Non-profit

Robin Hood Foundation

This is a logo for the Robin Hood Foundation.
Website:

www.robinhood.org/

Location:

NEW YORK, NY

Tax ID:

13-3441066

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)

Budget (2017):

Revenue: $120,901,422
Expenses: $142,028,716
Assets: $410,831,803

Formation:

1988

President:

Wes Moore

Robin Hood is a left-leaning nonprofit associated with the financial industry that has been criticized for ineffectiveness at its stated mission of alleviating poverty in New York City despite massive fundraising successes. [1]

Founded by in 1988 by hedge fund manager Paul Tudor Jones, it has been described by the New York Times as “a favorite charity on Wall Street and among hedge funds,” [2] leveraging its connections to wealthy hedge fund and financial industry leaders to become the largest grantmaking organization of its kind in New York City by 2005. [3] Some of its high-profile supporters have included disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, hedge fund billionaire George Soros,  former Soros associate and hedge fund billionaire Stanley Druckenmiller, Childrens Defense Fund leader Marian Wright Edelman, John F. Kennedy, Jr., Rolling Stone publisher Jann Wenner, Home Depot co-founder Kenneth G. Langone, former NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw, ABC News host Diane Sawyer, actress Gwyneth Paltrow, and the CEOs of major companies such as Lehman Brothers, General Electric, Goldman Sachs, Bear Stearns, and Universal Music Group. [4]

Robin Hood has been criticized for a lack of transparency that is at odds with the reporting and metrics-driven demands it makes of grant recipients, as well as for its connection to hedge fund industry groups that advocate for favorable tax treatment that decreases revenues to governments that provide public services to low-income residents. [5]

To date, Robin Hood has raised more than $3 billion. [6] [7]

Activities

Robin Hood is primarily a grant-making entity, focusing on poverty alleviation in New York City.

The organization operates a “Poverty Tracker” dashboard on its website in conjunction with Columbia University that makes claims such as “More than 50 percent of New Yorkers experienced food hardship at least once over a four-year period” and “Almost half of New Yorkers wouldn’t be able to cover an expense of $400 with cash.” [8] These figures are at odds with official poverty metrics, which Robin Hood attributes to its use of a proprietary and unique measure of “poverty” that is specific to New York City. [9]

Robin Hood’s model is to distribute as much each year in grants as it receives from donors, while its board members fund its administrative overhead costs. [10]

It attempts to apply financial industry principles to its grant programs, calculating a return on assistance to the poor per dollar of cost to Robin Hood. [11] It reportedly spends more than $500,000 per year performing these analyses. [12]

Robin Hood is the largest private donor to New York public schools. [13]

In 2018, Robin Hood released a report co-authored by academics at Columbia University and Robin Hood staff that opposed changes the Trump administration had proposed to immigration regulations. These “Public Charge” reforms would deny entry to immigrants who might potentially require government-funded services such as food stamps or Medicaid. [14]

People

Robin Hood was founded in 1988 by Paul Tudor Jones II and five fellow hedge fund managers. Its board has grown to include some of the most powerful people on Wall Street, including the CEOs of Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan Chase and leaders of some of the largest hedge funds in the world. [15]

Its board and leadership council also include high-profile names from media, sports, entertainment, government, real estate, and other industries traditionally associated with New York City. These have included television news personalities Diane Sawyer, Brian Williams, and Tom Brokaw; CNN Worldwide President Jeff Zucker; News Corp co-chairman and Fox Corporation CEO Lachlan Murdoch; iHeartMedia chairman and CEO Robert Pittman; former Obama administration Secretary of Education John King, Jr.; former General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt; Home Depot co-founder Kenneth G. Langone; Rolling Stone publisher Jann Wenner; actress Gwyneth Paltrow; New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning; and music industry executive Antonio “LA” Reid.

Founding board member Harvey Weinstein resigned as a board member in October 2017 after several allegations of rape and sexual assault. [16]

The CEO of Robin Hood is Wes Moore, a U.S. Army combat veteran and author who worked in the U.S. State Department in the George W. Bush administration. [17] Moore took over in 2017 from David Saltzman, who was CEO for 27 years. [18]

Connection to Hedge Fund Industry

Robin Hood is closely connected to the Managed Fund Association (MFA), which is the primary lobbying organization for the hedge fund industry. [19] MFA Chairman John Torell is CFO and managing director for Robin Hood founder Paul Tudor Jones’ hedge fund, Tudor Investment Corporation. [20]

Overall, 12 of the 19 men in leadership positions at Robin Hood are hedge fund managers. [21]

Robin Hood has been criticized for those connections, primarily by left-wing interests that promote higher taxes on hedge funds and other financial industry entities. [22] They claim that Robin Hood is a vehicle for tax avoidance by hedge fund managers, and that it inappropriately subsidizes the lobbying interests of the MFA.

