Boston telecom billionaire Robert Hale, who started his business by taking a loan from his parents, left 1,000 graduating students at Umass Dartmouth in complete awe by gifting them $1,000 each.

Via Facebook / @UMass Dartmouth


A billionaire earns, but a billionaire also gives. Robert Hale, the billionaire co-founder and president of Massachusetts-based Granite Telecommunications, imparted this important life lesson to the graduating class of the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. Hale didn’t just talk the talk; he made philanthropy more impactful by giving roughly 1,000 students $1,000 in cash as a gift. This splendid act of benevolence came with a teaching moment: while the first $500 was theirs to enjoy, the second $500 was to be given to charity, a needy individual, or an organization in need. The euphoria in the room was palpable as security officers carried two black duffel bags onstage packed with 3,000 envelopes labeled either “gift” or “give,” prompting several broad smiles.

Via Facebook / @UMass Dartmouth

According to The Wall Street Journal, several graduates used the no-strings-attached gift to pay down student loans, fund their travels, or cover mundane expenses. The philanthropic portion required some thoughtful consideration to make a meaningful decision. Hale emphasized that this pause was part of the point: “Maybe some of these kids don’t have the discretionary resources to give a lot of money yet. But if we can help them understand how joyous it is, then maybe that becomes a way of life for them.”

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Robert Hale. Via Facebook / @UMass Dartmouth

John Goncalves, a 21-year-old living near the school, planned to use the initial $500 to cover most of his moving expenses as he prepared to start a Ph.D. program in the fall. The other half would be equally divided between two local food pantries. “I just thought it’d probably be best to keep it in my community,” he said. Hale shared that this incredible idea was conceived during the COVID-19 pandemic when he and his wife sought a way to celebrate and inspire students who had endured tough times. “Some of the most joyous times in our lives have been when we’ve had the chance to share,” he explained. “And so we thought, if there’s a way that we could create that seed within another generation where they would get to experience the joy of giving, then maybe that becomes something that they would strive to do and be accustomed to doing and make us all a little bit better along the way.”

Robert Hale, a Boston-based billionaire with a big heart-

Fifty-seven-year-old telecom billionaire Robert Hale owns a minority stake in the Boston Celtics. He climbed the ladder of success by leveraging the technology Alexander Graham Bell patented in 1876. The regimented businessman lives his days with clockwork precision. From regularly working out at 6:30 a.m. group sessions with Granite employees at the company gym, bingeing on decaf Dunkin’ coffees, and leading a $5.4 billion empire, he does it all with sheer discipline. His ultra-successful enterprise, Granite, generated over $1.8 billion in sales in 2022, boasting two-thirds of the largest 100 U.S. companies as clients. In 1990, he started his first company, Network Plus, with a $400,000 loan from his parents.

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Robert Hale hands a cash envelope to one of the students. Via Facebook / @UMass Dartmouth

While that business was profitable from 1991 through 1998 and even turned him into a billionaire, it all came crashing down when the telecom sector cratered. Debt-strapped Network Plus went bankrupt in February 2002. Granite was born in that same year of despair as Hale leased some phone lines in the Boston area. “It was just to get in the game,” he said. “We were gonna get some customers and build a little scale, then deploy switches, much like everyone had always done.” It is safe to say Hale never looked back. In addition to his recent donations to students, Hale has donated over $270 million towards cancer research, educational institutions, and other charitable causes.

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With over 15 years of experience in luxury journalism, Neha Tandon Sharma is a notable senior writer at Luxurylaunches. Her expertise spans luxury yachts, high-end fashion, and celebrity culture. Beyond writing, her passion for fantasy series is evident. Beginning with articles on women-centric gadgets, she's now a leading voice in luxury, with a fondness for opulent superyachts. To date, her portfolio boasts more than 2 million words, often penned alongside a cappuccino.