Careers at Robin Hood Foundation
Robin Hood Foundation’s (“RHF”) mission is “finding, funding and creating programs and schools that generate meaningful results for families in New York's poorest neighborhoods.”
As it is a non-profit organization, RHF does not have business segments. It does, however, have segments of focus for its programmes. In each segment, aside from providing funding RHF also provides assistance through consulting services – i.e. for strategy, legal, HR, real estate, and other business functions.
- Education – RHF supports all types of schools in New York’s poorest neighbourhoods through funding and management. It also supports educational programmes and programmes that engage teachers or that provide students or educational professionals with mental and social services.
- Jobs and Economic Security – RHF runs job programmes to place persons, including those with significant barriers to employment such as criminal or substance abuse records, into employment. It also supports organisations, through funding or the provision of consultation services, that provide jobs or economic security (e.g. through funding or food programmes) for the poor.
- Early Childhood and Youth – RHF runs and supports programmes that target children and youth from poor families. These include direct assistance programmes, such as in education or counselling, or indirect help programmes such as education placement.
- Survival – RHF runs or supports programmes that tackle the immediate survival needs of the poor including the provision of food, housing, and health care. These programmes also generally have a sustainability component where beneficiaries are assisted toward self-reliance.
RHF was founded in 1988 by Paul Tudor Jones, a hedge fund manager, then 32 years old. It was born out of Paul’s belief, at the time, that a period of depression was incoming and that he had to pitch in to help those that would be affected. The depression never happened but the foundation carried on anyways. The idea behind RHF was venture philanthropy – embracing free market forces and using metrics to track impact – a novelty at the time.
Since then the organization has targeted the wealthy and famous in its donation drives through galas and dinners, and through the connections of its board (which is made up of similarly wealthy or famous individuals).
Benefits at Robin Hood Foundation
Business model of Robin Hood Foundation
Donor Segments (Customer Segments)
RHF’s donation sources can be split into two groups: direct donations and revenue from activities.
- Direct donations – Direct donations come from two types of donors – ad-hoc and pledge donors. Ad-hoc donors are persons who donate one-off sums toward RHF’s activities. Pledge donors are persons who promise to donate a certain amount of money over a certain period of time.
- Revenue from Activities – Revenue can also be raised through fund-raising activities – RHF holds activities such as galas and dinners, and collects revenues from the sales of tickets or of items and services at these activities.
RHF’s value proposition to donors is the result-focused approach that it takes to philanthropy – donors are assured that their money goes to the most effective cause. This is because RHF evaluates potential non-profit partners and only selects the 200 most effective to receive assistance.
RHF also draws in top talent for its staff and its board – these persons are typically rich, accomplished, and/or famous and are able to leverage on their connections and experience to serve the organization.
Programme delivery methods (Channels)
RHF delivers assistance through three channels – in-house programmes, financial assistance, and services.
- In-house programmes – RHF conducts a number of in-house programmes for specific purposes either inside or outside of its usual areas of focus. One example of the latter is the Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund, which makes grants to organisations that are assisting victims of the hurricane. One example of the former is the public/private partnership of RHF with the NYC Department of Education to set up school facilities (i.e. charter schools) to serve students from low-income families.
- Financial Assistance – The bulk of RHF’s resources go into financial grants to organisations that fall into its areas of focus (i.e. education, jobs and economic security, early childhood and youth, and survival). These grants normally come with performance conditions attached, and some grantees have members of RHF on their board of directors.
- Services – RHF also provides services to its grantees. These generally take the form of consulting services for various business functions. The functions covered are: legal, strategy, human capital, real estate, governance, and marketing.
RHF maintains relationships with its donors through major events such as galas and dinners, and through the connections of its staff and board.
RHF’s key activities include the provision of financial assistance and services to third party non-profits, and the establishment of its own in-house programmes for certain targeted areas.
Key partners include pro-bono service providers (e.g. Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP, which provides pro bono legal services), and both institutional and individual pledgers.
RHF’s key resource is its personnel – its staff and board are typically wealthy, accomplished, and/or famous persons who can leverage on their personal wealth and connections for the good of the organization.
The bulk of RHF’s resources are deployed in financial grants. Other key costs include wages and other staff costs, fundraising costs, and marketing.
RHF’s main revenue streams are from ad-hoc or pledge donors, and from fundraising activities.
|Source of Revenue/Cost||Revenue (FY 2015, USD)||% of Total Revenue|
Total contributions and donated goods and services
Annual fund-raising events
Total other revenues and gains
Direct costs of events
Grant making salaries and overhead
Public information and fundraising
Management and general
|Change in net assets||29,238,326||15%|
info: Reynold holds an undergraduate degree from Hobart College, a Master Degree and Ph.D in Government and Foreign Affairs from the University of Virginia and a JD from Columbia University. Prior to joining RHF, he was the President of Lincoln Centre and the International Rescue Committee.
info: David holds an undergraduate degree from Brown and a Masters of Public Policy and Administration from Columbia University. He is a founding member of RHF. Prior to founding RHF, he was Special Assistant to the President of the Board of Education of the City of New York. He has also been a director at Glam Media and NPowerNY.
info: Michael holds a PhD in Economics from MIT. Prior to joining RHF, he was an economist (chairman of the Department of Economics at Haverford College), journalist (columnist for the New York Times), and social entrepreneur (founder of W.A.D. Financial Counseling and Single Stop U.S.A).
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