Funding

With its hedge fund and finance industry roots, Robin Hood places what Institutional Investor Magazine described as an “unusual emphasis” for a nonprofit on its fundraising figures, and has been criticized for having, “too much emphasis on fundraising, not enough on results.” [23]

Robin Hood Foundation holds an annual gala that is one of the largest fundraising events in the country, and attended by financial industry executives, politicians, entertainment celebrities and other high-profile individuals. [24] Auction listings at the event frequently include celebrity-focused “experiences” such as music lessons from famous musicians such as Coldplay’s Chris Martin or the opportunity to play sports with professional athletes like NFL quarterback Tom Brady. [25] At the 2019 event, 23 attendees each pledged to donate $1 million to the organization. [26] [27]

The largest donation in Robin Hood’s history was a 2009 grant of $50 million over three years from George Soros. [28] The grant was contingent on the members of Robin Hood’s board matching Soros’s donation. Soros has been a donor to Robin Hood for decades and had previously made a $4.5 million grant in 1997 that was also at the time the largest donation the organization had received to date. [29]

Criticism and Controversies

Robin Hood previously invested some of its assets in hedge funds managed by board members and donors, paying $14 million in fees. [30] It received criticism for these arrangements, despite reporting higher returns from these investments than stock market averages and announced in 2007 that it was ending the practice.

A report by the left-wing union-backed pressure group Hedge Clippers analyzed Robin Hood ’s donors and estimated that for every $1 donated to Robin Hood, they received the equivalent of $44 in tax avoidance and support for tax policy advocacy that favored their interests. [31]

Charity evaluation organization GiveWell also performed an evaluation on Robin Hood and criticized its lack of transparency and accountability, while also questioning whether Robin Hood’s “impact-focused giving” delivered the claimed benefits. GiveWell concluded that Robin Hood’s grantmaking model is poor: “Robin Hood has essentially no transparency, and essentially no accountability, to the public and to its donors (at least the smaller donors, i.e., those giving tens of thousands of dollars).” [32] [33]

