Tom Golisano

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Tom Golisano
Tom Golisano.JPG
Born Blase Thomas Golisano
(1941-11-14) November 14, 1941 (age 76)
Rochester, New York, U.S
Alma mater Alfred State College
Net worth US$3.1 billion (March 2018)[1]
Title Chairman, Paychex
Chairman, Golisano Foundation
Founder, Tax My Property Fairly
Owner, Greenlight Networks
Political party Independence (Before 2005)
Republican (2005–present)
Spouse(s) Monica Seles
Children 2

Official website

Blase Thomas Golisano (born November 14, 1941)[2] is an American billionaire businessman and philanthropist. He is the founder of Paychex, which offers payroll and human resources services to business, and owner of Greenlight Networks, a Rochester, New York based fiber internet provider.[3] He owned the Buffalo Sabres of the National Hockey League and Buffalo Bandits of the National Lacrosse League from 2003 to 2011 and ran for Governor of New York three times from 1994 to 2002 in third party bids.

Golisano is listed as the 264th wealthiest person in America with a net worth of $3 billion, according to the 2017 Forbes 400 list.[4] Golisano has an associate's degree from Alfred State College.


Paychex Headquarters in Rochester, New York

Paychex was founded by Golisano in 1971. He started the company with $3,000.[5] Golisano served as its President and Chief Executive Officer from 1971 to October 2004. He has been the Chairman of Paychex since October 1, 2004 and its Director since 1979.[6]

In 2018, it was announced that Golisano was purchasing Greenlight Networks, a Rochester based fiber internet provider and local competitor to Frontier Communications and Charter Spectrum that was established in 2012.

Professional sports[edit]

Golisano is a former co-owner (along with real estate developer Larry Quinn) of the Buffalo Sabres hockey team and of the Buffalo Bandits lacrosse team. He purchased the Sabres from the NHL who had stripped the team from their previous owner John Rigas, the former Adelphia CEO who was charged and convicted of bank fraud, wire fraud, and securities fraud and had owned the team since 1997. He sold the Sabres and its assets to billionaire Terrence Pegula in February 2011. Golisano made a bid for the bankrupt Los Angeles Dodgers franchise in early 2012;[7] but his group was eventually outbid by a consortium led by Magic Johnson and the Guggenheim Partners. In order to help keep the team in western NY, he also made a bid for the Buffalo Bills when that franchise came up for sale in 2014;[8] that team was also ultimately purchased by Pegula.

Political involvement[edit]

In politics he is a founding member of the Independence Party of New York and ran on its ticket for governor of New York in 1994, 1998 and 2002. Although he was never elected, his percentage of the vote increased with each election. He spent a combined $93 million on the three campaigns.[9] By receiving more than 50,000 votes each time, Golisano brought the Independence Party an automatic ballot line for the succeeding four years. After New York's Republican governor, George Pataki announced he would not run again in the 2006 election, Republican officials attempted to recruit Golisano to run for the Republican nomination. He changed his party affiliation to Republican, with the Independence Party's chairman's blessing, in October 2005, apparently in preparation for another gubernatorial run. In February 2006, Golisano announced that he would not run for the governorship.[10]

In August 2008, Golisano contributed $1 million to the Democratic National Convention.[11]

In July 2008, Golisano formed a PAC called Responsible New York and funded it with $5 million of his own money. The PAC gives money to candidates for the New York state legislature, regardless of party. The PAC is aiming to support candidates for property tax cuts and election reform.[11]

In October 2008, Golisano voiced his opinion in favor of term limits for public offices in the New York City. Golisano vowed to fight Mayor Michael Bloomberg's proposal to extend term limits, arguing that the people of New York City have voted twice in favor of the current law.[12] There was speculation that he would run for governor again on the Republican ticket, but it was announced, on May 15, 2009, that he was moving to Florida.[13]

In June 2009, Golisano took partial credit for creating the 2009 New York State Senate leadership crisis in which Republican seized control of a body that still retained a Democratic majority. Golisano, who had supported a number of Democratic Party candidates during the 2008 election, was dissatisfied with things like the Democrats' to solve the state's budget crisis by raising taxes on New York's wealthiest residents. He orchestrated the defection of Democratic senators Pedro Espada Jr. and Hiram Monserrate, who voted with Republicans to reinstate Dean Skelos as majority leader.[14]

In February 2011, Golisano became the spokesman for National Popular Vote Inc., a non-profit organization seeking to implement a popular vote system for presidential elections by harnessing the electoral college.[15]


