What does it take to make it onto the board of the Robin Hood Foundation, perhaps New York’s most exclusive club? There are but a few simple requirements: You must have either (a) a ton of money or (b) fame or connections impressive enough to be an effective lure for attracting more of (a).
Example of the former: hedge-fund mogul Steven Cohen.
Examples of the latter: Gwyneth Paltrow, Tom Brokaw.
Founded in 1988 by hedge-fund pioneer Paul Tudor Jones II, Robin Hood—which is dedicated to fighting poverty in New York—has become one of the most influential philanthropic organizations of all time. Its 2007 annual gala, attended last year by 4,000 people, raised a stunning $71 million. The bulk of that money was brought in through a surreal auction—bidders competed for one-of-a-kind events like working out with Tom Brady or getting a piano lesson from Coldplay’s Chris Martin—run by Sotheby’s vice-chairman, Jamie Niven.
In addition to the privilege of being among the anointed, membership does have its costs. The board, which now numbers 29, underwrites the entire administration of the foundation, so that 100 percent of donations goes to the charities Robin Hood supports; in 2007, the foundation will spend $138 million on anti-poverty efforts. The full board meets four times a year—usually near a program it funds, not in a Wall Street boardroom—and additional committee meetings mean that every member has at least half a dozen commitments in total. It has a rotating chair, currently occupied by Bob Pittman, and exceedingly low turnover. In the nineteen years since Robin Hood was founded, only four members have stepped down: Lachlan Murdoch, George Soros sidekick Stanley Druckenmiller, Ted Forstmann, and Jann Wenner. (John F. Kennedy Jr. was also a member.) Gifts from board members last year totaled $35 million; the figures cited on the following pages reflect only that money given through family foundations and may not represent the full amount of each member’s giving.
Robin Hood = No Photo Available
Paul Tudor Jones II, Founder
Chairman and CEO, Tudor Investment Corporation
Jones put up $3 million when he founded Robin Hood in 1988. Many millions have followed.
Dirk Ziff, Vice-chair
Chairman, Ziff Brothers Investments
Publishing heir Ziff offers Robin Hood a connection to New York’s network of the young-but-absurdly-rich. Although at 42, he’s the eldest of the Ziff brothers—Robert is 40 and Daniel is but 35—there are just 74 billionaires in the world who were born after young Dirk.
President, SAB Capital Management
At 40, hedge-funder Bommer brings more youth to the Robin Hood party.
Glenn Dubin, Co-founder
Co-founder, Highbridge Capital Management
Robin Hood co-founder Dubin ponied up a six-figure donation in 1988 alongside Jones and Borish, and continues to give, including more than $7 million in 2005 alone. He recruited the foundation’s executive director, David Saltzman, his onetime brother-in-law.
Peter F. Borish, Co-founder
CEO, Twinfields Capital
Robin Hood co-founder Borish gave the foundation its name, which was suggested to him by his wife. He also put up a contribution of “six figures” to launch the fund in 1988 along with Jones and Dubin.
Daniel S. Och
Senior Managing Member, Och-Ziff Capital Management
Just another superrich Wall Street guy.
Lee S. Ainslie III, Vice-chair
Managing Partner, Maverick Capital
One of the board’s many hedge-fund managers, Ainslie brings his moneyed connections, such as other “Tiger cubs” who once worked with him under hedge-fund legend Julian Robertson.
Richard L. Chilton Jr.
President and CEO, Chilton Investment Company
One of the old hands of the Greenwich hedge-fund scene, Chilton brings his connections—and brought $2 million in donations over 2003 and 2004.
Steven A. Cohen
Chairman and CEO, S.A.C. Capital Advisors
The secretive, vastly rich Cohen has given in proportion to his success, announcing a $15 million gift in 2002. An investment of $15 million of the foundation’s money in one of his hedge funds was recently worth $23.9 million.
(Still plenty of money here, too.)
Richard S. Fuld Jr.
