Tonight, Robin Hood, the largest anti-poverty organization in New York City, hosted its annual fundraising benefit at the Javits Center co-chaired by Tracy and Frank Bisignano, Ted Mathas, Sarah and Lachlan Murdoch, Laura and John Overdeck, and Questlove. In a room of nearly 4,000 people, this year’s theme, Robin HoodYOU, emphasized the power an individual can make in fighting poverty.
“We set out 31 years ago to fight this problem of poverty and I am proud that we are still attacking it with the same vigor that we did on day one, and with a much bigger army,” said Robin Hood founder Paul Tudor Jones. “Yet again, this city that has given so many of us so much has come together to give back. We had a hell of a night, and raised more money than we did last year — that’s the power of bringing everyone together to do good.”
The Robin Hood benefit is the largest gala raising money to fight poverty in the United States. Donations from the gala account for the majority of Robin Hood’s annual operating budget. Thanks to the generosity of Robin Hood’s Board which covers its operating costs, 100 percent of the funds raised tonight will go directly to Robin Hood’s more than 200 community partners who run on-the-ground programs to fight poverty across New York City.
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“Tonight we came together to give the poverty fight what it needs,” said Robin Hood CEO Wes Moore. “These are vulnerable times, 42 percent of New Yorkers have experienced poverty at some point over the past three years. The exponential impact of Robin Hood’s work has never been more important, and I am so proud to lead this community of caring and impact that brings together school teachers and portfolio managers, accountants and social workers.”
Guests entered the event through a hallway lined with 7,000 backpacks donated by Spreetail filled with school supplies – which will be donated to students in need through Robin Hood’s community partners. The evening program highlighted one the community partners, Relay Graduate School of Education, which empowers the next generation of educators to achieve success by working directly in low-income communities while earning their masters degree and building lasting connections within the communities they serve. Robin Hood helped found Relay in 2007, making it the first graduate school of education created in New York in the past 80 years.
Yasha Morgan, a KIPP NYC graduate and 8th grade science teacher who went to Relay and now teaches in the classroom he attended, spoke from the stage saying, “None of us would be here without the communities that raised us. We are not independent. We are interdependent. I didn’t find success on my own. You didn’t find success on your own. No one finds success on their own. Someone invested in you. Now you owe it to be the pillars of someone else’s success.”
Entertainment included a performances by Shawn Mendes, comedian Sebastian Maniscalco, who was introduced by Gayle King. Kenan Thompson introduced Pharrell who gave a surprise performance of his hit songs “Happy” and “Freedom”. Eli Manning along with the Robin Hood Teen Council introduced Shawn Mendes who performed his new single “If I Can’t Have You” in coordination with a music-to-light show from the Empire State Building in partnership with iHeartMedia. The Teen Council is a community of students who meet monthly to learn about tangible ways to fight poverty. Shawn Mendes also held a post-gala concert for benefit attendees and Arrow members of The Forest.
Data from Robin Hood’s Poverty Tracker — a unique representative survey of households in New York City over time in partnership with Columbia University — shows that while the poverty rate in New York City has declined slightly over the past several years, 42 percent of all New Yorkers have experienced poverty at some point over the past three years. Robin Hood relies on data to identify where the needs are, to address the systems, structures, and the narratives that hold and keep people back.
The organization, founded in 1988, unveiled a new strategic vision at the 2019 No City Limits conference in February which will focus on lifting households in New York City from poverty measurably and sustainably so New Yorkers can achieve economic stability.
Follow social media from the evening by searching for the hashtags #PowerOfYou and #RobinHoodBenefit.
About Robin Hood
Founded in 1988, Robin Hood finds, fuels, and creates the most impactful and scalable solutions lifting families out of poverty in New York City, with models that can work across the country. Robin Hood invests nearly $120 million annually to provide legal services, housing, meals, workforce development training, education programs, and more to families in poverty in New York City. Robin Hood tracks every program with rigorous metrics, and since Robin Hood’s Board of Directors covers all overhead, 100 percent of every donation goes directly to the poverty fight. Learn more at www.robinhood.org