Oprah Winfrey, Bill and Melinda Gates, and Jennifer Lopez among thousands coming together to stand up against poverty
NEW YORK, May 16, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Robin Hood, one of the largest anti-poverty forces in the country, celebrated its 30th anniversary tonight at the Jacob Javits Center in New York, May 14, 2018. Robin Hood is the largest funder of poverty fighting programs in New York City, and uses rigorous metrics to track the impact of every program that have transformed philanthropy.
“Tonight we celebrate 30 years of Robin Hood,” CEO Wes Moore told the room of nearly 4,000 guests. “But we’re not just here to celebrate, because we still have too much work to do.”
Moore, who grew up on the brink of poverty in Baltimore before moving to the Bronx when he was six years old and living in one of the first communities Robin Hood invested in, charted a course for meeting the demands of fighting inequality today.
“We have to flex every muscle we have to address the systemic racism, sexism, and inequality we face in too many communities,” Moore said. “There are little boys and little girls all over this city just like me 30 years ago. Their stories have yet to be fully written.”
Lynne and Marc Benioff, Sonia and Paul Jones, Michael Corbat, Oprah Winfrey, and Barbara and Ray Dalio were co-chairs for the event.
Michael Che and Colin Jost, hosts of Saturday Night Live’s Weekend Update, Leslie Jones, and Michelle Wolf lent their comedic talents. Actress and singer Cynthia Erivo sang “Imagine.” Jennifer Lopez gave an incredible performance at the post-benefit concert to cap the night.
Bill and Melinda Gates of the Gates Foundation, which recently announced a $158 million investment to increase mobility from poverty in the United States, were honored at the event. Former New York City mayor Michael R. Bloomberg introduced them.
“This is one of the great organizations that anyone has ever come up with,” Bloomberg said of Robin Hood. “Our city is really better off because of Robin Hood.”
Robin Hood’s legacy includes providing more than 2 million New Yorkers with high-quality education, empowering more than 100,000 hardworking New Yorkers with jobs, and securing stable housing for more than 30,000 families.
Oprah contextualized the importance of the work, and Robin Hood’s role in the fight against poverty.
“I grew up poor. I watched my mother work multiple jobs cleaning other people’s houses to put food on the table and clothes on our backs. I knew that was not my destiny,” Oprah Winfrey said in her speech. “But, at that time, there were no organizations advocating for people like me to get out of poverty. There was no Robin Hood.”
Breaking from tradition of past years, Robin Hood will not release the total amount raised at the event.
“While the donations from the room are critical to empowering our work, we want to focus attention on the thousands of poverty fighters who have been on the ground day in and day out doing the work these past 30 years,” said Jones. “That said, we were blown away by the generosity tonight. We are so thankful to have exceeded the amount raised last year with one of our biggest years in recent history. It was a very good night.”
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