Whiteman Foundation History

Philanthropy has been a key part of the Whiteman family for generations – 4 to be specific. In 1961, Jack Whiteman, the founder of Empire Southwest, the Caterpillar dealership for Arizona and the southern tip of California, established the Edna Rider Whiteman Foundation, which he named after his mother. He believed that business has a fundamental responsibility to the community, often sharing the wisdom that, “If you take care of the farm, the farm will take care of you.” In 1999, the organization became the Whiteman Foundation.


Their focus has transformed over the years from arts and higher education to early childhood development and child welfare. In 2003, John Whiteman took over leadership of the foundation. His deep passion for early childhood education led the foundation to invest in organizations like East Valley Child Crisis Center, the Arizona Museum for Youth (now i.d.e.a. Museum), and Educare, to name a few. The current board of directors consists of John’s children Jeff, Christy and Eric.  

Whiteman 4G Foundation History

In 2006, John Whiteman created a new foundation for his 11 grandchildren; with the hope that we would experience the joy of giving back to our community. At the time, we were between 10 and 16 years old. We elected to name our new entity The Whiteman 4G Foundation because we are the fourth generation of the Whiteman Family to be involved in philanthropy. We actively worked with Grandpa John to create the foundation. He included us in all parts of how a foundation works, from meeting with lawyers to understanding what a 501(c)3 is to who is eligible to receive donations, and how to invest our money so the foundation can continue giving for years to come. We also learned skills such as how to conduct board meetings, how to strategically plan and how to elect members of the foundation into various roles. This foundation proved to be a wonderful experience for all involved.