He founded the B. Thomas Golisano Foundation in 1985 with an initial gift of $90,000. The Foundation awards grants to organizations dedicated to providing opportunities for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families.[16] The Foundation has assets exceeding $32 million and awards about $2 million in grants annually to organizations primarily in western and upstate New York and Florida. Golisano's personal and foundation philanthropy to health care, education, and other organizations now totals more than $267 million. There are three children's hospitals named after him. (Rochester, New York, Syracuse, New York and Fort Myers, Florida)

In 2017, in Austria, at the Special Olympics World Games, the first Golisano Global Health Care Leadership Awards were announced and presented to recognize those who are advancing inclusive health for people around the world with intellectual disabilities.[17]

In April 2017, the City of Rochester announced modified Rochester Broadway Theatre League proposal for Midtown Plaza which in partnership with Morgan Development would include a performing arts center to be called the Golisano Center for the Performing Arts in honor of a donation made to the project by Golisano.[18]

In September 2016, Golisano gave $7.5 million to Nazareth College for a new athletic training center that will aim to be a model of inclusion, fitness and wellness, and is expected to open in 2018.[19]

Also in September 2016, Golisano gave $2 million to the WXXI Public Broadcasting Council for equipment. This is his second gift to WXXI. He gave $2 million in 2004, to upgrade to digital broadcasting equipment.[20]

In June 2016, the Golisano Center for Community Health opened its doors to patients. The center, which provides integrated health care to people with disabilities and their families, was made possible with a gift of $3.5 million from Golisano.[21]

Tom Golisano and the Golisano Foundation were recognized among 30 givers and causes on Forbes' "Philanthropy's Big Bets for Social Change of 2015."[22]

In 2012 Golisano donated $12 million to Special Olympics in 2012 to launch the Healthy Communities initiative to increase year-round access to health care for people with intellectual disabilities. He made an additional commitment of $25 million to Special Olympics in 2015 to expand Healthy Communities to 100 locations around the world. This was the largest single gift to an organization made by Golisano and the largest single gifts ever received from an individual by Special Olympics.[23]

In 2012, Golisano donated $20 million to build a new Golisano Children's Hospital at Lee Health in southwest Florida. The new hospital will open in Spring 2017.[24]

In 2014, the Golisano Neurology and Rehabilitation Center opened at Unity Hospital in Rochester, funded in part by a $10 million contribution by Golisano.[25]

In November 2009, Golisano donated $4 million to Ave Maria University for the construction of a new field house.[26]

In October 2008, Golisano donated $10 million to Niagara University for a new B. Thomas Golisano Center for Integrated Sciences building that was named in his honor.[27]

Golisano donated $14 million to the University of Rochester, which renamed their pediatric facility at Strong Memorial Hospital in his honor as the Golisano Children's Hospital in 2002. In 2012 Golisano pledged an additional $20 million to URMC to build a new Golisano Children's Hospital, which opened in 2015.[28][29]

In October 2003, Golisano donated $5 million to Nazareth College, which named the new Golisano Academic Center in his honor. In July 2004, he made a $5 million gift to Hartwick College of Oneonta, New York, which was used to build a new academic building for the social science and management programs, and has been named Golisano Hall. On March 6, 2006, Golisano donated $6 million to Bishop Kearney High School and Our Lady of Mercy High School.[citation needed]

Golisano was a founding sponsor of the Clinton Global Initiative and was an underwriter of CGI's annual meeting for nine years from 2005 through 2013.In 2005 Golisano contributed $6 million to the Upstate University Hospital in Syracuse for a new children's hospital. The hospital was named Upstate Golisano Children's Hospital in his honor.[citation needed]

In February 2001 Golisano donated $14 million to the Rochester Institute of Technology for the B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences.[citation needed] He donated an additional $10 million to RIT for the new Golisano Institute for Sustainability there in 2007.[citation needed]

Personal life[edit]

Three times divorced, Golisano is married to former tennis player Monica Seles.[30][31] The two announced their engagement on June 5, 2014.[32][33]

Electoral history[edit]

Awards and honors[edit]

Golisano has received recognition for his business prowess and philanthropy, including:

  • 2008 "Niagara Frontier Executive of the Year" presented by the University at Buffalo School of Management Alumni Association
  • David T. Kearns Medal of Distinction - recognizing significant achievements in business, public service and education, by the University of Rochester's William E. Simon Graduate School of Business Administration
  • Rochester Business Hall of Fame (2001)
  • The 1987 Herbert W. VandenBrul Entrepreneurial Award, presented by Rochester Institute of Technology's College of Business
  • "Master Entrepreneur" award in Ernst & Young's Entrepreneur of the Year awards competition for Western New York
  • The "Distinguished Citizen of the Year" award from the Otetiana Council of the Boy Scouts of America
  • Shumway Distinguished Service Award from Family Service of Rochester
  • Humanitarian of the Year Award, presented by the Boy's Town of Italy, and the Commerce and Industry Award of the Rochester Chamber of Commerce.
  • Outstanding Alumni Award from the American Association of Community Colleges
  • Honorary Doctorate from Alfred State College in May 2009.[1]
  • Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree from Nazareth College in May 2002.
  • Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree from St. John Fisher College in Rochester, New York.
  • Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree from Roberts Wesleyan College in Rochester, New York.

