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Inside The Robin Hood Gala, Wall Street's Biggest Charity Event

Lloyd Blankfein, Goldman Sachs CEO
Source: Robin Hood Foundation
Lloyd Blankfein, Goldman Sachs CEO

The war on poverty got an $80 million dollar boost from Wall Street at last night's Robin Hood gala.

Since its inception in 1988, Robin Hood has raised and distributed $1.25 billion. And because Robin Hood's board underwrites all administrative expenses, 100 percent of donations goes directly to fighting poverty.

The party is one of the biggest Wall Street events each year. It attracts top hedge fund managers, top bank executives, and their friends and families.


Larry Fink, Blackrock CEO
Source: Robin Hood Foundation
Larry Fink, Blackrock CEO

Robin Hood founder Paul Tudor Jones gave a moving speech and reminded folks the real intention of the evening: "The mark of a gift is the intention behind it, not the dollars on it."

Tudor Jones later got the money flowing with his $10,000 offer to buy NBC News anchor Brian Williams's purple striped tie.

"I love that tie!" Williams said.

Williams later directed a few zingers at Mayor Mike Bloomberg about the Bloomberg terminals controversy.

"We have a Bloomberg terminal–so I know what you're all thinking," Williams said to the audience of high profile Wall Street folks.

Jim Simons, the founder of Renaissance Technologies, seated to the left of Mayor Bloomberg at the main table, cracked about the controversy as well.

"He sure has taken a lot of sharp elbows this week, that's for sure. Might make for fun dinner conversation if I did started in, too," Simmons said.

Mayor Bloomberg was not exactly in the mood to talk about the terminals, responding with a terse "enjoy the evening" when asked about the controversy.

BlackRock Chairman Larry Fink was easy to spot in that darkened space since he was sporting Robin Hood's trademark color, lime green.

David Tepper, Appaloosa Management CIO
Source: Robin Hood Foundation
David Tepper, Appaloosa Management CIO

David Tepper worked the room hard all night, checking his phone non-stop, presumably prepping for his big interview on CNBC the next morning.

Robin Hood board member Barry Sternlicht announced the launch of an Investors Conference this November, with featured speakers Dan Loeb, Bill Ackman, Julian Robertson, Larry Summers and Stan Druckenmiller sharing insights into the global markets.

Peter Kiernan, Robin Hood board member and author of Becoming China's Bitch, spent time talking to KKR's Henry Kravis and SAC Capital's Stevie Cohen.

Also spotted: Saba Capital Management's Boaz Weinstein and a discreet Hamish Bowles of Vogue Magazine.

"I was so curious about this event for years, and wanted to gather observations on this fascinating and secretive world," Bowles said.

David Einhorn was the very first to rush the state when Bono, Sting and Mary J. Blige performed, snagging a coveted front row spot with his kids. Also rocking out near the front were Google's Eric Schmidt and L.L. Cool J.

Greenlight Capital president David Einhorn
Source: The Robin Hood Foundation
Greenlight Capital president David Einhorn

At one point, Invamed's Ken Langone shouted over to Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein: "Hey, get over here, kid!" Blankfein happily obliged

Later Blankfein was spotted posing for photos with Justin Timberlake and wife Jessica Biel.

"I grew up poor. That was me! I was one of those kids that Robin Hood is helping out," Blankfein said.

(You can read our coverage of past Robin Hood events here and here.)

Follow Kerima on Twitter @KerimaGreene

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