A native of New York, Robert Barbera moved to Southern California in 1955. He earned an accounting degree at California State University, Los Angeles, in 1958. The dean of the accounting department took him under her wing, helping him to secure some scholarships that would make tuition affordable for the young newlywed. The experience instilled in him a heightened sense of the value of education and a tremendous appreciation for the benefactors who make it possible — and whom he has since strived to emulate.

The founder and CEO of Barbera Property Management, which owns several businesses in the San Gabriel Valley, Mr. Barbera is a dedicated philanthropist, giving generously to numerous educational organizations and founding the Barbera Foundation.

For the past four years he has devoted his time and resources to the Mentoris Project. The Mentoris Project is a series of novels and biographies about the lives of great Italians and Italian-Americans, men and women who have changed history through their contributions as scientists, inventors, explorers, thinkers, and creators. The Barbera Foundation sponsors this series in the hope that, like a mentor, each book will inspire the reader to discover how she or he can make a positive contribution to society. The series will publish a total of 50 books.

This foundation is now supporting the first annual Barbera Foundation Vocal Competition. Mr. Barbera enjoys working on its behalf and encourages other people to help in the process.