The single largest charity fundraising gala in the nation outdid itself this year, cracking the $100-million mark for the first time ever.
The Robin Hood Foundation’s annual gala on May 12 raised a record $101,688,198. Contributions ranged from $5 to $25 million, including one from an anonymous donor that will launch a fund investing in education and technology initiatives. Pershing Square Foundation co-founders Bill and Karen Ackman made a $25-million grant toward the organization’s overall mission of “fighting poverty, with an emphasis on funding programs directly to the Latino community in New York City.” Robin Hood board members underwrite all operational and event costs.
In addition to the annual gala that draws from 4,000 supporters to the Jacob Javits Convention Center, the Robin Hood Foundation hosted two additional benefits at Lavo and the Gallery at the Dream Downtown, where 1,000 young professionals attended.
The annual gala was hosted by Robin Hood board member Katie Couric and featured a performance by Paul McCartney. There also was a surprise musical guest in Jon Bon Jovi, who performed an acoustic version of his hit song, “Livin’ on a Prayer.” Other entertainers included The Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon and comedian Michael Che. Co-chairs of the event included Robin Hood board member Jeff Immelt, chairman and CEO of GE; Indra Nooyi, chairman and CEO of PepsiCo; former New York Yankee Mariano Rivera, and David Zaslav, president and CEO of Discovery Communications.
“Last night, more than 5,000 people came together to feel joy and pride and to create a true community of caring,” Robin Hood Executive Director David Saltzman said in a statement announcing the total estimates. “We are overwhelmed by their generosity and humbled by their faith in Robin Hood. Thanks to our donors, we will be able to improve the lives of hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers,” he said.
The previous high-water mark for the gala was almost $81 million raised in 2013 while last year’s gala raised $60 million.