THE PATRIOT LEDGER – From domestic violence organizations to childhood cancer, hospice care and more, the billionaire owner of Quincy-based Granite Telecommunications and his wife have turned their philanthropic efforts to small, local nonprofits this year.
Every week this year, Rob Hale and his wife, Karen, are donating $1 million to local nonprofits committed to doing good on the South Shore and beyond.
“We feel all of these organizations are great, they make an impact in the community, but they’re pretty small,” Hale said. “In most cases, they don’t have an endowment, so this is our attempt to set them up for long-term success.”
Hale said organizations should be able to invest the $1 million and pull down at least 5% back – $50,000 – per year.
“That gives them more of a stable future and it gives them the ability say, ‘OK, we know where money is coming from and we can focus on doing great work,'” Hale said.
South Shore organizations receiving gifts so far include empowerHER in Cohasset, Weymouth’s New England Wild Life Center, the NVNA and Hospice of Norwell, Dove Inc. of Quincy, the Kerry Jon Walker Fund of Hull, Quincy’s This Star Won’t Go Out, the Jett Foundation of Plymouth, Boys & Girls Clubs, South Shore Stars, the Friendship Home in Norwell and Hingham Congregational Church.
This weekend, Forbes magazine honored Hale’s yearlong project with a cover story. He was named to this year’s Forbes World’s Billionaires List in April and, as of Friday, was ranked as the 202nd richest American with a net worth of $5 billion.
Hale, a native of North Andover, founded Granite Telecommunications in Quincy in 2002, less than six months after his previous company, Network Plus, filed for bankruptcy. When Network Plus went public, Forbes named Hale as the seventh-wealthiest person in the world under the age of 40. Not long after, the company went under. Hale calls the failure a defining moment in his life and career.
Today, Granite is a $1.5 billion company that provides voice, data and other communications services to more than two-thirds of the largest 100 U.S. companies.
Granite was recognized for the fifth time this year on Forbes’ annual ranking of America’s Best Employers, has been included on the publication’s list of Best Employers for Diversity and has been ranked for years in the top three of Boston Business Journal’s most philanthropic companies in Massachusetts.
Hale is known nationwide for his philanthropy, specifically related to cancer research organizations. His company annually hosts the “Saving by Shaving” fundraising event for employees, which raises millions for Dana Farber each year.
The Hale Family Center for Pancreatic Cancer Research was established in 2016, and Forbes credits Hale with donating more than $259 million to cancer research, educational institutions and other charitable causes.
The South Shore YMCA in Quincy Center was renamed in August in honor of Rob and Karen Hale, both longtime donors. Karen Hale is a former member of the nonprofit’s board of directors. The couple recently gave $3 million to the Quincy Y, bringing their total donations to the branch to about $5 million. They’ve also donated to other branches of the South Shore YMCA.
By Mary Whitfill