Wall Street Takes Over Sandy Relief: Robin Hood Foundation In, Red Cross Out?

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Deborah Winshel, President & CEO, Robin Hood Foundation

ED5B4B3E-3C00-42D4-BA2F-CB2C12F39A43_w640_r1_sWelcome to smart phone philanthropy.  Alicia Keys sang “Put Your Cell Phones In The Air ” , “Help Me Celebrate New York” at the Harvey Weinstein-produced, internationally televised  12-12-12  Sandy Relief concert at Madison Square Garden. The audience of hedge funders and other A-listers complied, hoisting cell phones and flickering Ipads in the darkened arena. Surprise! Mobile device arena solidarity ain’t very moving. But sponsor Samsung probably choked up. 121212, The Concert For Sandy Relief,  was as big and hopefully as effective  as it gets. Clapton sang “Nobody Wants You When You’re Down And Out  (VIDEO):

Here’s some more info on the Robin Hood Foundation for those who don’t know the heavily Wall Street  funded charity. spiritofamerica_redcross_poster_smNo mention of the Red Cross or Salvation Army  tonight. This one’s for the Robin Hood Relief Fund.

The 12-12-12 Concert for Sandy Relief at New York’s Madison Square Garden
is the brainchild of a little-known New York City anti-poverty organization, the Robin Hood Foundation, founded in 1988 by hedge fund owners Paul Tudor Jones and Glenn Dubin.

The foundation operates on a “venture philanthropy” model, funding $140 million in grants each year to about 200 anti-poverty efforts across New York City, says Deborah Winshel, Robin Hood’s president and chief operating officer. After Sandy ‘s devastation, it expanded its reach to hard-hit communities in New Jersey, Connecticut and Long Island, as well.

She said that Robin Hood’s innovation is using “investment principles” to try to assess both qualitatively and dollar for dollar, the cost-benefit ratio of anti-poverty programs – and funding only the most effective.

Charity springs from compassion, Winshel said, “But you can marry that to analytical rigor. We look at the entire landscape and try to use your money and leverage your dollar in the most effective way.”

The funds also flow without delay, she said. Robin Hood raised about $15.5 million in the immediate wake of Sandy – and has already distributed $14.5 million.

Winshel is aware of the irony of a hedge-funders’ charity named after a 13th century bandit of English folklore, legendary for stealing from the rich to give to the poor. In the case of the Robin Hood Foundation, however, it is about the ultra-rich challenging each each other to lighten their own coffers.

Financier George Soros has the record for a one-time gift, pledging $50 million in 2009. At the group’s annual awards dinner that year, the New York Times reported, comedian Jon Stewart told the crowd. “Tonight is a chance for Wall Street to help all those people hurt so badly by …Oh, sorry.”-Voice Of America News, VOA.com

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