Hamptons Scene: Robin Hood Polo for John Griffin, DiMennaAmanda Gordon
Blue Ridge Capital’s John Griffin wore shorts and neon orange sneakers to a charity polo match in Water Mill yesterday, a long way from the white tie he donned for the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute Gala in May.
Because fundraising on a private horse farm calls for relaxed attire. And if you’re going to wear sneakers, they might as well coordinate with your wife’s and daughter’s orange dresses.
The occasion was the third annual Piaget Hamptons Cup benefiting the Robin Hood Foundation, offering an afternoon of pizza, crafts, pony rides, an Argentine asado-inspired barbecue, an ice-cream sundae bar and riding boot-clad horsemen.
Watched by an audience outfitted in Piaget baseball caps as well as wide-brimmed straw hats by Maison Michel of Paris, the team sponsored by St. Regis Hotels and Resorts featuring hedge-fund manager Joseph DiMenna and Argentine pro Nacho Figueras defeated Credit Suisse’s crew 9-6.
The event was full of parent-child bonding, from John Griffin’s wife, Amy, photographing her daughter riding a pony, to former Goldman Sachs vice chairman J. Michael Evans running after one of his kids who’d wandered onto the field during play, to DiMenna getting a hug from his eldest daughter during the awards ceremony.
Chris Kojima of Goldman Sachs, in jeans, a button-down and loafers, and his son Spencer discussed the differences between polo and soccer. An unrelated observation from Spencer: grass cut as short as the polo field would be good for playing golf.
Spencer’s younger brother Carter showed off his painting of a big purple spot to his mom, Beth Kojima of TPG-Axon Capital. He made the purple color (his favorite) himself by mixing red and blue paint, he said.
Also spending time over crafts and sandwiches in a small blue-canvas tent covered in white stars were Glenn Fuhrman of MSD Capital (like Griffin, in shorts), his daughter Annabel and pregnant wife, Amanda, and OZ Management’s Joseph Samuels.
Fashion designer Rachel Zoe and her husband and business partner Rodger Berman stomped divots with their son Skyler.
Philip Falcone wore a mint green Ralph Lauren button-down, similar to his look last year, while his wife, Lisa Marie Falcone, wore a Robin Hood-like wool hat (wool offers the best sun protection, she said.)
The Robin Hood Foundation aims to fight poverty in New York by providing financial and technical assistance to more than 200 nonprofits. It is known for its annual event in May at the Javits Center, which this year raised more than $60 million.
Part of the DiMennas’ mission in founding the polo event, which takes place on their Equuleus Polo Club, is to marry the family nature of polo, a sport that is very much a part of their lives, with Robin Hood Foundation’s emphasis on family philanthropy.
Getting some of Robin Hood’s core donors who work in finance together on the East End was a coup and a sign of how strong the loyalty is to the Robin Hood brand. Many consider their Hamptons trips to be time off from philanthropic duties as well as work.
The chairmen of the event included Stefano Natella, global head of equity research at Credit Suisse, and the vice chairmen included Brent Nicklas of Lexington Advisors.
The event has also succeeded in recruiting professional polo players into Robin Hood’s fold, chief among them Nacho Figueras, who also works as a model for Ralph Lauren.
He, his wife, model Delfina Blaquier, and two of his kids recently spent a morning at Association to Benefit Children in Harlem, a Robin Hood grantee for 26 years.
“It was a great experience to be able to see what happens with the money we raise here,” Figueras said. “Seeing the smiles on the kids’ faces was what really made it or me.”
The event brought in “$700,000 and counting,” Diana DiMenna said.
Organizing the event on her home turf is easier for her than planning benefits in the city, where she often works with a union theater or catering venue. Here the labor included patrons’ kids who set tables, kept score and drove golf carts.
“I can be more creative because I can say yes to a lot of things,” she said, in a pink floral dress and wedges. “What we have here is gorgeous open space, so we can invent it.”
The focal point was a white cloth tent that Sperry Tents provided at a discount, where after the match guests gathered for supper. On one side of the tent were bars serving Bloody Marys; on another, a suite of pedestals displaying Piaget jewelry and Polo 45 timepieces, including a $69,000 woman’s watch with diamonds.
“It is the fanciest tent in the Hamptons, but I promise you it is not the most expensive,” Diana DiMenna said.
The super moon rose above the field into a light blue sky with pink streaks as guests departed.