member and volunteer taught you and your family?
To help people be the best that they can be – whatever that means for them. It’s our responsibility as Tocqueville members to help who we can. Because people deserve to have a decent life. At a minimum, a roof over their head and food on the table. We can make that happen.
The more exposure the younger generation gets (like my nieces and nephews), the more they’ll learn, and the more they’ll come to understand the impact they can have in people’s lives. It’s very easy these days for some kids to focus on themselves, and they may not at first see giving opportunities. To grow up to be a decent human being, it’s not always about oneself, you need to reflect on other people’s situations. The United Way gives exposure to all this, in a very real way.
For young people starting to build careers and engage in philanthropy (and eventually Tocqueville), any advice you can offer?
Volunteering and giving can have a huge impact on future success. When you get involved with an organization like United Way of Mass Bay and the Tocqueville Society, you can lead a better life – personally and professionally. Not only will you be humbled a little, but you’ll be helping build communities that thrive. If more people had this mindset, we’d make a lot of progress in the world!
Last question, Tiz. One sentence: why is Tocqueville special to you?
I’m proud to be part of a group that is so focused on giving back.
Thank you so much for your time, and for your commitment to United Way. We truly appreciate everything you do on behalf of families in our community.