• 04 Jun 2008 at 5:04 PM
  • charity

Turtle Bay & Team Boomer: Fundraiser

And so that was Wednesday. This means we only have two more days until the weekend, or a day and half for those of us who like to slip out early on Fridays. But before that we’ve got a good idea: do something good.
In particular, you can help raise money for the ongoing battle against the respiratory disease Cystic Fibrosis. Team Boomer-Fighting Cystic Fibrosis is a competitive athletic club, with a goal of promoting the benefits of physical exercise. On Thursday night they’re holding a fundraiser at Turtle Bay, the midtown east bar on 2nd Avenue between 52nd and 53rd. (As it turn out the place wasn’t destroyed the crane collapse in March.) A mere thirty five bones buys you an open bar for 3 hours, and the ability to be as selfish and hedonistic as you want all weekend because you’ve already got your do-gooding done.
The proceeds go towards the Boomer Esiason Foundation’s Exercise for Life Scholarship for people with CF. Tell the bartenders that DealBreaker sent you.

hewould'vedoneit.jpgTomorrow is the first day of Movember, a charity event started in Australia that gets men to grow mustaches (and ‘stache supporters to sponsor their efforts) in order to raise money for prostate cancer research. In years past, Mo Bro participation from the Aussie branches of Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, Deloitte and PricewaterhouseCoopers has been huge, and nearly 25% of funds generated since the organization was started four years ago have come from finance professionals. With Thursday marking the first time the contest is being held in the U.S., you would think that top banks would be gung-ho about their employees growing hair, just to prove themselves better than one another in a category other than record losses, but, apparently, not so much. We placed some calls today to find out which firms will officially be sporting wool and let’s just say that you should all be performing regular self-exams for early detection, because a cure is not around the corner. When asked if their CEOs would be setting good examples for their minions by growing moustaches this month (and, obviously, contractually obligating the plebes to do so, as well), Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers and Citigroup all said no, and Goldman Sachs said it’d get back to us but hasn’t (which is probably a no and besides the point: Blankfein promised himself he’d never go back to his hobo days a long time ago). A spokeswoman for Merrill Lynch told us that, like all the other pro-cancer banks in New York, hers would not be asking employees to take part in the event, and reminded us that, at the present time, MER has no CEO on which to grow a ‘stache. When we casually wondered aloud whether or not the last guy to run the company would’ve seen the same fate had he worn some fur, she responded, “maybe not.” And honestly? Girl didn’t sound like she was kidding.
Do you have the ability to grow facial hair and the balls to say corporate culture be damned, I am not down with this life-threatening disease? Send photographic updates on your progress here.
Growing Facial Hair for Charity [WSJ]

  • 21 Sep 2007 at 1:40 PM
  • charity

Steve Schwarzman Is No Warren Buffett

blackstoneiposecondayfirstdaypopletdisapointingipoperformancedownwarddowndowndown.JPGWe’re on the record as being skeptics of the charity industry. But even we were surprised to read how little Blackstone’s Stephen Schwarzman gives away. The latest issue of Contribute magazine carries a story by Michael Gross describing the paucity of Old Crab Claws charitable donations.

Perhaps to get him started in that noble pursuit [of charitable giving], the venerable New York Public Library chose to honor him at its annual corporate dinner in June—prompting the usually businessman-friendly New York Sun to pointedly note that Schwarzman’s name appears nowhere on the Chronicle of Philanthropy’s list of the 61 most generous givers. Nor is it on BusinessWeek’s Top 50 Most Generous. And it’s no wonder: the 2006 tax return for his Schwarzman Charitable Foundation shows five-figure assets of only $63,424 and notes that only $991 of that is being held for charitable purposes.

Gross is shocked that Schwarzman gives so little to charity. “You’ve proven you can bring home the bacon better than anyone else right now. But so what?” he writes. “When are you and your colleagues going to start spreading around more of the pork?”
We had a different reaction. This is a man with a will of iron, we thought. Anyone with as much money as Schwarzman has is no doubt besieged by charity racketeers seeking to exploit feelings of charitable obligation to fund their favored causes. To stand up against this horde, to refuse to seek public approval lavished upon the likes of Warren Buffett, to turn a deaf ear on the mockery from media types like Gross, to resist the temptation to attempt to buy a VIP ticket through the pearly gates…well, it strikes as heroic.
But then again, maybe he’s just cheap.
Hoard The Bacon [Page Six]
Hedgehog Heaven [Contribute; pdf file]

