A remarkable gift to the Dot Fieldhouse

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Karen and Rob Hale

It’s sometimes lost in the shuffle of more controversial projects, but it might actually become Boston’s biggest “game-changer” – a brand new indoor sports and youth center that will impact tens of thousands of young lives across the neighborhoods.

And last week, the community-led effort to build a state-of-the-art fieldhouse on Columbia Point celebrated a huge victory, thanks to the generosity of a couple who are already big supporters of Dorchester’s kids and teens.

Rob Hale and his wife Karen were among the first to pledge $1 million to help build the Dorchester Fieldhouse, a project led by the Boys and Girls Clubs of Dorchester in partnership with the Martin Richard Foundation, two of our neighborhood’s most respected and important institutions.

Last week, the couple made a stunning announcement: They were adding $9 million to their commitment, bringing the total gift to $10 million, an astonishing and unprecedented contribution that promises to supercharge the campaign to build a first-class facility for city kids in our own backyard.

The news came a few days after Rob completed his first-ever Boston Marathon. In total, the couple have pledged $26.2 million to 72 local charities in honor of One Boston Day, most of them connected somehow to the marathon route.

“The Boston Marathon is part of the cultural fabric of our great city,” Rob said in a statement announcing the gifts. “I was humbled to run it (slowly) today. In celebration of our great city and this powerful event, Karen and I are giving $26.2M to local charitable organizations.

Rob, the co-founder and president of Granite Telecommunications LLC, and Karen also spread their love and dollars to Zoo New England, Ron Burton Training Village, Wonderfund, Boston Children’s Hospital, the Boston Public Library, and the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

But the Dorchester project is, by a wide margin, the biggest beneficiary. Rob said the main factor was their admiration for the Richard family, who are forever linked to the marathon, but are grounded here in their home neighborhood.

“We are grateful to Rob and Karen Hale for their generous donation to our Fieldhouse project,” said Bill Richard, co-founder of the Martin Richard Foundation. “When we started the foundation in Martin’s name just over ten years ago, our goal was to give back to those that supported us and honor the spirit of our son, who included others in all he did regardless of their ability.


“The Fieldhouse project is a much-needed resource in our community for our young people and is designed for all to participate equally regardless of their ability, and this gift provides the critical funds we needed to help make it a reality,” said Richard.

The Hales’ gift puts the Fieldhouse fundraising campaign at the halfway mark, but it has given the project the momentum that proponents say make its success unstoppable. According to Rob Hale, that was the purpose behind the additional gift.

“We wanted to make that happen to give confidence to others that this project will happen,” he told the Reporter this week. He’s spot on.

Watch for news of other major gifts to the effort as the BGCD gear up for the 50th anniversary of their founding in 1974.

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