60 Minutes: Robin Hood
A man worth $3.6 billion was profiled on 60 Minutes, not for making money but for spending it. Scott Pelley spoke with Paul Tudor Jones, a hedge fund manager who was inspired to start giving back. Despite the vast wealth and brainpower of New York City, Tudor Jones is concerned that so many of the city’s residents live in poverty. This is what he is doing about it.
60 Minutes: Paul Tudor Jones
In 1988, Paul Tudor Jones started the Robin Hood Foundation, which has since given away $1.25 billion for job training, food programs, and charter schools. How does this rich man give to the poor and take from the rich in modern day America?
The charity’s annual fundraiser plays host to 4,000 extremely wealthy guests, including celebrities and wealthy business figures. They all come out to a concert-style night of entertainment, where Tudor Jones hopes to help those in need around the city.
60 Minutes: Robin Hood Inspiration
Tudor Jones said there are many people in the New York City area who need to be given some hope for the future. In the 1980s, Jones was focused on himself and his future as a Wall Street investor.
His mother had hoped he would become a preacher; that’s funny–so did mine. In 1986, the successful Tudor Jones watched an episode of 60 Minutes, about Gene Lang, a rich man who offered free college tuition to students in Harlem.
That immediately inspired Tudor Jones to call Lang and take action. But what clicked with the Wall Street guy in that moment? He said that this idea filled a hole in his soul he did not know needed to be filled.
60 Minutes: Investing In Education
His first step was to adopt a school, thinking money could make the difference. The time and money that he put in did not ultimately pay off with better academic performance.
“Failure, a lot of times, is the fire that forges the steel for success,” he said of the setback. “It becomes transformative.”
That’s when Tudor Jones got creative, setting up the Robin Hood Foundation and looking for charitable investments that foster great ideas and measure success in business terms.
60 Minutes: Robin Hood Foundation Soup Kitchen
Take Mary Alice Hannan’s soup kitchen: it was on the brink for many years, until Robin Hood stepped in. The love-hate relationship began almost immediately, as Robin Hood wanted hard data and a business plan. That was a dramatic shift for the business that was operating day to day in the past.
According to Tudor Jones, they held grantees accountable for their goals, while providing the business and management expertise to help them achieve results. Hannan’s soup kitchen ended up thriving, but that is not always the case.
As many as 10% of projects are defunded every year due to unsuccessful results. But Robin Hood continues to press on and look for new ways to make a difference.
60 Minutes: Robin Hood Foundation Projects
The board of directors has a combined net worth of $25 billion. All the donations to the organization go directly to services, with the board covering the organization’s operating expenses and keeping Robin Hood true to its name.
“You cannot have significance in this life if it’s all about you,” Tudor Jones said. His most recent gala raised $57 million in donations, which would fund about 500 projects, many in education.
A former Brooklyn crack house has been turned into a neighborhood school. The Excellence Boys Charter School for kindergarten through 8th grade. Tudor Jones believed that early education is a start to transformative change outside the classroom and success in life.
60 Minutes: Brooklyn School Shooting
Scholars in the school perform higher than average in math, science, and English. They are engaged in the classroom, despite humble beginnings.
One student’s father was killed a block away from the school in a murder witnessed by two students. The school has pressed on in this challenging environment. The school’s headmaster took the incident as a reminder of the importance of education in changing lives in these neighborhoods.
60 Minutes: Excellence Boys Charter School Graduation
The school is graduating its first class of students who went from kindergarten through eighth grade at the school. Tudor Jones is committed to ensuring more future success at a range of projects.
However, New York City’s poverty level stays relatively constant, around 20% annually. Can this “hedge fund for humanity” pay off in the future? Even Tudor Jones admits that there will always be more to do, but it seems so far like he is having an impact.