Driven by our founder’s vision, we support catalytic community projects and self-sustaining initiatives that cultivate a strong quality of life in northwest Indiana and state-wide. With the support of partners, including Legacy Foundation, Porter County Community Foundation, and Crown Point Community Foundation, we are committed to creating long-term positive change and economic impact for all to enjoy.



We work with high-performing partners to promote education, health, wellness, and economic sustainability to create vibrant communities for all to enjoy.


Education is the foundation of any thriving community, by providing knowledge and skills, we help individuals attain their aspirations and promote a more equitable society.


We promote safety through strategic partnerships, proactive initiatives, and impactful programs that foster a secure and resilient environment for all residents.


We are dedicated to improving Indiana’s quality of life. Our efforts aim to create positive and lasting impact through long-term, transformative projects.


Dean White was a humble visionary and passionate philanthropist whose legacy began when he joined his father’s billboard company in 1946. In time, he inherited a share of the business and later bought out his other shareholders. He went on to diversify the company’s business focus to include real estate and hotel development. This decision changed not only the trajectory of his life forever, but also transformed the economic landscape of countless towns and cities in northwest Indiana and across the state. Dean remained in the billboard business until its sale in 1998 and was always interested in entrepreneurial endeavors ranging from construction companies, residential, multi-unit residential, commercial real estate, insurance, and other local businesses. He lived a full, long life and died peacefully surrounded by family at the age of 93 in Crown Point, Indiana. The impact of his profound investments continues to be felt to this day through the Dean and Barbara White Family Foundation.



Born in Norfolk, Nebraska


Graduates from Merchant Marine Academy


Marries the love of his life, Barbara. Inherits his father’s billboard company, White Advertising Company in Shelby, Indiana and shifts the business’ focus to real estate and hotel development


Opens the Holiday Inn, Star Plaza concert venue, and Radisson Hotel in Merrillville, Indiana off Interstate 65 and U.S. 30.


Builds the Twin Towers in Merrillville, Indiana off Interstate 65 and U.S. 30


Helps save the Historic Crown Point, Indiana Courthouse, nicknamed the “Grand Old Lady”


Sells his billboard company to Chancellor Media Group for $960 million


Sells 100 hotels to BET founder Robert Johnson, facilitated in conjunction with Bruce White, Chairman and Founder of White Lodging, for $1.7billion


Builds Crown Point’s Morningside Subdivision


Opens the nautical-themed restaurant, Lighthouse, in Cedar Lake, Indiana


Unveils the $450 million JW Marriott Indianapolis


Contributes naming gift in conjunction with Bruce and Beth White Foundation to redevelop Purdue Northwest’s Hospitality and Tourism Management building


Becomes the first recipient of the Crown Point Patriot of the Year Award


Dies peacefully in Crown Point, Indiana. Forbes 400 names Dean No. 260 in the U.S. with a net worth of $2.5 billion


The Dean and Barbara White Foundation funds Crown Point’s new Sportsplex


The Foundation, along with Dean’s son, Bruce White, and his wife, Beth, donate $30 million to Purdue University to renovate the Union Club Hotel. The investment elevates campus hospitality, offering training and internship opportunities for Purdue students through three food and beverage outlets


The Dean and Barbara White Southlake YMCA opens. Bulldog Park opens


The renovated Union Club Hotel, 8Eleven Modern Bistro, Boiler Up Bar, and Leaps Coffee opens on Purdue University’s campus


Dean’s Italian Steakhouse opens in Charlotte, North Carolina, paying homage to the late Dean White. Purdue University launches White Lodging JW Marriott, Jr School of Hospitality and Tourism Management. Purdue Union Club Hotel gains Marriott Autograph status


Portrait of William Hanna

Executive Director
Dean and Barbara White Family Foundation

The foundation’s goal is to work with key partners to transform communities through sustainable legacy investments that enhance quality of life, promote health and wellness, stimulate economic development, increase access to high quality education and that promote broad collaboration.

Hanna is the former President and CEO of the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority (RDA). Hanna joined the RDA and the state of Indiana in 2009 and has served under the RDA board of directors and the administrations of Indiana Governors Mitch Daniels, Mike Pence, and current Governor, Eric Holcomb. During Hanna’s tenure the RDA has facilitated more than $2.4 billion in new investment in infrastructure. The RDA and a coalition of private business representatives, community leaders, labor, and federal, state, and local officials worked together in an unprecedented way to deliver the largest investment in commuter rail transportation in the state’s history

Prior to his time at the RDA, Hanna was the City Manager and Deputy Mayor for the City of Valparaiso, the Economic Development Director for Valparaiso and Vice President of the Valparaiso Economic Development Corporation.

Hanna earned his Juris Doctor from Valparaiso University, his MBA from National-Louis University in Chicago, and his bachelor’s degree in Organizational Management and Human Resources from Colorado Christian University.

His military career in the U.S. Army as an airborne qualified light infantryman (paratrooper) from 1995 to 1999 included membership in the Army’s Official Presidential Escort and service as a Sentinel (guard) and Head Trainer/Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Washington, D.C.

Hanna is a Community Foundation of Northwest Indiana (Community Health Systems) Board Member

A member of the Indianapolis Chamber Board of Directors

He is the Governor’s appointment to the following:

  • Indiana Commission on Higher Education
  • Chicago/Gary Aviation Compact
  • The Indiana Finance Authority
  • Indiana Toll Road Oversight Commission
  • Hanna was recently named one of the 250 most influential Hoosier by the Indiana Business Journal
  • He was also recently named a Sagamore of the Wabash by Governor Eric Holcomb