Chairman and CEO, Lehman Brothers
Along with Bear Stearns president Alan Schwartz, Fuld brings to Robin Hood what Bear and Lehman bring to Wall Street: an effort to make sure that when it comes to investment banks, it’s not all Goldman all the time.
Jeffrey R. Immelt
Chairman and CEO, General Electric
Immelt is someone who can pick up the phone and call pretty much anyone Robin Hood needs to call who can’t be found in Harvey Weinstein’s Rolodex.
Kenneth G. Langone
Chairman and CEO, Invemed Associates
One of the elder statesmen on the board, Langone brings true entrepreneurial prowess— he co-founded Home Depot.
David W. Puth
President, The Eriska Group
The former head of the global-currency-and-commodity group at JPMorgan Chase, Puth has, one hopes, been advising Robin Hood to invest in non-U.S.-dollar-based assets.
Lloyd C. Blankfein
Chairman and CEO, Goldman Sachs
No group of top-shelf financiers is complete without its Goldman component. Blankfein’s family foundation gave $390,000 to Robin Hood in 2006. (Many other current or former Goldmanites are also donors, including former chairman Henry Paulson, hedge-fund chief Marc Spilker, CFO David Viniar, Tom Tuft, and Eric Mindich.)
Alan D. Schwartz
President, Bear Stearns
Yet another Wall Street moneybags.
Senior Fellow, Hudson Institute
Kravis, an economist, brings intellectual gravitas as well as cash earned by her husband, Henry. Since 2002, the Kravis family has given more than $6 million to Robin Hood.
Victoria B. Bjorklund
Partner, Simpson Thacher and Bartlett
The head of the nonprofit group at Wall Street’s top law firm, Bjorklund is the board’s legal eagle. Pro bono, of course.
Peter D. Kiernan III
Chairman, Kiernan Ventures
Former Goldman honcho Kiernan has given nearly $400,000 to Robin Hood in the past two years.
THE CREATIVE CLASS
Chairman and CEO, Universal Music Group
One of the board’s music men, Morris helped persuade Beyoncé to sing at the 2006 Robin Hood Foundation gala; in 2001, he brought in the Who.
President, Network Development, MTV Networks
Music connections. Sykes booked Sheryl Crow to play a 2006 Robin Hood benefit at Radio City.
Robert Pittman, Chair
Partner, Pilot Group
The “father” of MTV and onetime chief operating officer of AOL Time Warner, Pittman represents downtown on a board dominated by Park Avenue financiers. In 2005, his family foundation gave $400,000 to Robin Hood. He also persuaded Tom Brokaw to join the board.
Co-chairman, The Weinstein Company
Harvey brings, well, Harvey. On the board for more than a decade, he recently got the Rolling Stones to play a 2006 Robin Hood benefit at Radio City.
THE NONPROFIT ELITE
Director, Bedford-Stuyvesant I Have A Dream Program
Chessa gives the board a presence in Bed-Stuy, another neighborhood of historically intense philanthropic interest. Chessa met Robin Hood founder Jones while the latter was volunteering with Brooklyn sixth-graders.
President and CEO, Harlem Children’s Zone
Canada gives Robin Hood street cred in its favorite location of charitable largesse—Harlem. Also a third-degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do.
Marian Wright Edelman
President, Children’s Defense Fund
Edelman brings diversity to a board composed mostly of white men and is famously tight with Bill and Hillary.
President, Fund for the City of New York
Another board member for whom philanthropy is a profession and not a hobby, McCormick has seen it all; she taught at Brooklyn’s P.S. 6 when it had the third-worst reading scores in the city.
Robin Hood has plastered her face on the front of fund-raising mailings, on which she does her best to look beautiful and serious at the same time. Interestingly, the foundation’s most recent filing lists her as Gwyneth Martin.
Former Anchor, NBC News
Along with $75,000 in donations over two years, Brokaw brings the board the Voice of God, albeit retired.
Co-host, Good Morning America and Primetime Thursday
A major draw at the foundation’s annual gala for donors seeking a name to drop at work the next day.