References

  1. Cohen, Rick. “Billions in Hedge Fund Wealth behind the Robin Hood Foundation.” Non Profit News | Nonprofit Quarterly, August 30, 2018. https://nonprofitquarterly.org/billions-in-hedge-fund-wealth-behind-the-robin-hood-foundation/. ^
  2. Harris, Elizabeth A. “Robin Hood, Favorite Charity on Wall Street, Gets New Leader.” The New York Times. The New York Times, April 25, 2017. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/25/nyregion/robin-hood-foundation-charity-wes-moore.html. ^
  3. Arrillaga-Andreessen, Laura and Chang Victoria. “Robin Hood. Stanford Graduate School of Business. 2007. Accessed November 26, 2019. https://www.gsb.stanford.edu/faculty-research/case-studies/robin-hood-0 ^
  4. “A Dossier on the Board of Directors of the Robin Hood Foundation – Money 2007 – New York Magazine – Nymag.” New York Magazine. New York Magazine, October 29, 2007. https://nymag.com/guides/money/2007/39959/. ^
  5. Cohen, Rick. “Billions in Hedge Fund Wealth behind the Robin Hood Foundation.” Non Profit News | Nonprofit Quarterly, August 30, 2018. https://nonprofitquarterly.org/billions-in-hedge-fund-wealth-behind-the-robin-hood-foundation/. ^
  6. Orr, Leanna. “Hedge Funds Built the Robin Hood Foundation. Can It Move Beyond Them?” Institutional Investor. Institutional Investor, January 9, 2019. https://www.institutionalinvestor.com/article/b1cmcxl7ljvt3r/Hedge-Funds-Built-the-Robin-Hood-Foundation-Can-It-Move-Beyond-Them. ^
  7. “Millions Raised at the Annual Robin Hood Foundation Gala.” Philanthropy Times. May 23, 2014. Accessed November 26, 2019. https://philanthropytimes.wordpress.com/2014/05/23/millions-raised-annual-robin-hood-foundation-gala/ ^
  8. Wimer, Christopher, Sophie Collyer, Irwin Garfinkel, Lauren Kennedy, Matthew Maury, Kathryn Neckerman, Julien Teitler, and Jane Waldfogel. “THE STATE OF POVERTY AND DISADVANTAGE IN NEW YORK CITY.” Poverty Tracker. Robin Hood, December 2018. https://robinhoodorg-production.s3.amazonaws.com/uploads/2018/12/PT_ANNUAL_12.19.pdf. ^
  9. Wimer, Christopher, Sophie Collyer, Irwin Garfinkel, Lauren Kennedy, Matthew Maury, Kathryn Neckerman, Julien Teitler, and Jane Waldfogel. “THE STATE OF POVERTY AND DISADVANTAGE IN NEW YORK CITY.” Poverty Tracker. Robin Hood, December 2018. https://robinhoodorg-production.s3.amazonaws.com/uploads/2018/12/PT_ANNUAL_12.19.pdf. ^
  10. Orr, Leanna. “Hedge Funds Built the Robin Hood Foundation. Can It Move Beyond Them?” Institutional Investor. Institutional Investor, January 9, 2019. https://www.institutionalinvestor.com/article/b1cmcxl7ljvt3r/Hedge-Funds-Built-the-Robin-Hood-Foundation-Can-It-Move-Beyond-Them. ^
  11. Serwer, Andy. “The Legend of Robin Hood.” Fortune. Cable News Network, September 8, 2006. https://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune_archive/2006/09/18/8386204/index.htm. ^
  12. Serwer, Andy. “The Legend of Robin Hood.” Fortune. Cable News Network, September 8, 2006. https://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune_archive/2006/09/18/8386204/index.htm. ^
  13. Robin Hood. “Robin Hood Donors Raise $60 Million at Annual Benefit.” Robin Hood, 3 May 2014, www.robinhood.org/robin-hood-donors-raise-60-million-at-annual-benefit-including-35-million-for-american-dream-fund-to-help-immigrants-struggling-in-poverty/. ^
  14. Wimer, Christopher, Matthew Maury, and Veyom Bahl. “PUBLIC CHARGE: HOW A NEW POLICY COULD AFFECT POVERTY IN NEW YORK CITY.” Robin Hood, December 2018. https://robinhoodorg-production.s3.amazonaws.com/uploads/2018/12/Public_Charge_Report_FINAL-4.pdf. ^
  15. “Governance.” Robin Hood, October 9, 2016. https://www.robinhood.org/about-us/governance/. ^
  16. McCambridge, Ruth. “Weinstein Resigns from Robin Hood Board as Others Return His Donations.” Nonprofit Quarterly. October 11, 2017. Accessed November 26, 2019. https://nonprofitquarterly.org/weinstein-resigns-robin-hood-board-others-return-donations/ ^
  17. “Wes Moore.” Robin Hood, April 25, 2017. https://www.robinhood.org/wes-moore/. ^
  18. Harris, Elizabeth A. “Robin Hood, Favorite Charity on Wall Street, Gets New Leader.” The New York Times. The New York Times, April 25, 2017. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/25/nyregion/robin-hood-foundation-charity-wes-moore.html. ^
  19. “#Hedgepapers No. 14: The Gift of Greed – How Hedge Fund Philanthropists Increase Inequality.” The Hedge Clippers. May 11, 2015. Accessed November 26, 2019. http://hedgeclippers.org/hedgepapers-no-14-the-gift-of-greed-how-hedgefund-philanthropists-increase-inequality/ ^
