Whittier Family

Net Worth: $800 million

Source of Wealth: Oil

Residences: San Marino, Bel Air and Pasadena

About 60 members

The Whittier family has one priority charity.

The family set up its own foundation in 1955 that gives large contributions to medical research and education. Over the past 43 years, it has given money to USC, UCLA, Caltech, Childrens Hospital Los Angeles and the Doheny Eye Institute, to name a few.

Members of the Whittier family also set up the I Have A Dream Foundation in Los Angeles, which gives out college scholarships and works to prevent at-risk kids from dropping out of school.

Linda Blinkenberg, a long-time family friend and director of the Whittier Family Foundation in South Pasadena, said the family is firmly committed to philanthropic projects. But the Whittiers like to do it all in secrecy. The family shuns any publicity.

"The family members like to keep a very low profile," said Blinkenberg. "They do not want or need to get credit for their community work."

Some family members have even gone as far as avoiding having their home addresses printed on driver's licenses.

The Whittiers are descendants of Mercios H. Whittier, who co-founded Belridge Oil in 1911. Whittier bought an option on property in Bakersfield after oil was discovered seeping from the ground. Whittier stayed president of Belridge until 1925.

Two family members sold their shares in the 1930s to Texaco and Mobil. Then in 1979, the Whittier, Green and Buck families sold out to Shell for $3.6 billion; at the time, it was the biggest takeover ever. The families netted about $475 million.

Often the family is mistakenly associated with the town of Whittier, home to former President Richard Nixon. There is no connection; the town was named after the poet John Greenleaf Whittier.

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