Robin Hood foundation scores Wall Street support for nonprofits

CEO of The Robin Hood Foundation, Wes Moore, speaks during The Robin Hood Foundation’s 2018 benefit at Jacob Javitz Center on May 14, 2018 in New York City.

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One of Wall Street’s favorite charitable organizations has raised several million dollars to support a fund that invests in nonprofit groups run by people of color. 

The Robin Hood foundation’s Power Fund kicked off this summer as the coronavirus pandemic spread and amid nationwide protests sparked by the police killing of George Floyd on Memorial Day.  

Robin Hood funds over 200 poverty-fighting programs in New York City. It is led by Wes Moore, an author and former investment banker at Citigroup.

“I think part of the thing we’ve seen is that everything we’ve witnessed post George Floyd, these aren’t new things because of George Floyd,” Moore told CNBC. “I think that the conversations we’ve been able to have with — whether they be donors or CEOs of companies — is about the more we look into the patterns and practices that we had even prior to all this, the more it just highlights that we have to move with a sense of urgency.”

Robin Hood’s board is full of Wall Street leaders, including chairman John Griffin, who was once a hedge fund manager; and the group’s vice chair, Dina Powell McCormick, an executive at Goldman Sachs. David Solomon, Goldman Sachs’ CEO, is also a board member.

Robin Hood’s latest 990 disclosure form shows that it raised almost $140 million in 2018 through contributions and grants. The group raised nearly $130 million the prior year.

The Power Fund, which has raised over $6 million on top of the seed money provided by the Robin Hood Foundation, has moved to support five organizations including America on Tech, which runs tuition-free technology skills development programs for 16- to 24-year-olds; the Association for Neighborhood & Housing Development, an umbrella organization of over 80 nonprofit community groups across New York City; and the Knowledge House, which provides technical training to low-income youth and young adults. 

Power Fund contributions have come from BlackRock, Capital One, the foundation arm of asset manager Macquarie Investment Management, along with donations from the employee-match programs at Goldman Sachs and Ray Dalio’s Bridgewater Associates.  

BlackRock, Capital One and Macquarie’s foundation each gave $300,000 to $500,000 to the Power Fund, Robin Hood’s team told CNBC.

The Stavros Niarchos Foundation, founded by the late Greek shipping magnate, is one of at least two foundations to have given to the Power Fund. Niarchos died in 1996. His sons Spyros and Philip are listed as co-presidents of the organization. Philip Niarchos’ net worth is estimated at $2.8 billion.

The Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation also gave to the fund. It was founded by the late oil and gas businessman Charles Schusterman and his wife, Lynn, a philanthropist with a net worth of $3.4 billion. Their daughter Stacy Schusterman is listed on the foundation’s website as its chair. She was once the chairman and CEO of Samson Investment Company, the oil and gas business founded by her father. 

The Stavros Niarchos Foundation and the Schusterman foundation each gave $1 million to the fund.

Moore said the foundation plans to give the nonprofits in the Power Fund the same benefits of any group Robin Hood backs. The CEO said Power Fund recipients get assistance in a range of ways, from building out their boards to help with management structuring.

The fund plans to support new organizations each quarter, he said.

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