• Glenview's Larry Robbins quips about when 'my P&L went south'
  • Paul Tudor Jones opines in costume about merits of a big brain

At Robin Hood Foundation’s annual benefit on Monday night, the focus on building children’s brains had hedge fund manager Larry Robbins thinking about his own neural transformation.

Larry Robbins and his wife Sarahmay
Larry Robbins and his wife Sarahmay
Source: Robin Hood Foundation via Bloomberg

"I used to be left brain until about nine months ago and then my P&L went south," Robbins said to 4,000 guests at the Javits Center. His flagship fund at Glenview Capital Management lost about 12 percent in the first quarter of 2016 and was down 18 percent last year.

Robbins, a co-chairman of the event and a vice chairman on the Robin Hood board, then proved he hasn’t lost all of his left brain (math) skills. Adding up the amounts raised from a challenge grant, matching gifts, and ticket and table sales, he announced the sum: $61.1 million. (Actually, the figure presented on 20 screens around the room was $61,154,077.)

Brainiac Paul Tudor Jones
Brainiac Paul Tudor Jones
Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Earlier Paul Tudor Jones, founder of Robin Hood, marched to the center of the room wearing a giant brain on his head, though his first words in the get-up weren’t rocket science. "This week I learned the number one thing women look for in a man is brains," he said.

To coax pledges, parts of his headdress lit up green. "I know you’re looking at my big brain," Jones said. Then in a video a girl who has benefited from Robin Hood programs advised guests on how to make a donation. She ought to know as young brains have up to twice as many synapses as an adult’s: "Lots of zeros!" she said.

As for Jones, clients of Tudor Investment Corp. have asked to pull more than $1 billion from the hedge fund firm after three years of lackluster returns.

Justin Tuck and Will Blodgett
Justin Tuck and Will Blodgett
Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

While Robin Hood’s new program targets brain development in a child’s first three years, former New York Giants star Justin Tuck was on hand to remind us that adults can learn too. After a career in the NFL, he said he’s going to Wharton in the fall and would like to go into real estate.

Meanwhile, Governor Andrew Cuomo let the crowd know that he was stumped by the gala menu.

Howard and Andrew Marks with their first course and dessert
Howard and Andrew Marks with their first course and dessert
Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

"That is a lot of pastrami short rib and I’m not even sure what pastrami short rib is," Cuomo said of the main course prepared by Danny Meyer’s Union Square Events.

Well, it tasted like pastrami, looked like short rib, and came on a bed of mustard sauce. The first course was a spring pea and carrot salad with farro, sesame and coconut. Dessert was a raspberry napoleon.

David Saltzman, Robin Hood’s executive director for almost three decades, covered up his noggin with a
green Yankees cap made for the nonprofit. He’d come from the Yankees game where Robin Hood distributed free caps (and the home team defeated the Royals).

Hats on at Vandal
Hats on at Vandal
Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Gala guests found the caps in their goody bags, though the ones who wore them best were at the after party for next-generation donors at the Bowery hot spot Vandal.

There, Barry Sternlicht and son James hung out in a banquette as other guests decorated their beer bottles with green bendy glow sticks. An espresso machine cranked and bartenders served bespoke drinks with a Robin Hood theme, including "The Maid Marian," with bourbon and walnut bitters, and "The Sherwood Forest" with Don Julio and habanero peppers.

Ryan Babenzien, CEO of Greats, in Robin Hood sneakers
Ryan Babenzien, CEO of Greats, in Robin Hood sneakers
Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

What to look forward to after such a night? Reynold Levy, president of Robin Hood since January, said supporters will be treated to a private performance of "Hamilton" on Sept. 19, underwritten by JPMorgan Chase & Co. For donors who crave something completely new there’s the $240 Pronto sneakers specially designed for the nonprofit with green and blue suede.

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