NEW YORK, Oct. 21, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Last night, Robin Hood's annual benefit returned to New York City with a star-studded evening that raised $77.5 million toward the fight against poverty. The event brought together the biggest names in entertainment, business, and philanthropy with the shared mission to raise critical funding for New Yorkers living in poverty, and to lead the way for New York City's next great comeback.
Hosted by Cecily Strong, the benefit featured a show-stopping concert by The Jonas Brothers and inspirational tributes and performances by Alicia Keys, Bruce Springsteen, Paul McCartney, and more. To further underscore the meaning of the evening, the benefit took place on the 20th anniversary of the historic Concert for New York City, which raised over $35 million for Robin Hood's Relief Fund for the survivors and families of the terrorist attacks that took place on September 11, 2001.
"Robin Hood was founded 33 years ago to help elevate New Yorkers in need from poverty. Exactly twenty years ago last night, we came together for the Concert for New York City, and we saw New Yorkers' willingness to help their neighbors when they needed it most. We did it after Superstorm Sandy, and right now our city needs us again because too many New Yorkers are still hurting and being left behind," said Paul Tudor Jones, Robin hood co-founder and board member. "New York is the greatest city in the world and we are determined to make its promise of opportunity a reality for everyone by getting families back on their feet, kids back on track and helping New Yorkers to get back to work. New York's comeback can more inclusive than ever before. We are grateful to every donor, guest, and performer last night."
100% of the funds raised at the benefit will be invested in the most impactful poverty-fighting programs across all five boroughs specifically aimed at three critical goals:
- Getting families back on their feet by partnering with the public sector and nonprofit organizations to shore up basic needs like access to food and shelter;
- Getting kids back on track by investing in targeted education programs, while responding to students' increased social and emotional needs; and
- Getting New Yorkers back to work by training and placing workers in high-quality, high-growth job sectors like technology, healthcare, and construction.
"Robin Hood is leading the fight against poverty in New York City and our work is more consequential than ever before. As someone who grew up in this city and spent my career working with communities who lacked the same opportunities, I recognize that we are facing an exceptional challenge. Despite poverty rates dropping nationwide, poverty in our city is on the rise. Our kids are finally back in the classroom, but nearly half of the more than one million students in our city are performing below grade level. Our unemployment rate is double the national average and millions of New Yorkers still cannot afford to pay their rent or put food on the table," said Robin Hood's Chief Executive Officer, Richard R. Buery, Jr. "I am so grateful to the incredibly talented Alicia Keys, Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen, and the Jonas Brothers for coming together for our fellow New Yorkers, and for every donor who continues to support the fight against poverty in New York City."
This year's benefit was co-chaired by Alexis Ohanian, John Sykes, Neil and Rachel Blumenthal, and Audrey and Danny Meyer. The night was supported by generous sponsors including Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, Casa Dragones, Empire State Building, New York or Nowhere, Warby Parker, Winged Keel Group, and Wölffer Estate Vineyard.
Among the other special highlights of the evening:
- As part of Robin Hood's partnership with the MTA and through the generosity of The Gray Foundation, guests entered through "Turnstiles Gateway to Opportunity," a tunnel of 10,000 MetroCards, each with a $33 value which will be distributed to Robin Hood community partners to provide 120,000 rides to get New Yorkers back to work.
- Stephen Colbert's voice rang out in the venue as he served as Voice of God throughout the night.
- Bruce Springsteen delivered a charismatic acoustic performance of hit songs "Working on The Highway," "Dancing in The Dark," and "Thunder Road."
- Benefit Co-Chair John Sykes, President of Entertainment Enterprises for iHeartMedia, led a heart-warming tribute to Paul McCartney which included a performance of The Beatles hit "Let It Be" by Alicia Keys.
- Paul McCartney was awarded Robin Hood's prestigious Silver Archer Award for his two-decade long partnership with the organization – including 9/11 and Hurricane Sandy relief – which has helped to raise over $200 million for New Yorkers in need. He was then joined on stage by a group of New York City firefighters, in addition to Nick Jonas, Alicia Keys, Bruce Springsteen, and John Sykes. He remarked that the moment was especially touching for him because his own father was a firefighter.
- With the help of Roger Goodell, Eli Manning, and Justin Tuck, Robin Hood paid tribute to New York sports and their fans by inviting the winner from Robin Hood's Rise Up New York! Omaze fundraiser on stage to present her with a New York Giants jersey. Through Omaze, she won a once in a lifetime experience: her very own Super Bowl ring and a game of touch football with Eli Manning, Michael Strahan, Phil Simms, and Justin Tuck.
- Richard R. Buery, Jr. introduced a video of remarkable New Yorkers who benefited from Robin Hood's nonprofit partners – including the Charles B. Wang Community Health Center, CommonLit, iMentor, and Pursuit – to share their personal stories and showcase the impact of Robin Hood's support. After the video, those in attendance joined Buery on stage and received a standing ovation.
- Paul Tudor Jones took the stage to remind New Yorkers about how far we've come in the fight against poverty and underscored the urgency of continuing to support efforts to alleviate poverty as we rebuild from the pandemic.
- SNL's Cecily Strong and Bowen Yang cheerfully announced the final amount of money raised throughout the evening – an astounding $77.5 million dollars.
- The Empire State Building lit up in Robin Hood Green in celebration of bringing New Yorkers back together once again.
- The Jonas Brothers ended the night with a lively concert featuring hit after hit.
To request additional information on Robin Hood's fight against poverty or to donate, please visit www.robinhood.org.
Hi-res images can be found here:
- Photos courtesy of Robin Hood or Getty Images
- Photos of the 2001 Concert for New York City, courtesy of Getty Images
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About Robin Hood:
Robin Hood has been fighting poverty in New York City since 1988. Because Robin Hood's board covers all overhead, 100% of every donation goes directly to the poverty fight. Last year, Robin Hood awarded $172 million in grants, filling a critical void during the COVID-19 pandemic by providing cash assistance, meals, housing, healthcare, education, and other urgent needs to one million New Yorkers impacted by COVID-19, as well as funding an array of programs and initiatives developed to elevate families out of poverty in New York City. Follow the organization on Twitter @RobinHoodNYC and learn more at www.robinhood.org.
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