New York Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira dined on Cipriani 42nd Street beef and potatoes last night with Gary Cohn, the president of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) Their wives joined them and some 800 others at Harlem RBI’s 20th-anniversary benefit.
The road between Wall Street and baseball seems pretty busy these days. As Greenlight Capital Inc. President David Einhorn comes closer to minority ownership of the Mets, the handsome home-run hitter Teixeira has become a lead fundraiser for Harlem RBI, attracting donations from Cohn and other financiers.
“Fundraising in New York is a lot of fun,” Teixeira, in a suit and blue-and-purple tie, said. “I love meeting people and sharing a good idea.”
Cohn said his involvement is “for the kids” after buying a base used in the World Series at the event’s silent auction. “It’s going in my office,” Cohn said.
Harlem RBI uses baseball and softball as the core of a college-preparation program that includes after-school and summer academic enrichment. This year’s Harlem RBI seniors had a 100 percent acceptance rate to colleges.
Teixeira, a board member of the nonprofit, has helped the organization raise $10 million as part of its $20 million capital campaign, including his own $1 million donation. Last night’s event raised $2.3 million, said Harlem RBI’s executive director, Richard Berlin.
The funds will go toward building a home for a charter school, a playground and offices for the nonprofit at 104th Street between Second and Third avenues in East Harlem. The site is near Harlem RBI’s “Field of Dreams” softball field.
Harlem RBI has until the end of the year to raise another $10 million, a deadline set by the New York City Department of Education, which has pledged $32.5 million to the project.
The organization has long enjoyed support from the financial community. Harlem RBI board members include Glenview Capital Management’s managing director Kirk McKeown; Todd Builione, president of Highbridge Capital Management LLC; Peter Daneker of Blue Ridge Capital LLC; and Don Truesdale, a managing director of Goldman Sachs.
Cantor Fitzgerald & Co. is the largest corporate contributor. Its vice chairman, Stuart Fraser, has been involved with the organization for 15 years. Howard Lutnick, Cantor Fitzgerald’s chairman, president and chief executive officer, was an honoree last night, along with Teixeira.
Teixeira signed baseballs, posed for photographs and helped drive up bids for a vacation package at an Inspirato resort.
‘Two Home Runs’
“My wife and I went to Inspirato Pelican Hill last weekend and I came back so relaxed I hit two home runs,” he said, referring to the Newport Coast, California, resort.
Asked if his time rubbing shoulders with investment bankers has given him ideas for a future career, Teixeira noted that he has six more years on his Yankees contract, but “there’s no doubt this experience has gotten the wheels turning.”
He’s thinking private equity as opposed to investing, he said. “I wouldn’t trust myself investing my own money.”
As for what motivates him in his work with Harlem RBI: “At the end of the day, we’re all businessmen, and we all have a responsibility to help our community.”
(Amanda Gordon is a writer and photographer for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. Any opinions expressed are her own.)
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