The sum, which fell short of last year’s record of $87.8 million, will go to groups fighting poverty in the city. The total included $11.9 million raised at tables for a new program that will assist veterans of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars and National Reservists, as well as $400,000 for an auction item to fly to Los Angeles and record a song with Black Eyed Peas front man will.i.am.
The 2010 total included a matching gift from billionaire George Soros and Robin Hood board members.
Last night’s event, held at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, sold out in mid-April after the foundation announced that Lady Gaga would perform.
Founded in 1988, the Robin Hood Foundation raises money for 200 of New York’s poverty-fighting organizations. Its board -- which includes Paul Tudor Jones II, Greenlight Capital’s David Einhorn, SAC Capital Advisors LP’s Steven A. Cohen, film producer Harvey Weinstein and actor Gwyneth Paltrow -- covers the gala’s cost so that all proceeds go to the beneficiaries.
The mega-party, hosted by NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams, got more onstage action when Tony Bennett performed a couple of ballads. Kid Rock later sang about making the world a better place as uniformed military personnel marched into the center of the dining area.
“It was incredible, the event was unlike anything I had seen,” said Justin Sadrian, a Warburg Pincus managing director and first-time Robin Hood gala attendee, in an interview. “This gala is on a totally different level than others.”
To contact the reporter on this story: Patrick Cole in New York at pcole3@Bloomberg.net.
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Manuela Hoelterhoff in New York at Mhoelterhoff@bloomberg.net