White family grants $30,000 to 14 local recipients

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HANCOCK COUNTY – The White Family Foundation recently announced grants in the amount of $30,000.

Fourteen organizations throughout the county were named recipients and will receive their checks from members of the White family on July 19.

This is the tenth year the family-based fund has granted monetary awards to local organizations. The first nine years the annual grants totaled $25,000, but the amount was increased this year in recognition of the Hancock County Community Foundation’s 30th anniversary.

Tammy Settergren feels doubly blessed after having two organizations she manages named as grant recipients this year.

Friends of Hancock County CASA was awarded $1,000 while the Riley Charles Settergren Foundation, named in memory of her son, who died in a traffic accident in 2017, was awarded $1,250.

“As soon as I saw those emails (about winning the grants) I immediately teared up and thought of those conversations I’d had with Stephanie,” said Settergren, referring to Stephanie White-Longworth, who heads the foundation with her brother, Keith White.

During their grant interview, Settergren said both women got emotional talking about her son’s death as well as the Friends of CASA program, which raises funds for the program which supports children removed from their homes by the court.

“Stephanie had served as a CASA (court appointed special advocate) in the past, so she knows the value. It just goes to show that the White family isn’t just handing out money. They’re part of this community,” Settergren said.

“Their generosity to our county and how they give back is what everybody aspires to do. We’ve just been so appreciative of their generosity over the years,” she said.

Each year, two generations of the White family sit down together to assess the grant applications. Individual members then do site visits before reporting back and voting as a group.

Tammy White, who is married to Keith, said it’s a great way for the family to connect while doing something they find richly rewarding.

“It’s so gratifying and rewarding to go by (the recipients) and know that we were a part of that,” she had said last year. “We feel very fortunate. It is just wonderful to see our community flourish.”

The family fund, which is managed by the community foundation, was established to assist local community development and support initiatives that enhance the desire to “live, work and play” in Shirley and nearby surrounding communities the White family calls home.

Many of the grants awarded have supported beautification projects, building façade improvements, public safety and transportation and recreational enhancements and accessibility.

The White family’s business success can be traced back to the late Keith White, who built the family fortune by founding a chain of convenience stores, GasAmerica Services, Inc., in 1916.

His great-grandchildren – Stephanie and Keith – sold the family business in 2012 and launched Pride Investment Partners, a Greenfield-based property holding company which includes an Evolution VR gaming center and multiple Leo’s Market locations.

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