Verna Marie Kyle Hall was born in Gibsland, Louisiana. Verna’s love for serving others dates back to her high school days where she regularly volunteered. She attended North Texas State University and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. She was also certified to teach, but never did. Verna’s professional career as a legal secretary and oil and gas secretary continued until the birth of her son, Kyle. After that, her community volunteer mission began.

Verna and her husband, George moved to Tyler, Texas after George’s stint in the army. Verna’s first community project in Tyler was to help with a benefit garage sale and the rest is Tyler history. Verna began volunteering with United Way in the early 1970’s. During her years as United Way’s Leadership Giving Chair, Verna has been directly responsible for over $4,000,000 in donations to help people in Smith County.  She says, “If you don’t ask you won’t get it.  And yes, being turned down hurts.”  But she believes deeply in the cause, or she wouldn’t ask.

Verna and George are long time volunteers and Leadership Donors to United Way. In 1993, Verna received the Alexis de’ Tocqueville Award, United Way’s most prestigious recognition, in honor of her dedication and service; and in 2008, she was awarded the United Way President’s Spirit of Excellence Award. Verna’s other honors include the Tyler Junior College Apache Club Volunteer of the Year Award (1992); the President’s Citation Award from the University of North Texas (1992); Tyler Masonic Lodge #1233 Community Builder Award; East Texas Crisis Center honoree (2004); and recognized by the Women in Tyler as one of the “Women Who Care” (2014). Verna’s acts of giving stem from her belief that she receives the richness of life by giving to others.

United Way of Smith County’s leadership giving program, the Admiral’s Club, was started in 1990 by Tylerite’s Norman Shtofman and Bill Martin. To memorialize Verna’s continued commitment to the work of United Way, the new leadership giving program debuted in 2014 as the Verna K Hall Leadership Circle and Verna was named Chair Emeritus.

Our Leadership Giving Levels

Leadership Givers are generous community members who give $1,000 or more annually to the United Way. They significantly deepen the impact for the community, and provide nearly 30 percent of our annual funds raised.

How to join

  • Pledge or give through your workplace campaign
  • Pledge or give online
  • Mail in your pledge or gift to: United Way of Smith County, 4000 Southpark Drive, Tyler, TX, 75703
  • Contact Reece Anderson with any questions at 903-581-6376 or



As a Leadership Giver, you are the heart and soul of United Way. You want to help people. You want to make our community the best place to live and work. Leadership givers are invited to attend our annual celebration luncheon and recognized through our annual report as a member of our Leadership Giving Societies.

Honoring Donors of $10,000 or More

The United Way Tocqueville Society was formed in March of 1984 to deepen individual understanding of, commitment to, and support of United Way’s work: advancing the common good by creating opportunities for a better life for all. The Tocqueville Society recognizes local philanthropic leaders and volunteer champions around the world who have devoted time, talent, and funds to create long-lasting changes by tackling our communities’ most serious issues.

Membership in the Tocqueville Society is granted to individuals who contribute at least $10,000.00 annually to United Way.

Specifically, the United Way Tocqueville Society aims to:

  • Change lives through philanthropic leadership by focusing on the building blocks for a better life: a quality education that leads to a stable job; income that can support a family through retirement, and good health
  • Communicate the vital role of personal philanthropic action in creating long-lasting changes by addressing the underlying causes of societal problems
  • Enhance local recognition of long-standing service volunteers
  • Foster philanthropic action and voluntary community service

Only 26 years old when he came to America in 1831, Alexis Charles-Henri de Tocqueville traveled extensively, recording his observations of life in the young nation. Though he only spent nine months in the United States, he gleaned an insightful view of American society. His observations, readings and discussions with eminent Americans formed the basis of Democracy in America, a detailed study of American society and politics published in two volumes, in 1835 and 1840.

Tocqueville recognized, applauded, and immortalized American voluntary action on behalf of the common good. He wrote: “I must say that I have seen Americans make a great deal of real sacrifices to the public welfare; and have noticed a hundred instances in which they hardly ever failed to lend a faithful support to one another,” eloquently capturing the essence of personal philanthropy that persists, almost three centuries later. The observation on philanthropy made by Alexis de Tocqueville in 1831 is true today; Americans understand that advancing the common good means creating opportunities for a better life for all. The name Tocqueville Society was chosen because of Alexis de Tocqueville’s admiration for the spirit of voluntary association and effort toward its advancement.