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This year’s Robin Hood fundraiser saw top-tier investors driven by good-natured rivalry and celebrity encouragement to give a massive $71 million to charity.

Individual pledges of up to $10 million were made, totalling around $40 million, and guests participated enthusiastically in an auction of unique and decadent lots.

Winning bids included $400,000 to sing a song with Aerosmith (whose singer Steven Tyler performed for two hours of the evening), $1.3 million for a 10-person dinner with celebrity chef Mario Batali, and $2.2 million for an insider trip to the Beijing Olympics.

The annual event is expertly marketed to its guest list of hedge fund managers and private equity high-fliers. Presiding auctioneer Jamie Niven, of Sotheby’s, said, “They put these things together that in your lifetime you couldn’t do. It’s the secret for that audience. You can’t give them a week in Rome. They can do that.”

Tom Brokaw began the evening, and comedian
Jon Stewart played host. Mingling with the super-rich was a liberal sprinkling of further celebrities including Michael Douglas, Ben Affleck, Jimmy Fallon, Zach Braff and Martha Stewart.

This year’s donations exceeded those of last year by 32 percent, and the Robin Hood event has given more than $900 million in cash and donated services since it began in 1990, when it raised $700,000.

Source: New York Times

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