The Robin Hood Foundation gala, Wall Street’s largest single-evening fundraising event, had Lady Gaga onstage and took in $47.4 million last night at its annual New York dinner.
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 crowd, which drew on the worlds of finance, real estate and entertainment, included Henry Kravis, Sarah Jessica Parker, Martha Stewart, Steven Rattner and film director Ron Howard.
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.”