Founder Robert Barbera

As the son of Italian immigrants, Robert Barbera possesses a deep passion for his family, education, the arts, and his Italian heritage. Born in 1932, his devotion to his roots has influenced much of his work, from teaching and building a successful real estate business to a lifetime of philanthropy. His immigrant parents taught him the value of hard work and the importance of family. He made his first stock investment in 1954, only four years out of high school, and bought his first building in 1961. Through hard work, dedication, focus, and the support of his family, he now has 500 units and multiple subsidiary companies, making real estate the cornerstone of his success.

COMING SOON! A Novel Based on the life of Robert Barbera.

COMING SOON! A Novel Based on the life of Robert Barbera.

Robert’s Italian roots run deep. In 2005 he founded Linqua Viva and became its first president. This organization teaches Italian language, history, art, and cooking at the Italian Cultural Institute of Los Angeles. In 2000, he established a campaign that continues today to save the L' Italo Americano newspaper, and he loves to contribute articles to the paper.

Robert was founder and president of Fondazione Italia, an educational group associated with the Italian Cultural Institute. The Italian government awarded him the Commendatore Award for his educational service to the Italian community.

During the reconstruction of the Statue of Liberty in New York City, he was founder and co-chair of the Statue of Liberty fund-raising committee in the West from 1990 to 1992. The group was recognized for raising the most money of any ethnic group.

Robert was lucky in love, having had a happy, forty-five-year marriage to his late wife, Bernice, and finding love a second time around with Josephine, whom he married in 2003. He is the father of three wonderful children, Ann, John, and Patricia, and the grandfather of seven.

In 1994, he established the Barbera Foundation, which supported institutions of higher learning, such as Thomas Aquinas College, Pepperdine University, and the California State University system. Under Robert’s careful direction, the Foundation now is focused on The Mentoris Project, a series of books about Italians and Italian-Americans, and their contributions to the world.



“When you think of your legacy, you should also think about the good you want to do in the world while you’re still here. Think of philanthropy and community leadership as your living legacy. This is where that emotional investing hits home, but in addition to searching for where you can give of yourself and of your resources to do good in the world, look to see where you can pass on what you’ve learned and help others reach success. Think about how you want to be remembered. I’m going to guess it’s not just for your money. We all have a need to belong and to matter. Honor this need in yourself by looking for ways to be active and helpful in the world.”

Robert Barbera

Excerpted from Building Wealth: From Shoeshine Boy to Real Estate Magnate.


“Family has always come first for me. The times I chose work over family (and to be fair, I was working to provide for my family—it never started out as an either/or proposition), I recognized my mistake and I changed course. What is ultimately the point of wealth if not to be able to spend time with the people you love?”

Robert Barbera

Excerpted from Building Wealth: From Shoeshine Boy to Real Estate Magnate.

“Stretch yourself, go for the gold, but enjoy every bit of what you have right now.”

-Robert Barbera