Alumni couple endow LaunchBox leadership with $ 1 million lead donation to Innovation Hub


UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa .– Penn State alumni Jack and Dossy White have pledged a $ 1 million donation to appoint family manager Jack White for Happy Valley LaunchBox powered by PNC Bank. This pledge is the primary donation of fundraising efforts for the new Penn State Innovation Hub in downtown State College, Pennsylvania.

The Whites donation will be combined with a one-on-one college match to form an endowment of $ 2 million. This fund will support the recruitment and retention of innovative leaders for Happy Valley LaunchBox, which provides programs and resources to support local entrepreneurs. It will also provide flexible funding that will allow current director Lee Erickson and future directors of the Jack White family to realize their vision of Happy Valley LaunchBox, which is part of the Invent Penn State initiative.

The brand new Penn State Innovation Hub is slated to open in October. This newly constructed six-story, 85,000-square-foot building on South Burrowes Street will house Happy Valley LaunchBox, currently located on South Allen Street, and will house cutting-edge entrepreneurial and innovation resources, including makerspaces, a reality lab / immersive technology, student club storage, a sixth floor vantage point / event space and collaboration areas. Several nomination opportunities will be available for donors who wish to support the enhanced programming and resources that the new facility will make possible.

“Jack and Dossy White understand the value of entrepreneurship and innovation, and they also understand the importance of strong leadership in any business,” said James Delattre, associate vice president for research and director of Office of Entrepreneurship and Marketing. “Their gift – in itself a remarkable example of philanthropic leadership – will ensure that the current and future directors of Happy Valley LaunchBox have the resources they need to maintain the momentum we have already created and develop in new ways. meet the needs of entrepreneurs. in our community. We are deeply grateful to Whites for their generosity and vision. “

Jack White, a native of the Pittsburgh area, and Dossy White, a native of San Diego, Calif., Met at Penn State in the late 1960s. Jack played football for Penn State and has the singular distinction of scoring the Nittany Lions’ very first touchdown under head coach Joe Paterno, in the first game in which Paterno officially held the post, on September 17, 1966.

After graduating from Penn State’s College of the Liberal Arts in 1966 with a general degree in arts and sciences, Jack continued his education in dentistry at the University of Pittsburgh and Dossy graduated, also in general arts and sciences. , at Penn State in 1971. The couple then moved to San Diego, where he began his career as a dentist, first for the US Navy and then in his private practice for more than 40 years. Dossy raised their three children, worked as a school administrator and in other positions and was long active in various community organizations.

“Our family has been very lucky in entrepreneurship, and we wanted to pay it forward, so to speak,” said Jack White. “I think it’s extremely important to spread new ideas, and young people in particular have so many new ideas. But they often don’t know how to take advantage of it. Happy Valley LaunchBox offers a comprehensive program, with mentoring, legal advice, and other types of support for potential entrepreneurs. I think it’s wonderful that young people can benefit from all of this.

“We have several entrepreneurs in our family, so we’ve seen this process firsthand,” Dossy White said. “We saw what our son Jack went through when he co-founded a company called Ballast Point Brewing: he had a great idea, and it was very successful, but he was mostly flying by the seat of his pants. , with little advice or guidance. . We’re excited that by supporting Happy Valley LaunchBox we’re helping give other entrepreneurs access to the kind of advice and resources Jack didn’t have. This will not only make the process easier, but also give them a better chance of being successful in the market. “

Happy Valley LaunchBox offers free business advice, legal and intellectual property advice, coworking and meeting space, and structured startup accelerator programs. All services are accessible to everyone: students, teachers and members of the community.

“We work to reduce risk and accelerate early stage start-ups, and a big part of that makes entrepreneurship accessible,” said Lee Erickson, director of the Jack White family of Happy Valley LaunchBox. “It means demystifying it and giving entrepreneurs concrete, actionable steps to succeed. We teach them entrepreneurship, help them understand risks and empower them to make their own decisions.

“The gift of white people is really going to amplify our ability to do all of this,” Erickson continued. “This will provide ongoing salary support for the director position, which will enable me and the directors who will come later to carry out our work, which includes providing individual advice, organizing teams of aspiring entrepreneurs, organizing lecture series and much more. It will also make flexible funds available that can be used, for example, to develop new programs that educate and engage entrepreneurs in innovative ways.

“The success of Happy Valley LaunchBox so far owes a lot to Lee’s leadership,” said Delattre. “Ultimately, she’ll move on, and the challenge in choosing future directors will be finding leaders who have similar entrepreneurial experience, interpersonal skills, and an understanding of how to mentor – skills that are very valuable in the private sector. The prestige of an appointed director position, and what it says about Penn State’s commitment to Happy Valley LaunchBox, will be instrumental in recruiting top talent in the future.

The Penn State Innovation Hub is one of 21 innovation centers on Penn State campuses across Pennsylvania. The university twinning was provided through the Economic Development Incentives Matching Program, which leverages funds from the State of Pennsylvania for selected initiatives that will spur job and business creation in the Commonwealth. Both programs are part of Invent Penn State, a Commonwealth-wide initiative to spur economic development, job creation and student career success that was started in 2015 by Penn State President Eric J Barron and which has become a centerpiece of his tenure at the University. .

This high level focus was essential for whites in considering their gift. “We have been truly impressed with President Barron’s vision for this initiative and the commitment he has shown to bring it to fruition,” said Jack White. “It’s really important that someone of their stature take a leadership role in this area, and it’s a great bonus that the University matches our funds to double the size of our endowment.

“Penn State has been great with us and we’re very happy to be able to give back in this way,” he added.

The White Gift will also advance “A Great Penn State for 21st Century Excellence,” a targeted campaign that aims to elevate Penn State’s position as a leading public university in a world defined by rapid change. and global connections. With the support of alumni and friends, “A Greater Penn State” seeks to meet the three key imperatives of a 21st century public university: keeping the doors of higher education open to hard-working students, whatever their financial well-being; create transformative experiences that go beyond the classroom; and impact the world by serving communities and fueling discovery, innovation and entrepreneurship.

To learn more about “A Great State of Pennsylvania for 21st Century Excellence,” visit Greaterpennstate.psu.edu.

Donations to support the LaunchBox and Invent Penn State’s Innovation Hub network, as well as some economic development initiatives across the Commonwealth, are a campaign priority, and two opportunities to leverage University funds – the LaunchBox Matchmaking Program and Economic Development Matchmaking Program – are available until the end of “A Greater Penn State” on June 30, 2022, or until the support pool is exhausted. For more information on how to gift and get correspondence, contact Heather Winfield at [email protected]

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