The $72 Million Party
A week after being pilloried for their billion-dollar salaries, hedge funders came out in droves last night to try to shore up their reputations as philanthropists.
More than 4,000 people attended the annual fundraising bash for the Robin Hood Foundation, the charity founded by Tudor Investment Corp. founder Paul Tudor Jones II. The bash was held in the cavernous Jacob Javits Center in Manhattan — not the most glamorous ballroom, but one of the only spaces in Manhattan large enough to hold the event. Attendees paid between $3,000 to $25,000 a ticket — if you could get one.
"The Daily Show" funny guy Jon Stewart was the host and the musical guest was Aerosmith. But the real star of the show was money. According to people close to the foundation, the event raised $72 million. That's as much as 30 times the usual amount raised at charity balls and far above last year's Robin Hood total of around $48 million.
A big chunk of the money came from feverish bidding contests between the top hedge- funders to win trips, dinners, luxury goods and all manner of other high-end services. One of the biggest hauls of the night: a chance to sing with Aerosmith singer Steven Tyler. Two unknown bidders ended up paying more than $800,000 combined for the prize.
"I couldn't believe the way these people were bidding," said one attendee. "It was crazy."
At least the donors know their money is being well-spent. Since all of Robin Hood's administrative, marketing and other costs are paid by the board, every dollar donated last night goes to helping alleviate poverty in New York City.