ConnectWise co-founder and former CEO Arnie Bellini says his family has vowed to donate $70 million to Tampa Bay, Florida-area organizations over the next 20 years, according to reports from Florida-based media. The overall goal: Create 70,000 local high-tech jobs, the reports say.
The philanthropy started this week, when Bellini donated $7 million to his alma mater — Tampa Catholic. The donation will be primarily used to build a performing arts center, aptly named the “Bellini Center for the Arts,” according to Tampa Bay Business Journal. It is the largest gift to a Catholic school in Florida and one of the largest for private schools in the state, the report said.
Building and Spreading the Wealth
Arnie and brother David Bellini spent the past three decades building ConnectWise, a Tampa-based software company that offers business automation and management tools to IT service providers, MSPs and technology teams. David exited the business last year, and Arnie stepped down as CEO when Thoma Bravo acquired ConnectWise earlier this year for an estimated $1.5 billion. The company sale created more than 70 millionaires — including current and former employees at the business.
Arnie Bellini remains an advisor to ConnectWise.
Meanwhile, current CEO Jason Magee and his team are ramping up for ConnectWise IT Nation Explore 2019, a conference scheduled for June in Orlando, Florida. Maintaining a commitment to entrepreneurs, the ConnectWise event will feature a competition called PitchIT. The winner can receive an investment of up to $75,000 from the software company.
Tampa has become a hotbed for innovation and startups — fostered by such incubators, accelerators and angel investor firms as Tampa Bay Wave and Florida Funders.