  20. “John Raymond Torell.” Bloomberg. 2019. Accessed November 26, 2019. https://www.bloomberg.com/profile/person/15140310 ^
  21. Parramore, Lynn. “Meet the Hedge Funders and Billionaires Who Pillage Under the Shield of Philanthropy.” August 5, 2015. Accessed November 26, 2019. https://truthout.org/articles/meet-the-hedge-funders-and-billionaires-who-pillage-under-the-shield-of-philanthropy/ ^
  22. “#Hedgepapers No. 14: The Gift of Greed – How Hedge Fund Philanthropists Increase Inequality.” The Hedge Clippers. May 11, 2015. Accessed November 26, 2019. http://hedgeclippers.org/hedgepapers-no-14-the-gift-of-greed-how-hedgefund-philanthropists-increase-inequality/ ^
  23. Orr, Leanna. “Hedge Funds Built the Robin Hood Foundation. Can It Move Beyond Them?” Institutional Investor. Institutional Investor, January 9, 2019. https://www.institutionalinvestor.com/article/b1cmcxl7ljvt3r/Hedge-Funds-Built-the-Robin-Hood-Foundation-Can-It-Move-Beyond-Them. ^
  24. “Robin Hood Raises $54.5 Million to Fight Poverty in NYC.” Philanthropy News Digest (PND), May 21, 2017. https://philanthropynewsdigest.org/news/robin-hood-raises-54.5-million-to-fight-poverty-in-nyc. ^
  25. “A Dossier on the Board of Directors of the Robin Hood Foundation – Money 2007 – New York Magazine – Nymag.” New York Magazine. New York Magazine, October 29, 2007. https://nymag.com/guides/money/2007/39959/. ^
  26. Cantrell, Liz. “Robin Hood’s Annual Benefit Is the Biggest Charity Night in the Country.” Town & Country. Town & Country, May 15, 2019. https://www.townandcountrymag.com/the-scene/parties/g27470197/robin-hood-benefit-2019/. ^
  27. “The Emperors of Benevolence.” New York Magazine. October 29, 2007. Accessed November 26, 2019. http://nymag.com/guides/money/2007/39959/ ^
  28. “George Soros Announces $50 Million Matching Grant to Fight Poverty in New York.” Open Society Foundations, May 11, 2009. https://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/newsroom/george-soros-announces-50-million-matching-grant-fight-poverty-new-york. ^
  29. Miller, Judith. “Soros Giving Millions to City’s Robin Hood Foundation.” The New York Times. December 3, 1997. Accessed November 26, 2019. https://www.nytimes.com/1997/12/03/nyregion/soros-giving-millions-to-city-s-robin-hood-foundation.html ^
  30. Mercado, Darla. “Robin Hood stops investing in rich.” Investment News. July 20, 2007. Accessed November 26, 2019. https://www.investmentnews.com/article/20070720/REG/70720027/robin-hood-stops-investing-in-rich ^
  31. #Hedgepapers No. 14: The Gift of Greed – How Hedge Fund Philanthropists Increase Inequality.” The Hedge Clippers. May 11, 2015. Accessed November 26, 2019. http://hedgeclippers.org/hedgepapers-no-14-the-gift-of-greed-how-hedgefund-philanthropists-increase-inequality/ ^
  32. “Robin Hood Foundation’s Relationships With Hedge Fund Managers Draw Scrutiny.” Philanthropy News Digest (PND), July 17, 2007. https://philanthropynewsdigest.org/news/robin-hood-foundation-s-relationships-with-hedge-fund-managers-draw-scrutiny. ^
  33. Holden. “What we know about Robin Hood (almost nothing).” The Give Well Blog. December 8, 2009. Accessed November 26, 2019. https://blog.givewell.org/2009/12/08/what-we-know-about-robin-hood-almost-nothing/ ^
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: April 1, 1989

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2017 Dec Form 990 $120,901,422 $142,028,716 $410,831,803 $76,426,105 N $129,301,900 $0 $863,192 $4,893,662 PDF
    2016 Dec Form 990 $171,693,929 $209,989,218 $431,285,963 $84,340,049 N $169,003,002 $0 $799,406 $3,808,343 PDF
    2015 Dec Form 990 $184,960,470 $157,218,464 $462,935,695 $71,817,155 N $195,718,658 $0 $1,267,465 $2,726,271 PDF
    2014 Dec Form 990 $142,420,271 $158,549,860 $446,826,179 $84,945,965 Y $150,751,968 $0 $1,259,953 $3,547,594 PDF
    2013 Dec Form 990 $171,875,574 $209,672,931 $447,689,231 $78,106,067 N $176,957,636 $0 $1,421,863 $3,169,178 PDF
    2012 Dec Form 990 $217,071,705 $157,088,014 $482,065,583 $84,429,368 N $228,080,396 $0 $1,679,738 $3,206,434 PDF
    2011 Dec Form 990 $143,091,095 $136,609,009 $397,861,862 $71,864,274 N $164,898,420 $0 $1,297,176 $3,009,536 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Robin Hood Foundation


    NEW YORK, NY