Billionaire philanthropist Robert Hale wants the future leaders of the country to know that you should give more than you get — and he demonstrated by gifting each member of the UMass Boston undergraduate class of 2023 with $1,000 to give them a head start.
But the money came with a catch — they're tasked with giving half of it away.
"We are proud of you, so we want to share in that celebration with you. We want to give you two gifts. The first is a gift to you. The second is the gift of giving," Hale said during his commencement speech. "These trying times have heightened the need for sharing, caring and giving. Our community and our world need you, it needs us more than ever — needs us to be compassionate."
He explained further as workers pulled stacks of envelopes out of duffle bags.
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"There are two sets of envelopes: One says 'Gift' and one says 'Give.' The first is for you, the 'Gift' is for you. The 'Give' is also for you, but it's to give," he said. "The greatest joys we've had in our life have been the gift of giving. So each of you is getting $1,000 cash right now."
The graduates jumped for joy, applauding for about a minute.
"The first $500 is for you," Hale then said. "It's a celebration of all you have done to be here today. You're leaders. Celebrate. The second $500 is a gift for you to give to somebody or somebody else or another organization who could use it more than you. Share in the joy of giving. Congratulations, Beacons!"
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If the gift sounds familiar, Hale also gave $1,000 to each graduate from the class of 2022 at Roxbury Community College — divided into two envelopes, with the condition that half be given to someone who might need the help more.
"If you give a little more than you get your life will be better because of it, I promise you," Hale told UMass graduates Thursday.
Hale is the founder and CEO of Granite Telecommunications, and he owns a minority stake in the Boston Celtics.