$52 million gift from Rob and Karen Hale to 52 grassroots nonprofits
Rob and Karen Hale have never had a problem with giving. The billionaire Bostonians have donated millions of dollars to charity to date, but they’ve well and truly upped the ante as of late.
The couple decided to give exactly $52 million to at least 52 nonprofits this year, which works out to be $1 million per week. The Hales have long been philanthropists and used their 10-figure fortune for good. Rob, the president of Granite Telecommunications and part owner of the Boston Celtics, is reportedly worth around $5 billion.
The couple has previously given to notable organizations, such as the Boston Children’s Hospital and Rob’s alma mater, Connecticut College, but this time around they’re supporting grassroots charities. Most of the donations will go toward establishing endowments at the various nonprofits. This pool of money essentially works to provide long-term support for the recipients, many of which have yearly revenues of less than $5 million.
“These are great, impactful organizations, but they’re on a wing and a prayer,” Rob told Forbes. “They have no financial certainty.”
The Hales wrote their first endowment check in March to the New England Wildlife Center. As of late September, the couple had donated $28.5 million to 29 organizations targeting everything from environmental issues to cancer. The Hales have also made pledges to 11 other nonprofits, which means they have to divvy up funds to 12 more before December to meet their goal. The couple hopes the recipients will invest the $1 million so that the amount grows larger over time.
Nonprofits have been hit particularly hard during the pandemic, but, fortunately, the Hales are not the only billionaires bestowing their wealth to charities. Just last month, Patagonia’s billionaire founder Yvon Chouinard donated the company to a trust and a nonprofit to direct its revenues toward the fight against climate change. According to The New York Times, Patagonia makes about $100 million in profit annually, which works out to be nearly $2 million per week. If it were a competition, Chouinard would have the Hales family beat.
In addition to leading the tremendous growth and development of the business and team at his firm Granite, Rob and his family are perhaps best known for their charitable and philanthropic work.
Rob was awarded the Boston Red Sox Jimmy Fund Award in 2014 for his long-time commitment to the lifesaving mission of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Jimmy Fund. In 2017, Rob and his wife Karen were honored by the Breast Cancer Research Foundation with the Inaugural Carolyn Lynch Humanitarian Award. In 2018, the pair were honored by Brigham and Women’s Hospital with the Heritage Key Award.
Additionally, Partners Healthcare saluted the Hale’s with the Jack Connors Philanthropic Leadership Award. For 2019, The Chronicle of Philanthropy listed the Hale’s as one of the top 15 most generous Philanthropists in America. Granite was also recognized in 2019 as the Most Charitable Company in Massachusetts.
Rob holds leadership roles at Boston Children’s Hospital, The Massachusetts Soldier’s Legacy Fund, The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Deerfield Academy, his alma mater Connecticut College and the Brigham & Women’s Hospital where he currently co-chairs the $1.5B Life Giving Breakthroughs Campaign.
Most recently Rob and the entire family of teammates at Granite hosted Drew Brees and The Governor of Massachusetts, Charlie Baker, at their annual Saving by Shaving event and together raised a remarkable $7 Million to benefit the Boston Children’s Hospital.
Rob is also an owner and Director of the 17-time World Champion Boston Celtics of the National Basketball Association and the owner of the Boston Cannons of Major League Lacrosse.
Rob and his family are very active in the community and believe deeply in giving back through their many philanthropic works. Rob lives in the Boston area with Karen and their three children.