News / USA

Concert for Sandy Victims Will Reach Across World

Signage for the "12-12-12" concert is displayed on the Madison Square Garden jumbotron in New York, December 11, 2012.
Signage for the "12-12-12" concert is displayed on the Madison Square Garden jumbotron in New York, December 11, 2012.
Carolyn Weaver
A New York benefit concert for Hurricane Sandy victims, featuring performances by the Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, Kanye West, Bon Jovi and Bruce Springsteen, among others, is shaping up to be the most widely seen musical event ever, according to organizers, with a projected worldwide audience approaching two billion.
 
The 12-12-12 Concert for Sandy Relief at New York’s Madison Square Garden
is the brainchild of a little-known New York City anti-poverty organization, the Robin Hood Foundation, founded in 1988 by hedge fund owners Paul Tudor Jones and Glenn Dubin.
 
The foundation operates on a “venture philanthropy” model, funding $140 million in grants each year to about 200 anti-poverty efforts across New York City, says Deborah Winshel, Robin Hood’s president and chief operating officer. After Sandy ‘s devastation, it expanded its reach to hard-hit communities in New Jersey, Connecticut and Long Island, as well.
 
Several Robin Hood board members, including film producer Harvey Weinstein and John Sykes, president of Clear Channel Entertainment, organized the Sandy relief concert with Madison Square Garden chairman James Dolan - as they did the far smaller Concert for New York following the September 11, 2001 attacks. They say this year’s concert will reach many millions more, who will be able to watch and listen for free live via the Internet and scores of TV and radio broadcasts around the world.
 
Deborah Winshel, President and COO, Robin Hood FoundationDeborah Winshel, President and COO, Robin Hood Foundation
x
Deborah Winshel, President and COO, Robin Hood Foundation
Deborah Winshel, President and COO, Robin Hood Foundation
​Already, Winshel says, ticket sales have raised more than $32 million.  All the proceeds will go to organizations providing relief to those plunged into poverty - or threatened with it - by the storm’s devastation. She says that is also true of 100 percent of other donations to the foundation.  Board members themselves fund the organization’s overhead costs, so that donors know their money will be spent on aid, not on salaries or offices for the staff of 90.
 
“Robin Hood is the largest poverty fighter in New York City,” Winshel said. “We look to identify fund and support organizations that we think are the most effective in addressing poverty and that can range from soup kitchens to homeless shelters, to after-school programs to high schools, any intervention that we think will be helpful in allowing people to improve their lives.”
 
She said that Robin Hood’s innovation is using “investment principles” to try to assess both qualitatively and dollar for dollar, the cost-benefit ratio of anti-poverty programs - and funding only the most effective.
 
Charity springs from compassion, Winshel said, “But you can marry that to analytical rigor. We look at the entire landscape and try to use your money and leverage your dollar in the most effective way.”
 
The funds also flow without delay, she said. Robin Hood raised about $15.5 million in the immediate wake of Sandy - and has already distributed $14.5 million.
 
“We have a list on our web site we’re updating every week with all the grants we’re making related to Sandy, so that’s one way for anyone to understand where their money is going,” she said.
 
In addition to social service groups and food banks in New York City, Sandy donations now are going to similar efforts in Connecticut, Long Island and New Jersey.
 
The storm has created thousands of new homeless and poor in New York and surrounding areas, Winshel noted. Before the storm, 21 percent of New Yorkers were living in poverty, according to census data.
 
“We had 40,000 people living in shelter[s],” Winshel said. “Almost half are children. After Sandy, that number has gone up somewhere into the 55,000s and [is] growing. The statistics are just startling, so for us, even Sandy aside, the work here is so significant and there’s so much still to do,” she said.

Winshel is aware of the irony of a hedge-funders’ charity named after a 13th century bandit of English folklore, legendary for stealing from the rich to give to the poor. In the case of the Robin Hood Foundation, however, it is about the ultra-rich challenging each each other to lighten their own coffers.

Financier George Soros has the record for a one-time gift, pledging $50 million in 2009. At the group’s annual awards dinner that year, the New York Times reported, comedian Jon Stewart told the crowd. “Tonight is a chance for Wall Street to help all those people hurt so badly by …Oh, sorry.”

They will have another chance with the 12-12 concert. “This is the biggest rock concert and the biggest grossing event ever,” Harvey Weinstein recently told the Wall Street Journal.

Prices for individual tickets to the sold-out concert, which will also feature Eric Clapton, The Who, Roger Waters, Alicia Keys, Bon Jovi, Billy Joel, Eddie Vedder, Chris Martin and Dave Grohl, were $150 to $25,000 - although million-dollar packages were also on offer to moguls who want to host friends for pre- and post-concert events as well.

You May Like

Video Miami Cubans Divided on New US Policy

While older, more conservative Cuban Americans have promoted anti-Castro political movement for years, younger generations say economically, it is time for change More

2014 Sees Dramatic Uptick in Boko Haram Abductions

Militants suspected in latest mass kidnapping of over 100 people in Gumsuri, Nigeria on Sunday More

Video Cuba Deal Is Major Victory for Pope

Role of Francis hailed throughout US, Latin America - though some Cuban-American Catholics have mixed feelings More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid