Carlyle Crew: A Closer Look at Daniel A. D'Aniello's Giving for Higher Ed, Mental Health and More

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Carlyle Group, a global investment firm based in Washington, D.C, is one of the world’s largest and most diversified global investment firms, with $381 billion in assets under management. Founded in 1987 by Bill Conway, Dan D'Aniello and David Rubenstein, the Carlyle trio are among the most influential figures in finance and are each worth billions.

Each co-founder has his own philanthropic pursuits as well. Conway, for example, is a leading funder of nursing education, who more than a decade ago promised to give away at least $1 billion. And “patriotic philanthropist” Rubenstein has funded the restoration of some of America’s most iconic monuments.

Daniel D’Aniello, now 76 and worth $3.4 billion, carries out philanthropy with his wife Gayle through the Orange Crimson Foundation, yet another large family foundation that flies well under the radar, with no website and a minimal online presence. However, D’Aniello once said that he has “five pillars” of philanthropy: faith-based giving, educational programs, free enterprise, the performing arts, and mental health research.

Are these focus areas still driving the couple’s giving? Have they doubled down in one particular philanthropic niche? And what can we expect from them in the coming years? Here is a quick overview.

Education and religious causes still loom large

D'Aniello has given in the millions to his alma mater, Syracuse University. D’Aniello also served in the U.S. Navy, and some of this work has involved veterans, including a $20 million gift to support the construction of the National Veterans Resource Center to house Syracuse University's Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF). D'Aniello also set up the D'Aniello Entrepreneurial Internships, which provide entrepreneurial opportunities to top undergraduate and graduate students at the Whitman School of Management at Syracuse. D'Aniello, who attended Syracuse on scholarship, has said that he wants to “provide that foundation for others who are at the stage I was when I was in college."

In 2021, the D’Aniellos doubled down with their work at IVMF with a $30 million gift to the institution to support the creation of an endowment to provide annual operational support for the institute. In 2022, the couple also gave Syracuse a $10 million gift to Syracuse Abroad Florence program.

The D’Aniellos have also continued their high-level support of other religious institutions including Legionaries of Christ Seminary, Archdiocese of Washington, and Benedictine Sisters of Virginia. D'Aniello has spoken about his Catholic faith and the importance of supporting these institutions. “Despite being born into one of the wealthiest families in America, Archbishop Carroll could not escape anti-Catholicism,” D'Aniello once said, adding, “to be a devout Catholic in 2019 is to be counter-cultural.”

Arts, mental health and a conservative think tank

D’Aniello chairs the Wolf Trap Foundation, which supports the Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts, a performing arts center located on national park land in Virginia, near where the D'Aniellos live. The Washington, D.C. area organization’s board is a who’s who of power brokers, including Dr. Jill Biden. Wolf Trap doesn’t show up in Orange Crimson’s most recent available tax records, but D’Aniello role as chair suggests likely support.

The D’Aniellos have strongly supported the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, including REACH, the center’s expansion plan. The initiative was kicked off by Kennedy Center Chairman David M. Rubenstein’s $50 million. Rubenstein has been particularly bullish about supporting D.C. area cultural institutions, but it stands to reason that the Carlyle clan could be influencing each other’s philanthropy.

The D’Aniellos have also supported local human services organizations like Share of McLean, which provides emergency financial assistance, food, and other aid. One of D’Aniello’s philanthropic pillars is mental health, and this line of grantmaking is coming into more clarity of late, intersecting with D’Aniello’s faith.

Orange Crimson Foundation supports a three-year collaboration between Divine Mercy University (DMU) and McClean Hospital, the largest psychiatric affiliate of Harvard Medical School, to ramp up training and education in Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), and support joint research efforts to better understand the relationship between spirituality and mental health disorders. D’Aniello received an honorary degree from Divine Mercy University and spoke at the 2019 commencement.

Orange Crimson Foundation also supports McLean Hospital’s Spirituality and Mental Health Program, which allows patients to have their spirituality included in mental health care. Other recent health grantees include Mount Carmel Health System Foundation.

Finally, over the years, D’Aniello has given tens of millions to conservative think-tank American Enterprise Institute (AEI), where he currently serves as board chair. When IP reached out to AEI, we were told that the organization does not comment on its donors beyond sharing overall breakdowns on sources of contributions. In the 2022 fiscal year, AEI raised $43.5 million in contributions from individuals.