Vanguard is described as "the forefront of an action or movement". Members of The Vanguard Leadership Giving Program aid in achieveing United Way of Greater Lafayette's mission of mobilizing our community to improve lives. Vanguards are donors who contribute $1,000 or more to United Way each year. There are six levels of Vanguard Leadership Giving:
- Pearl Level: $1,000 to $1,499
- Topaz: $1,500 - $1,999
- Sapphire: $2,000 - $3,499
- Ruby: $3,500 to $4,999
- Emerald: $5,000 to $9,999
- Alexis de Tocqueville Society: $10,000 and up
The Vanguard Leadership Giving Program began with a grant from Great Lakes Chemical Corporation, now Great Lakes Solutions a Chemtura Company, in 1987. Three community leaders worked together to start this program. The first Vanguard Chairman was Jim Risk of Kirby Risk Corporation. With some help from his friends, Mr. Risk began to cultivate The Vanguard. He had recruited 116 charter members. This first group of Vanguard Donors contributed $163,400. Over the years the Vanguard Leadership Giving Program has grown significantly and tiday raises more than $1.6 million with 940 members.