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Transforming Lives Through Education: A Look at Dan Lofrese's Philanthropic Journey

Dan Lofrese in his office

Education is the cornerstone of opportunity and progress. It has the power to transform lives, opening doors to a world of possibilities regardless of one's background. No one believes this more than Dan Lofrese. For Dan, his journey from liberal arts to the world of business ignited a passion to create positive change in the realm of education through philanthropy.

Blending Liberal Arts and Business

As a communications and media studies major at Fordham University, Dan was exposed to the richness of liberal arts education. “Fordham provides a great foundation in terms of teaching you the sciences, history, philosophies, theologies, which gives you a well-rounded approach to life. And that's what I really appreciated.”

However, it was a paid internship at Gabelli Asset Management Company (GAMCO) during his college years that exposed him to a field he loved and excelled in – the world of business and numbers. The experience changed the trajectory of Dan’s life. Today, he is a vice president for GAMCO

Inspired by the internship opportunity provided by Mario Gabelli, also a Fordham graduate, and by his appreciation for the breadth of a liberal arts education, Dan became motivated to give others the same kinds of opportunity and support.   

Endeavors in Advancing Education

As an advocate for education, Dan embarked on a journey to empower students. He established the Dan Lofrese Liberal Arts Internship Endowment Fund with the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) College of Liberal Arts. Through this fund he enables students to gain real-world experience and explore their passions. "My main goal was to show liberal art students, 'You can take this education and you can become anything you want.'"

As a board member of various other organizations, including the Truckee Meadows Community College Foundation and the UNR Foundation, he seeks ways to enhance educational opportunities for students at all levels.

Dan uses his donor-advised fund (DAF) at the Community Foundation to support these efforts and is working toward extending his vision for the fund to focus on K-12 education. A DAF allows donors to make a charitable contribution, receive an immediate tax benefit, and then recommend grants from the fund to non-profit organizations of their choice.

Dan’s Evolving Role Over the Years

Dan’s history with the Community Foundation goes back to its founding. In 1998, he was supporting the Reno and Florida offices of GAMCO where he was working closely with Jim Webster, one of the founders of the Community Foundation of Northern Nevada. Dan was part of the streamlining of the Foundation's operations by helping to open a brokerage account. This allowed them to handle stock donations, converting them into philanthropic assets to be granted.

When Dan moved to Reno in 2015, his engagement with the Community Foundation continued. He started his donor-advised fund, joined the Professional Advisor Council (PAC) in 2017, then the Advisory Board in 2020 and, in 2021, he became a Board Trustee.

Promoting Smart Philanthropy

Naturally, as the VP of an asset management company, Dan is a big advocate of stock donations. He notices that most people donate cash, but donating appreciated stocks could bring more value both to the donor and the recipient. Donating appreciated stocks eliminates Capital Gains taxes while the charity benefits from the full current value of the donation. It's a win-win situation where out-of-pocket expense is minimized, and impact is maximized. “That’s really the only way I give my donations…To me, it sounds like a no-brainer.” It's this kind of thinking that has made Dan an invaluable part of the Community Foundation.

Inspiring Others

Dan's journey exemplifies the profound impact of education, philanthropy, and the importance of nurturing young minds to dream big. His commitment to empowering students underscores the true essence of the American dream—a world where opportunities are abundant, and aspirations are limitless. Dan believes, "You have the best opportunities here if you want to work hard and do it right." By supporting education and providing opportunities, Dan is contributing to a brighter and more promising future, one where every child can wake up and say, "I can be anything I wish to be."

Dan’s journey reminds us that we each hold the power to make a difference. If you’re interested in learning how you can fulfill your own charitable vision using the philanthropic services offered by the Community Foundation of Northern Nevada, contact Lyndsey Crossley at 775-333-5499 ext. 12 or at