Telecom mogul Robert Hale and his wife, Karen, tend to do most of their grantmaking in the Boston area where the family lives and works. A while back, the couple created the New Breeze Foundation to pursue their philanthropic interests in health, human services, the environment, and other local issues.
Health, and cancer research in particular, have been big priorities for the Hales since Robert Hale Sr. passed away from the disease in 2008. Relevant past support through New Breeze has gone to the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, Brigham and Women’s Hospital (where Hale sits on the board), the Boston Children’s Hospital, and the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary.
But recently, the Hale couple announced $50 million gifts to both the Boston Children’s Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital to support patient care innovations. Specifically, the money funds building a clinical facility with a heart center, a neonatal intensive care unit, expanded surgical space, and more open and green spaces at Boston Children’s. Meanwhile, the funds for Brigham and Women's fund a patient care and research facility that addresses neurological diseases, immunologic diseases, orthopedics and arthritis, and other departments.
Both of the hospitals are naming buildings in honor of the Hales' gifts, and the Hales serve on boards at both medical institutions. The grants emphasize the couple’s deep commitment to the city of Boston and what it has to offer the rest of the world in terms of medical research and disease treatment.
Rob Hale added, "Karen and I see Boston as an epicenter for far-reaching medical advances. Both Boston Children's and the Brigham are international leaders in their research and understanding of diseases. With our $100 million investment in these two world-class institutions, we hope to impact millions of patients."
The New Breeze Foundation does not have a website, it does not employ a full-time staff, and the Hale couple does not provide a clear way for grantseekers to get in touch. In a recent year, the foundation had over $1.9 million in total net assets. The list of past grantees in the Boston area also includes Artists for Humanity, Germantown YMCA, Old Colony Montessori School, the Bay Colony Scholarship Fund, the Westport Land Conservation Trust, and the Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Museum. Rob Hale’s Quincy-based company, Granite Telecommunications, regularly supports Boston-area health organizations through its corporate giving program, as well.
Like so much philanthropy, the Hales' giving is personal. Commenting on the recent hospital gifts, Karen Hale said, "Having seen devastating diseases directly touch many of our family members and friends, we're committed to finding cures and helping more patients walk away with a victory.”