Portrait of a Philanthropist
“This guy isn’t going to be sitting around saying, ‘I wish I would have’… and that’s what I tell people,” Dave Whiteman affirms. “It’s about creating balance, so you can live for today but plan for tomorrow.” A successful financial advisor, Dave prioritizes philanthropy alongside the pursuit of his passions for nature photography, hiking, and travel.
Growing up on a dairy farm situated between Route 322 and Route 45, Dave spent his childhood getting his hands dirty, bailing straw, and making hay. During the long days, “play” seemed a foreign concept, but what developed during this time was his strong work ethic. “There’s no vacation. No trips to the beach. Work was what you did,” Whiteman said.
Recognizing he wasn’t a strong student, Dave decided to enlist in the Air Force right out of high school. “You know no one [in the school system] teaches you finance. No one teaches you business. Even today, they don’t teach people [students] about basic finance. So I figured, when I got out of the service I’d use my GI Bill to study money, and maybe someday, I might have some,” he chuckles.
His plan worked. Dave went on to enroll at Penn State and within 3 years he had earned his Finance degree. From there, he became a financial advisor and has spent the past 36 years using his education to help others learn how to reach their financial goals – including their philanthropic ones.
His first introduction to Centre Foundation was through a client leaving a bequest after her passing. The then Executive Director, Bob Potter, encouraged Dave to remain involved, allowing him to use his professional capacity to help manage the donation. Dave has since joined Campbell Society, a program that recognizes donors who plan to leave a legacy by naming Centre Foundation as a beneficiary in their estate plans. He was also recruited by Potter to join the Giving Circle, a group of philanthropists who pool their resources to make a $10,000 grant to a local organization each year.
Since becoming personally involved with Centre Foundation, Dave enthusiastically encourages clients, community members, and friends to do the same. “I always tell people, ‘If you’re not on board with Centre Gives than you need to get on board. The biggest impact that I think this organization has on our community is the Centre Gives two-day fundraiser,” he exclaims. “It’s so cool! How can you beat that match?”
In addition to inspiring philanthropic forethought within his community, a spirit of giving has been a part of his family structure since his, now adult, children were small. Dave remembers towing the kids along to ring bells for Salvation Army and doing his best impression of Kris Kringle as he packed his trunk full of toys to donate to Toys for Tots.
“My wife, Connie, is a big part of all this… you know, it’s not [just] about me. It’s not about leaving a legacy relative to the name or anything like that. I’d much rather know that when I’m gone people will [still] be able to appreciate the things I saw during my lifetime,” Dave explains. “When I give, I like to think about the areas where I can have a big impact. People. The Environment…I worry about the planet. A lot of people don’t think about the impact that they have on the planet…and I do get very frustrated when I see people that aren’t getting ahead. They’re trapped.”
Matching his creativity with his concerns for a changing world, Dave pursues photography passionately. He purchased his first camera while he was in the service and focused his work on landscapes and wildlife. When digital cameras and editing became widespread, he was able to explore how various technical adjustments would affect his shots with instant feedback. Six years ago he delved headlong into his passion, and it continues to carry him forward creatively. Photography also appeals to Dave’s inner conservationist. As he states on his website, “Our environment is changing. Our world is changing. I consider it a privilege to use my camera to document and interpret the extraordinary beauty around us – images [of scenes] that years from now may no longer exist.”
Philanthropy is a quality Dave has incorporated into every layer of his life, “It’s not about how much you have. How can you share it with other people?” he muses.