Gerry Polizzi, a managing director at UBS, stood next to an ornate teller’s window Thursday night at Cipriani 42nd Street, formerly a grand Bowery Savings Bank.
The annual benefit for Hedge Funds Care had waiters serving Bellinis as guests dipped into penne pasta and risotto primavera.
Polizzi has been taking in money like a bank teller lately as a member of the child-abuse charity’s Committee of Hearts, which solicits donations for the event.
“One e-mail brought in $25,000,” he says. “I had at least 10 e-mails with gifts of $15,000 to $20,000.”
Near a buffet station offering shrimp cocktail and tuna tartare, Steven B. Nadel, a board member of Hedge Funds Care and a partner at the law firm Seward & Kissel LLP, isn’t eating. He says he had a burger at 4 p.m., but is tempted by one of the “chopstick/breadsticks” on offer.
Nadel is focusing on working the room, which is filled with more than 1,000 people in the financial industry, including hedge funds Tudor Investment Corp., Fortress Investment Group LLC, Moore Capital Management LLC and Ellington Financial LLC.
Michael W. Vranos, chairman and co-chief investment officer of Ellington and a Hedge Funds Care board member can be seen in the distance dressed, unlike many of the guests, in a tuxedo.
Nadel too is wearing a tuxedo. “The board has to wear a tux,” he says. “This is the tux I wore to my wedding in ‘97!”
His firm has given $35,000 this year. “We’ve given at least $25,000 for 13 years straight,” Nadel says.
Clinking a Glass
DJ Mr. Chachi, who spins regularly at the night club Tenjune and has worked for Hedge Funds Care free for the past four years, turns down the volume. Honoree Anthony Scaramucci, managing partner of Skybridge Capital LLC, is clinking his glass to quiet the crowd.
“This is bigger than my bar mitzvah back in 1978,” he says.
The joke from the Roman Catholic gets people’s attention as he explains the mission of Hedge Funds Care.
Children “are suffering humiliation and fear and decreasing self-esteem,” Scaramucci says. “We need to break these children out of the cocoon of self-consciousness and victimization.”
Dean Backer, worldwide brokerage sales and fund-raising head at Goldman, Sachs & Co., says Hedge Funds Care works in 11 cities in four countries, and has given out $24 million in grants since 1998.
The organization raised almost $2 million.
Then the music starts up again and it’s back to the party.
“I love Cipriani,” Scaramucci says. “I had my share of Bellinis, shrimp and unfortunately too much pasta.”
(Amanda Gordon is a writer and photographer for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. Any opinions expressed are her own.)