NET WORTH: $2.8 billion
SOURCE OF WEALTH: Carlyle Group, Co-Founder & Chairman
FUNDING AREAS: Public Policy, Education, Arts, Catholic church,
OVERVIEW: Private but increasingly stepping into the spotlight, Daniel D'Aniello recently started a family foundation with his wife Gayle and made waves in 2014 for giving $20 million to the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank, where he's co-chair. He's also donated millions to different universities, including his alma mater, Syracuse. D'Aniello follows what he calls his “five pillars” of philanthropy: faith-based giving (food banks, housing and assisting aging priests and nuns), educational programs, free enterprise, the performing arts, and mental health research. A lot of D'Aniello's past giving has been quite private, so the full scope of his philanthropy is likely greater.
BACKGROUND: Daniel D'Aniello was born into an Italian Catholic family and was raised by his mother and grandmother. His mom supported her only child by working four jobs where the most she ever earned was $6,000 a year. D'Aniello went on to attend Syracuse and then Harvard Business School. He later worked in executive positions at Trans World Airlines, Pepsi, and Marriott before going on to cofound Carlyle Group, the successful private equity firm, with David Rubenstein and William Conway Jr. They made smart use of politically connected advisers—Bush 41 was one—and accumulated their early fortunes by purchasing defense-oriented firms.
POLICY: D'Aniello recently gave $20 million to the D.C.-based American Enterprise Institute (AEI), to help the conservative think tank move into its first permanent home in the organization’s long history. D'Aniello's personal history is key here and is consistent with AEI's beliefs in "economic freedom," "opportunity," and "enterprise." D'Aniello's work in this area sets himself apart from his business partners Rubenstein and Conway.
EDUCATION: D'Aniello has given in the millions to his alma mater, Syracuse, including a recent $20 million gift to support the construction of the National Veterans Resource Center to house Syracuse University's Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF). D'Aniello also set up the D'Aniello Entrepreneurial Internships, which provide entrepreneurial opportunities to top undergraduate and graduate students at the Whitman School of Management at Syracuse. D'Aniello, who attended Syracuse on scholarship, has said that he wants to “provide that foundation for others who are at the stage I was when I was in college."
ARTS: D’Aniello chairs the Wolf Trap Foundation, which supports the Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts, a performing arts center located on national park land in Virginia, in close proximity to where the D'Aniellos live. The couple recently supported a Wolf Trap fundraiser with $50,000 and have supported the Washington National Opera. D'Aniello mother worked as a pianist and church organist.
CATHOLIC CHURCH: D’Aniello’s major beneficiaries so far have been the local archdioceses of Washington and Arlington, Virginia. D’Aniello underwrote $4 million to expand a local seminary, and has contributed to a number of other church projects. He's a close friend of Cardinal Donald Wuerl, who also grew up in western Pennsylvania.
LOOKING AHEAD: It's worth noting that D'Aniello has said that he's not planning on signing the Giving Pledge like Rubenstein has. He also hasn't promised to give $1 billion to Washington D.C., as Conway has. But fear not. D'Aniello believes a minimum 50 percent commitment isn't enough: "If you're only going to give away 50 percent of your wealth... c'mon, I'm going to do much more than that." Once the D'Aniello Family Foundation starts ramping up its giving, expect a lot more money heading out the door.