The Robin Hood Foundation raised $54.5 million Tuesday night during its annual benefit at the Javits Center in New York City. The event, hosted by “Good Morning America” co-anchor and former NFL star Michael Strahan, featured performances from Chris Martin and Jonny Buckland of Coldplay, Miley Cyrus, and Dave Chapelle in for 4,000 attendees.
Unlike in past years, where a portion of donations were earmarked for a particular initiative, the dollars raised during this year’s benefit will go toward core programmatic work, according to a spokesperson for Robin Hood. All funds raised will go toward the feeding, housing, educating, caring and training of low-income individuals, the foundation partnering and funding more than 200 New York nonprofits. Robin Hood’s board underwrites all operating costs.
“The momentum this evening was extraordinary,” said Wes Moore, CEO of Robin Hood. “I think it’s safe to say we’re all energized to carry this forward to dig into the incredible work that lies ahead.”
The night was highlighted by a $15 million challenge by Chicago-based philanthropist Ken Griffin, founder and CEO of Citadel. Griffin is the first Robin Hood supporter to ever make multiple challenge grants to benefit the organization, having previously done so in 2001. Live pledges and table sales exceeded Griffin’s pledge total – bringing the evening’s total to $54.5 million and the organization’s all-time fundraising total to $2.5 billion.
The total itself is the event’s lowest in more than five years, when it raised $46.8 million in 2011, also trailing the $61.2 million raised last year; $101.7 million in 2015; $60 million in 2014; $81 million in 2013, and $57 million in 2012.
A spokesperson said for the Manhattan-based poverty fighting charity said that Robin Hood is unable to pinpoint a cause for year-to-year fluctuation given the differences between the events year to year.
In addition to Tuesday night’s benefit, Robin Hood announced a partnership with GREATS to create limited-edition GREATS x Robin Hood sneakers, currently selling for $179 with all proceeds going to benefit the organization. Five hundred pairs of the sneakers have been made, according to the spokesperson.