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Robin Hood Foundation Gala Raises Over $80M

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On Monday, May 13th, the Robin Hood Foundation hosted a gala to raise money to help fight poverty in New York City. Over the course of the evening, the foundation raised over $80 million. The event was chock-full of celebrities, business leaders, and other well-known faces, many of them donating significant amounts of money to the cause.

Mary J. Blige, Bono, Elton John, and Brian Williams were among the entertainment for the night, as were comedians Louis C.K. and Jerry Seinfeld. Newlyweds Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel also attended the event, stopping to chat with New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Paul Simon and Sting performed together on stage.

In 2011 the event raised about $47 million. In 2012, that number was beat by an impressive haul of $59 million. This year’s $80 million knocks both those numbers out of the water. The event was co-chaired by Timberlake and Biel, as well as by Paul Tudor Jones II and his wife Sonia; Henry Kravis and his wife Marie-Josee; and Leslie Moonves and his wife Julie Chen.

This event certainly isn’t the first time the Robin Hood Foundation has brought in big names, though. Last December, the foundation put on a benefit concert entitled “12-12-12,” with proceeds going to victims of Hurricane Sandy. Musicians like Bruce Springsteen and the Rolling Stones performed at the concert.

Funds raised and distributed by the Robin Hood Foundation have been used to install libraries at public schools in NYC, feed homeless and hungry New Yorkers, provide for victims of 9/11, and support victims of Superstorm Sandy—to name a few.

Read our profile of Henry Kravis here.

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People Who Give Back to Education

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There are some among the wealthy that simply keep what they earn, not feeling it necessary to give back. But then there are those like Henry R. Kravis and George Roberts, founders of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. (KKR), who highly value the education they received and never hesitate to give big and often.

For example, George Roberts recently gave a “no strings attached” $50 million gift to Claremont McKenna College, where he received his bachelor’s degree. His donation represents a large chunk of the school’s total funds raised of over $600 million this year. The school has decided to use the money to build new athletic facilities, which will bear George Roberts’ namesake.

Roberts’ partner in crime, Henry R. Kravis, has also bestowed hefty gifts upon both Claremont McKenna (where he, too, received his bachelor’s degree) and Columbia (where he earned his MBA). He donated a stunning $100 million to support the latter’s move of its business school to Manhattanville. One of the new facilities built will be called The Henry R. Kravis Building, and will be a state-of-the-art collaborative learning center.

Other well-known faces have also heavily supported education through the years. Mark Zuckerberg donated $100 million to Newark Public Schools and Justin Timberlake gave $200,000 to music education facilities in Memphis, where he grew up. Will and Jada Smith have also made significant contributions, supporting local programs, replacing stolen technology, and founding the Will and Jada Smith Summer Thinking Scholars Academy.

And of course, Bill and Melinda Gates, founders of The Giving Pledge, are known worldwide for their charitable involvement. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has made contributions well into the billions, including funding for grants, scholarships, school improvements, and supporting minority students.

It is uplifting to see so many leaders in our world taking a stand and supporting worthy causes like education. Americans are blessed to have a government that supports a free education for all people. Donations like those made by George Roberts, Henry Kravis, Mark Zuckerberg, Justin Timberlake, Will and Jada Smith, and Bill and Melinda Gates are even more important in times when education funding continues to see cuts. They really do help keep the dream alive.