Hundreds of Rhode Islanders—including The Honorable Lincoln D. Chafee, Governor, State of Rhode Island, and The Honorable Angel Taveras, Mayor, The City of Providence—and guests from throughout the Northeast gathered at The Westin Providence on Wednesday, June 20, 2012, to honor John Hazen White, Jr., CEO and President, Taco, Inc., for his outstanding leadership and contributions to the community. Phoenix Houses of New England presented its twelfth annual Public Service Award Luncheon which raised more than $150,000 in support of the substance abuse treatment programs and services provided by Phoenix House throughout the region.
The luncheon annually honors exceptional men and women whose achievements and dedicated service to society inspire young people struggling to transform their lives. “John Hazen White, Jr.’s commitment to the people of Rhode Island is an inspiration to all of us. He’s a community man!” said Patrick B. McEneaney, Senior Vice President, Regional Director. “You see the positive impact everywhere of Taco/The White Family Foundation’s philanthropy—from the Rhode Island Philharmonic to Women & Infant’s Hospital to Johnson & Wales to the Providence Performing Arts Center—and to countless other organizations. We thank you for your generosity and all of your contributions which enhance the quality of life in Rhode Island.”
Sheri L. Sweitzer, Chair of the Board of Directors, Phoenix Houses of New England, stated that, alarmingly, Rhode Island has some of the highest rates of teen substance use and dependency in the country. She highlighted the importance of such a heartwarming demonstration of corporate and community support for Phoenix House in the name of John White.
Ned Handy, President, Citizens Bank of Rhode Island and Connecticut, recipient of the New England Public Service Award in 2011, served as Honorary Chairman of this year’s luncheon. Thomas J. Farrell, President, Taco/The White Family Foundation, served as Chairman.
John Hazen White, Jr., CEO and President of Taco, Inc., is one of the most prominent business leaders in Rhode Island. He represents the third generation of his family to own and operate Taco, which has grown considerably under his leadership in terms of product breadth, market reach and annual sales.
Mr. White carries on the White family tradition of philanthropy as well as civic involvement and activism. He is a visiting professor at Johnson & Wales University, as well as a member of its corporation and a trustee. He is a trustee of Wheaton College and the Williston Northampton School. He has also served on the boards of the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce, Center for Performance Excellence, the Rhode Island Economic Policy Council and Van Liew Trust Company, Providence Public Library, the Rhode Island Philharmonic, and Women & InfantsHospital.
Like his father before him, Mr. White is deeply committed to education, the arts, and working to improve Rhode Island’s business and political climate. His commitment to changing Rhode Island for the better is demonstrated by his serving as creator and host of Lookout, a former public affairs television program and current bi-weekly newspaper column focusing on issues of concern to Rhode Island citizens. He also blogs at www.lookoutri.com.
Previous recipients of the New England Public Service Award include: Donna Cupelo, Region President, Verizon, Lawrence K. Fish, Chairman, President and CEO (Retired), Citizens Bank of Rhode Island, Thomas F. Gilbane , Jr., Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Gilbane, Inc., Ned Handy, President, Citizens Bank, Rhode Island and Connecticut, William F. Hatfield, Market President, Bank of America, Dean Holt, former Chairman, President and CEO, Fleet Bank Rhode Island, Joseph J. MarcAurele, Chairman, President, and CEO, The Washington Trust Company, Jaymin B. Patel, President and Chief Executive Officer, GTECH, Thomas M. Ryan, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer (Retired), CVS Caremark Corporation, Howard G. Sutton, Chairman, Publisher, President and Chief Executive Officer of The Providence Journal Company, Donald R. Sweitzer, Chairman, GTECH, and George A. Vecchione, President and Chief Executive Officer, Lifespan.