NET WORTH: $1.49 billion
SOURCE OF WEALTH: GAMCO Investors
FUNDING AREAS: Education, Youth, Health
OVERVIEW: Mario Gabelli moves his philanthropy through the Gabelli Foundation, which did about $2.6 million in grantmaking in a recent fiscal year. Gabelli has been laser-focused on education with his philanthropy, including millions given to alma mater Fordham University, which named its business school for him. He's also given millions to Columbia, University of Nevada and Boston College, among others. Gabelli also supports K-12 education, including Catholic schools. Another interest of this funder is health. Gabelli's philanthropy tends to follow places where he and/or his company have ties, including New York, Connecticut and Nevada.
BACKGROUND: Raised in the Bronx by Italian immigrant parents, Mario J. Gabelli received a bachelor's degree from Fordham and an MBA from Columbia Business School. He founded GAMCO Investors in the 1970s, which currently holds close to $40 billion in assets. Gabelli is on the Forbes billionaire list. He lives in Greenwich, Conn.
EDUCATION: Gabelli's philanthropy has heavily featured education, particularly higher education. He gave $25 million to his alma mater Fordham in 2010, which renamed its business college the Gabelli School of Business. In each of the three most recent tax years available, moreover, the Gabelli Foundation has given at least $1 million to Fordham. A Ph.D. program was recently launched at the Gabelli School of Business as a result of his philanthropy.
In 2013, Gabelli pledged $15 million to Columbia Business School towards the school's new Manhattanville facilities. Gabelli has also given more than $1 million to Roger Williams University, Rowan University, University of Nevada-Reno and Boston College, where Gabelli's daughter graduated. Gabelli recently gave $10 million to Boston College. Gabelli's foundation has also supported Teachers College, Pace University, UConn Foundation, NYU School of Sports Management, American University, Ithaca College and the Gregorian University Foundation.
At the K-12 level, the Gabelli Foundation has recently funded outfits such as Ursuline School in New Rochelle, where a library at the school bears the family's name. Other gifts have gone to Bishop Manogue Catholic High School in Reno, Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas, Iona Prep School, Fordham Preparatory School, Greenwich Country Day School, and Holy Trinity RC School in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
YOUTH: Recent Gabelli Foundation grants have supported various Boys and Girls Clubs.
HEALTH: Gabelli also earmarks funds for health organizations. Recent grantees include Breast Cancer Alliance, Autism Speaks, St. Jude Children’s Hospital, and For The Kids Foundation in Reno, a "nonprofit dedicated to providing financial aid and assistance to children in Northern Nevada with specific unmet needs such as medical, dental, mental health, or educational services for which other resources are insufficient or nonexistent."
LOOKING FORWARD: Gabelli is in his 70s and has made education his philanthropic priority. Expect this to hold. It's worth mentioning that Gabelli's daughter Elisa is the foundation's president. Elisa has been involved with Gamco, and should be watched closely down the line. This family has over a billion dollars waiting in the wings, so continued giving can be expected.
The Gabelli Foundation does not provide a clear avenue of contact, but below is an address:
Gabelli Foundation, Inc.
165 W. Liberty St.
Reno, NV 89501