Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1937, he was the only child of Nathaniel Ridgway White, a business writer and editor for the Christian Science Monitor, and Mary Lowndes White, a civil engineer. He grew up in Westchester County, New York, and Boston. After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts from Dartmouth University in 1959, he completed a Master of Business Administration at the university’s Tuck School of Business the following year. From 1960 to 1962, he served with the United States Army.
In 1961, White married Claire Mott, a granddaughter of industrialist Charles Stewart Mott, who created the Foundation that bears his name. Eight years later, White’s father-in-law, C.S. Harding Mott, hired him as a consultant. In that role, White subsequently helped to reorganize and modernize the Foundation’s administrative, financial and grantmaking procedures.
Under White’s leadership, the Mott Foundation grew from a primarily local funder with assets of roughly $377 million to an internationally recognized philanthropy with assets of more than $3 billion.
White also served for many years as the chairman of the board of the U.S. Sugar Corporation.
White was preceded in death by his wife Claire and his son-in-law, Robert E. Lovett, Jr. He is survived by his second wife, Louise Hartwell; daughter Tiffany White Lovett; son Ridgway White (Shannon Easter White); stepdaughter Kathryn Pickett Davis (Andrew Davis); four grandchildren; and three step-grandchildren.more » « less