nonprofits_4 Alan and Lee Ann White (rear) with scholarship recipients Neesha Nama and Zach Grant at the PlainsCapital headquarters. photography by Holt Haynsworth

LEE ANN AND ALAN WHITE: “We Get Back Tenfold What We Give”

Lee Ann and Alan White have firsthand experience in supporting and benefiting from philanthropy. It was 20 years ago, during her previous marriage to a Dallas plastic surgeon, that Lee Ann was confronted with the fact that her son Michael was struggling with alcohol and drug abuse. Suddenly she found herself divorced and trying to make ends meet while helping Michael conquer his demons. Then, in 2002, her life changed when she married Alan, a successful Lubbock banker. With Alan joining them on a journey that saw Michael in and out of treatment centers, Lee Ann’s son became sober five years ago, thanks to the 12-step program.

Says Lee Ann, a native of Monette, Ark.: “For me, I felt like it was my responsibility to give back and to help other people who suffer with this same type of disease.” Her solution was to throw herself into a record-breaking fundraising effort for CARE (Chemical Awareness Resources Education) with Alan by her side.   

But that shouldn’t surprise anyone. “Alan has been in the banking business for over 30 years, and he’s always felt it was very important to give back to the community,” Lee Ann says of her husband, who started out as a part-time teller while attending Texas Tech University and eventually founded PlainsCapital Bank. 

Since moving the PlainsCapital headquarters from Lubbock to Dallas in 2001, the Whites’ involvement in the community has gone beyond financial support. They’ve provided elbow grease and brainpower for Baylor Medical Center, Dallas Arboretum, Super Bowl XLV, CARE, Crystal Charity Ball, Cattle Baron’s, the Laura W. Bush Institute, Texas Tech, and Highland Park Methodist.

Another resource that the Whites bring to their philanthropic endeavors: their connections. Friends like Gene and Jerry Jones and Madeleine and T. Boone Pickens respect and trust Lee Ann and Alan for their knowledge and experience in working with nonprofits.

But philanthropy, the Whites admit, is a two-way street. “It’s a learning curve for me,” Lee Ann says. “Just like anything else, we get back tenfold what we give.”