Joe Bruno graduated from St. John’s College High School in 1967 and then went on to earn an accounting and finance degree from the University of Maryland, graduating in 1971 and passing the CPA exam in 1972. He started his public accounting career at Peat Marwick Mitchell, which today is KPMG. During his 15 years at the firm, he spent 18 months at the Executive Office Professional Development Department. In 1981, he was admitted to the partnership and served three years in the firm’s Rome, Italy, office.
While at Peat Marwick, he received an offer he couldn’t refuse. He joined Jurgovan and Blair, a healthcare consulting firm, as senior vice president and chief financial officer and led the drive to sell the company to AIG.
After the sale of the company, he returned to the world of public accounting as a partner at Coopers and Lybrand, today known as PWC. After another eight years of public accounting, he received another offer (from the same individual) that he (again) couldn’t refuse and left to start a public company in healthcare services. In 2000, five years after taking the company public, Bell Canada purchased the company stock and took the company private. He spent a year transitioning all financial and tax matters to Bell Canada and then retired.
However, retirement lasted only one year, because he was approached by a good friend and fellow Peat Marwick alumnus, the CEO of Sallie Mae, who asked him to help develop a strategy that would expand the opportunities to give children in DC the choice to attend a charter school. So, in 2003, he started Building Hope. Building Hope provides a comprehensive array of business and financial services to quality charter schools. In addition, Building Hope manages three public/private partnerships: the Incubator Initiative in Washington, DC, Florida Charter Support Unit and the US Department of Education’s Charter School Credit Enhancement Program.
As president of Building Hope, Joe has guided the organization’s participation in the completion of more than $1.2 billion of facilities project financings. He laid the foundation for the future success of Building Hope and the fulfillment of the educational dreams of thousands by initially targeting those public charter schools in the District of Columbia that were most suitable for aiding the students most in need and assisting communities most in need of revitalization. He oversees and directs all aspects of Building Hope’s operations. Building Hope has offices in Washington, DC, Fort Lauderdale, FL, San Antonio, TX, and Boise, ID, and also transacts business in a number of other states.
Joe has been involved in many philanthropic and community activities during his 50 years in the Washington, DC, community. He has served on many boards, including Junior Achievement, the Boys and Girls Clubs, Big Brothers of the Washington DC Metropolitan Area, Catholic Charities, the Washington Archdiocese Consortium of Catholic Schools, the San Miguel School, the Downtown Jaycees, DC Prep, KIPP and Somerset Academy Charter Schools and has chaired the Board of MedSTAR Georgetown University Hospital.
Joe currently serves on the board of a public company, in addition to his non-profit board positions at Leadership Greater Washington, Washington DC Police Foundation, the Florida Consortium of Public Charter Schools, Idaho Charter School Network and Friends of Choice in Urban Schools. In addition, he speaks at national, state and local conferences regarding all aspects of charter school business operations, and more specifically, in the areas of governance, finance and real estate.
In 2010, along with Mario Andretti, Joe received the Italian American “Man of the Year” award from the Lido Civic Club on the occasion of its 80th anniversary celebration held at the Italian Embassy. He is married to Cynthia Marini and has two beautiful daughters who are both St. John’s graduates. His brother Alfie is also a St. John’s graduate.