If you haven’t heard of Charles Dolan, maybe you’ve heard of his more public son, James Dolan, the 61-year-old owner of the New York Knicks. The storied NBA franchise and the Dolan family were in the news recently when Knicks legend Charles Oakley was kicked out of the “World’s Most Famous Arena” during a game.
Born in Cleveland, nonagenarian Charles Dolan attended John Carroll University before dropping out and entering the telecommunications field. He got his start cutting sports highlight reels for Cleveland-area television. In 1972, he started Home Box Office (HBO) as a nationwide pay TV service, and later organized Cablevision Systems Corporation, which sold in 2016 for $17.7 billion. Dolan, whose net worth is pegged at $4.7 billion by Forbes, owns stakes in Madison Square Garden, the New York Knicks, the New York Rangers and AMC Networks.
Dolan has steered some of his wealth into philanthropy. In 2000, Charles and wife Helen pledged $20 million to John Carroll University, home to the Dolan Science Center. Dolan also chairs Lustgarten Foundation, which supports pancreatic cancer research. The foundation is named in honor of the late Marc Lustgarten, who rose to serve as vice chairman of Cablevision and chairman of Madison Square Garden.
Dolan and family also move philanthropy through the Dolan Family Foundation and the Dolan Children’s Foundation, whose grantmaking often focuses on New York institutions, particularly on Long Island. Grantees include places like Autism Speaks, Youth Family Counseling Agency, Stony Brook Foundation, Pomfret Historical Society, Sisters of St. Dominic of Amityville and St. Ambrose Parish.
Down the line, we’ll keep apprised of the couple’s kids. James Dolan is not listed on recent public tax records for the family’s foundations, but could be a force here. Son Thomas, meanwhile, has been associated with Dolan Children’s Foundation. For a full overview of Dolan’s giving, read our profile linked below.