The Man Behind the Push to Save Wild Florida

The northern Everglades. Photo courtesy of Adam Bass, Conservation Florida

Arnie Bellini built his Tampa tech firm ConnectWise from the ground up, then sold it for an estimated $1.5 billion, a deal so big that more than 70 workers at the employee-owned business became millionaires.

Now the wealthy Republican philanthropist wants to save Florida wilderness from development, and he’s putting his money and energy into the effort.

What they’re saying: “I’m pursuing this just like I would a tech startup,” Bellini, 63, told Axios. “We’re not taking your normal approach to it. We’re not hugging trees. We can hug trees. We like hugging trees. But we’re asking: How do we balance economy and ecology? And we’re approaching this in a very aggressive way.”

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