In 2003, Golisano was awarded the first-ever Humanitarian Award by the Italian-American Community Center in Rochester.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Forbes profile: Tom Golisano". Forbes. Retrieved 4 March 2018.
  2. ^ "The World's Billionaires: #721 B. Thomas Golisano". Forbes. March 3, 2010.
  3. ^ "Billionaire Thomas Golisano is acquiring Spectrum, Frontier competitor Greenlight Networks". Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. Retrieved 2018-04-21.
  4. ^ "Tom Golisano profile". Forbes. Retrieved 20 October 2017.
  5. ^ "Golisano Built Paychex into a Success Story Archived 2016-03-03 at the Wayback Machine.." Rochester Business Journal.
  6. ^ "Stocks". Retrieved 2018-04-21.
  7. ^ Golisano talks about Dodgers bid Retrieved 2011-11-11.
  8. ^ Wawrow, John (August 6, 2014). Golisano submits bid to buy Bills. Associated Press. Retrieved August 6, 2014.
  9. ^ Freakonomics revised and expanded edition, page 7
  10. ^ "Politics - NY Daily News". Daily News. New York. August 27, 2010.[dead link]
  11. ^ a b "8-20-2008 - "NY Republican Tom Golisano gives big money to Democratic convention" - Muckety". Archived from the original on 2008-08-22. Retrieved 2008-08-20.
  12. ^ Council To Vote On Term Limits Issue On Thursday - NY1
  13. ^ Why I'm Leaving New York,, Guest View by Tom Golisano
  14. ^ Peters, Jeremy W.; Hakim, Danny (June 8, 2009). "Republicans Seize Control of State Senate". The New York Times. Retrieved May 25, 2010.
  15. ^ Spector, Joseph (February 22, 2011). "Tom Golisano to help effort to end Electoral College". Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. Retrieved February 22, 2011.
  16. ^ "Golisano Foundation :: Home". Retrieved 4 March 2018.
  17. ^ "Honoring Special Olympics Health Champions Around the World". Special Olympics. Retrieved 19 July 2018.
  18. ^ "Page Not Found". Retrieved 19 July 2018.
  19. ^ "Golisano Foundation Site :: News & Events". Retrieved 19 July 2018.
  20. ^ "Golisano Foundation Site :: Tom Golisano". Retrieved 2017-02-15.
  21. ^ "Tom Golisano Makes Gift of $3.5 Million for center to serve people with special needs". Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center. 2014-09-15. Retrieved 2017-02-15.
  22. ^ Dolan, Kerry A. "Big Bet Philanthropy: How More Givers Are Spending Big And Taking Risks To Solve Society's Problems". Forbes. Retrieved 2017-02-15.
  23. ^ "Providing Health Services Worldwide for the Most Underserved". Special Olympics. Retrieved 2017-02-14.
  24. ^ "Golisano Foundation Site :: Tom Golisano". Retrieved 2017-02-14.
  25. ^ "Golisano Restorative Neurology & Rehabilitation Center - Rochester Regional Health, New York". Retrieved 19 July 2018.
  26. ^ Ave Maria University press release Archived 2010-01-31 at the Wayback Machine., Nov. 5, 2009
  27. ^ Houle, Niagara University - Andrew. "Map". Retrieved 19 July 2018.
  28. ^ "Golisano Children's Hospital - University of Rochester Medical Center". Retrieved 19 July 2018.
  29. ^ "Tom Golisano's Gift - Golisano Children's Hospital - University of Rochester Medical Center". Retrieved 19 July 2018.
  30. ^ Abelson, Max (December 20, 2011). "Bankers Join Billionaires to Debunk 'Imbecile' Attack on Top 1%". Bloomberg.
  31. ^ "Monica Seles Courting Billionaire, 67". Retrieved 4 March 2018.
  32. ^ Benny, Michael (June 5, 2014). Upstate Billionaire Tom Golisano reveals engagement to tennis star Monica Seles. WTVH. Retrieved June 6, 2014.
  33. ^ "Health Leadership Award Recipients from Around the World". Special Olympics. Retrieved 2017-02-15.

External links[edit]