December 10th, 2021

Board Member Profile: Service and the Road to Justice: Reginald H. White

Reginald White

The Community Foundation has, for several years now, committed itself to a set of values and principles that moves the goal of racial justice forward. As a (primarily) white-led organization; it might have fumbled — as many have — but the organization, under the leadership of George Ferrari as CEO and an ever evolving Board of Directors [with Christine Barksdale serving as the Nominating and Governance Committee Chair], has outpaced most others on its march toward fully serving what it means to be diverse, equitable, inclusive, and justice-oriented. That work has brought several board members to the organization who, as African Americans, contribute to the mission and vision of The Community Foundation and its step forward in the work of social and racial justice. Last month readers were introduced to the column with a hint of what was to come.

Meet Reginald H. White

Reginald H. White…made his way from Boston, MA, to Charlotte, NC and then back to Ithaca, NY. He works for Cornell University as the Senior Director in HR for the Research Division. He was elected by employees to a four-year term on the Cornell University Board of Trustees. He graduated from Cornell’s College of Human Ecology with a BA in Psychology and from Boston University’s Questrom School of Business with an MBA in International Business. He has lived in North Carolina, Massachusetts, Connecticut and here in Ithaca (with various stops along the way). The thread that pieces together his life’s quilt is “service.” It is a luxurious thread. He serves the community in multiple ways always asking, “How can I make a contribution?”

That question, “How can I make a contribution?” has led Mr. White down many roads to community service — from the United Way to Seattle’s Social Venture Partners (whose mission is connecting donors and social enterprises to make a greater impact). It led him to becoming a member of the New Generation of African American Philanthropists (NGAAP) in Charlotte, North Carolina. At Cornell University, Reginald has created a legacy of learning, caring, and service through coaching/consulting and working as an employee-elected member on the Cornell University Board of Trustees, serving on the Human Ecology Alumni Association (as Vice President and President), on Cornell Council, and Cornell Mosaic, and on the Presidential Task Force for Campus Climate. He is also a member (graduate chapter) of the historic fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha (our nation’s first African American fraternity that was founded at Cornell University).

Reginald shared that, “Thinking of yourself as a philanthropist…as someone who gives and changing how you see yourself is a path to human connection.” This statement informs why he joined The Community Foundation Board of Directors. He is inspired by the organization’s commitment to re-assessing…re-examining — what could be — he hopes to inform the conversation for significant impact in community that leads to healing. The root meaning of philanthropy is “the love of humanity”. That, in a phrase, about covers Reginald White’s life of service. Bringing that view into sharper focus, though, would include his commitment to community and justice and how best to meet it working at the intersections of philanthropy and healing our communities, our nation, and the world. Mr. White’s own words at the end of his interview should close out his profile. “We don’t know what we don’t know, but if we can mix curiosity and knowledge with courage and generosity; we can make a significant difference in the community.” Therein lies the road to justice.


By Patrice Lockert Anthony (writing for Black Label Consulting and Coaching

Read bios of other board members HERE