Cynthia Germanotta is an American philanthropist, activist, and businesswoman, better known as the mother of music sensation Lady Gaga. A former telecommunications executive, she is the co-founder and president of the non-profit organization 'Born This Way Foundation.' Germanotta and Gaga established the foundation with the prime motive of eradicating the social disgrace associated with mental health among the youth. The foundation also intends to “empower youth” and “inspire kindness and bravery’’ through cutting-edge research. In addition to contributing to her foundation, Germanotta has been an advocate for other organizations and causes, too, such as the 'Women’s Council on Heart Health' of the 'Ronald O. Perelman Heart Institute,' the 'Empowerment Initiative' at the 'University of Nebraska-Lincoln,' the 'Ladies Auxiliary Committee' of 'The Columbus Citizens Foundation,' and the 'Parsons New School of Design.' Her remarkable charitable work has been honored with awards such as 'Dancing Classrooms,' the ‘Columbus Citizens Foundation Humanitarian Award,' and the 'Greater Boston PFLAG.' Germanotta co-owns a restaurant with her husband.
Childhood & Early Life
Germanotta was born Cynthia Louise Bissett, on August 30, 1954, in Wheeling, a small town in West Virginia, US, to Paul Douglas Bissett and Veronica Rose Ferrie. She grew up with her older brother, Paul, and her younger sister, Cheryl Ann.
Germanotta graduated from 'West Virginia University' and then attended the 'George Washington University,' completing her master's degree in public administration.
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Germanotta worked as a sales and management executive in the American telecommunications company 'Verizon' and gained 25 years of experience in the field. She then teamed up with Gaga to establish the non-profit venture 'Born This Way Foundation' to inspire the youth against bullying and to build up communities. In its first year, the organization was awarded the 'Family Online Safety Institute's Award' for outstanding achievement.
Under Germanotta‘s leadership, 'Born This Way' received the 'National Association of School Psychologists Special Friend to Children Award' (2013) and the 'Anti-Defamation League's ‘No Place for Hate Making a Difference Award' (2015).
'Boston PFLAG' and 'Dancing Classrooms' honored Germanotta for her efforts in advocating youth mental health. She and Gaga have worked together to break the social stigma regarding mental health. Through their organization, they provide genuine opportunities and quality resources to the youth and offer them a platform to spread their word.
The 'Born This Way Foundation' conducts extensive academic research and authentic partnerships to build up kinder communities with positive environments (both online and offline), to improve the mental health resources, and to develop the youth.
In addition to 'Born This Way,' Germanotta is active with other charitable organizations, too. She supports the 'Women's Council on Heart Health' for the 'Ronald O. Perelman Heart Institute' and is a board member of the 'Empowerment Initiative' at the 'University of Nebraska-Lincoln.'
In 2015, Germanotta was felicitated with the 'Humanitarian Award' for her service at the 'Ladies Auxiliary Committee' of 'The Columbus Citizens Foundation.' She currently serves as a member of the board of governors for the Parsons School of Design.' In 2017, Germanotta appeared in the documentary on her daughter, 'Gaga: Five Foot Two.'
On June 10, 2018, Germanotta represented 'Born This Way' at the 'United Nations General Assembly' and unveiled the 'United for Global Mental Health' initiative. The following year, on May 20, she was announced as one of the four new 'Goodwill Ambassadors' (ambassador for mental health) of the 'World Health Organization' of the 'United Nations.'
In 2019, Germanotta spoke at the 'American Counseling Association’s ‘Conference & Expo,' in New Orleans, about mental health and the social stigma attached to it. She also promoted the activities of her foundation.
Family & Personal Life
Germanotta is the maternal grandchild of Vincenzo "James" Ferrie (died in 1967) and Filomena "Minnie" Campana (died in 1940). She is Catholic and serves as a parishioner at the 'Church of the Blessed Sacrament.'
Germanotta lives on the Upper West Side of Manhattan with her husband, Joseph Anthony "Joe" Germanotta Jr. Joseph is an internet entrepreneur, a restaurateur, and the owner of 'Haus of Gaga Publishing, Inc.' They have been married since 1983 and have two daughters: Stefani, who is famously known as popstar Lady Gaga, and Natali, who is an upcoming designer and works with her sister.
Germanotta previously lived in West Village. She and her husband own an Italian restaurant called 'Joanne Trattoria' in New York. The restaurant is named after Joseph’s sister who died of lupus on December 18, 1974. Joseph is also on the board of directors of 'Born This Way Foundation.'
Lady Gaga gifted them a 'Rolls Royce' on their wedding anniversary.