Founded in 1988 by hedge fund honcho, Paul Tudor Jones, The Robin Hood Foundation is one of the most successful charities in the United States, with a board made up a who's who of Wall Street including Blackstone's Larry Fink, SAC Capital's Steve Cohen, Greenlight Capital's David Einhorn and Och-Ziff Daniel Och, Ken Langone.
Tonight, Lady Gaga headlines its annual gala in New York, where bankers, hedge fund managers, and PE players will once again be writing very big checks. Last year, the gala raised a record $87 million dollars in one night. Can they do it again?
Executive Director David Saltzman says, "Absolutely. The even is about saving lives. Our donors give from the heart. And with the economy back on track, this year it is okay to give again."
But what about the pomp and circumstance Robin Hood puts forth each year? Won't that just make more Americans resentful of Wall Street?
"I think guests are prepared to be VERY generous tonight, in a serious way," Saltzman responds.
What about the notion that these are just fat-cat bankers and hedge fund billionaires who merely use the event to feel good about being fat, rich and spoiled?
"No, the public won't see them as rich Wall Streeter's using this as an excuse to party and show-off. They are serious about helping the impoverished and less fortunate. Those blessed by good fortune want to do everything possible to help their less fortunate neighbors and set an example," Saltzman says.