  • 19 Jul 2007 at 10:15 AM
  • charity

Robin Hood Fund Pulls Investments From Hedge Fund Managers

The Robin Hood Foundation, a giant charity for the poor in New York City, is withdrawing investments in hedge funds managed by members of its board of directors and leadership council, according to a letter to Robin Hood supporters obtained by DealBreaker.
The charity had come under criticism from Washington, DC lawmakers for investing with—and paying fees to—hedge fund managers who also serve on its board of directors. Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa, the leading Republican on the Senate committee which oversees charities, recently expressed his disapproval of the fees paid to board members.
“I don’t remember Robin Hood keeping two and 20 as his cut,”’ says Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa, the top Republican on the tax-writing finance committee, which also oversees charities.
The charity had invested money from an emergency fund built from donations from its board members with as many as 19 hedge funds. Seven of those funds are managed by board members or members of the charity’s leadership council. Those managers were paid fees of 2 percent of assets and 20 percent of profit for managing the assets.
In a letter to supporters emailed last night, David Saltzman, the charity’s executive director, announced that the charity would no longer invest money with members of its board.
“Although we are totally comfortable with these procedures, as part of our board’s ongoing governance review over the past year, and to avoid even the appearance of any conflict, we have decided that none of Robin Hood’s leadership will manage these funds going forward,” Saltzman said.
Earlier this week Saltzman had defended the practice as benefitting the charity since the hedge fund managers on its board were leaders in the money management business. Since 1990, the returns after fees had averaged over 17 percent annually, according to Saltzman. Apparently the scrutiny from lawmakers like Grassley has convinced Robin Hood to give up the practice.
Even if the returns for the contingency fund’s investments decline, the poor who benefit from the charity’s work will no doubt be comforted by the fact all apparent conflicts of interest are being avoided.
After the jump you can read the full text of Saltzman’s letter.

Read more »

  • 02 Jul 2007 at 9:07 AM
  • charity

Warren Buffett Lunch Up Less Than Five Percent

warrenbuffettlunch.jpgAn Irvine, California based investor won the charity auction for a lunch with Warren Buffett on Friday night. His $650,100 winning was around 4.8% higher than last years winning bid. But year-over-year growth in the bidding has slowed dramatically, perhaps suggesting that the market for lunch with Warren Buffett is maturing or plateauing. Last year’s winning bid was 76% than the previous years.
As is usually the case with these sorts of things, bidding remained relatively tame for most the auction, but surged almost $250,000 in the last hour.
The winning bid came from Mohnish Pabrai, who manages more than $600 million at his hedge fund. Another hedge fund manager, He said Guy Spier, staked around one-third of his winning bid.
Warren Buffett Power Lunch to Benefit Glide Foundation []
Warren Buffett lunch sells for record $650,100 [Reuters]

  • 07 Jun 2007 at 1:36 PM
  • charity

Charity Caption Contest Winner

[photo: Lauren Lancaster, Veras Images, celebrate her whole catalog of banker pics]
It turns out, the thing on this hedge fund manager’s mind is:
– Is that sunlight? Must be Saturday. (courtesy of “thain”)
So “thain,” wherever you are (your house in Rye or your NYSE office?), send us your info (tips at dealbreaker dot com) and we’ll put you and a guest on the list. Or if you defer, we’ll pick another winner. Yeah, so we’re probably crashing the event ourselves, aren’t we?
Regardless, everyone should go to the 2007 Summer Soiree to benefit Wall Street Volunteers at the Runway Lounge tonight from 8pm-11pm. You can buy a ticket here. Wall Street Volunteers connects Wall Street Professionals with non-profit organizations they can be passionate about. In other words it does all your philanthropic legwork for you so you can just cut checks and feel decent about yourself.
Thanks for participating. Some of the other captions we really liked:
– Where’s my shirt? I guess I’ll check the markets. (Great if the market weren’t so hot right now (even after the past 2 days))
– Some day soon, those of us who are short are going to win big! (Still under debate, and it’s tough to gauge the guy’s actual size, as objects in bed can appear smaller than they are, especially in the minds of financial professionals)
– The sell-off in China is keeping me up at night. (They all look the same to you!)
– You’re money’s on the dresser, Levin (Bess prefers Blatinos)
– I have no legs (a paradox – it’s not funny if it’s true (well, it kinda is but we can’t admit it))
– I wonder what Kumar’s up to… (if only this were a personal blog)
– I really hope these pics won’t end up on DealBreaker. (Send us embarrassing pictures of your finance industry friends, at tips at dealbreaker dot com and we’ll do a caption contest based on them)