Robin Hood Honors Four New York City Heroes

Dec 01, 2009, 09:39 ET from Robin Hood

NEW YORK, Dec. 1 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Robin Hood, one of the city's leading poverty-fighting organizations, today hosted the 20th annual Heroes Award Breakfast. The four New Yorkers honored at this morning's breakfast exemplify the commitment of Robin Hood's grantees to improving the lives of the underprivileged in New York City. This morning's event was held at the Mandarin Oriental New York.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg spoke at the breakfast, and presenters included Robin Hood Founder Paul Tudor Jones and Robin Hood board members Tom Brokaw, Geoff Canada and Daniel Och.

Global philanthropist George Soros was a special guest at this year's event. In May, Mr. Soros and the Robin Hood board announced a two-year challenge grant that doubles the impact of donations up to $100 million.

"In the depths of a recession, these heroes and their courageous stories shed light on what nearly 2 million New Yorkers must endure and overcome," said Tom Brokaw, host of the event. "The Robin Hood Foundation is extremely proud to honor these inspiring members of our community."

The 2009 Robin Hood Heroes:

  • Linda Hamptlon, Harlem United. Linda Hamptlon already faced enormous obstacles in her life when she was diagnosed with H.I.V. Abused as a child, addicted to drugs and alcohol, homeless and forced into prostitution, she was lost until turning to Harlem United. This organization responds to the needs of people whose H.I.V. diagnosis is complicated by homelessness, mental illness and substance abuse. Harlem United helped Linda get the care she needed, and at 62, she has finally fulfilled her childhood dream to become a bus driver. Robin Hood has funded Harlem United since its inception in 1988 and has helped it grow into a leading resource for people with H.I.V./AIDS.
  • Laura Reyes, David Levin, KIPP (Knowledge is Power Program). Laura Reyes remembers what it was like to be a struggling student in her South Bronx public school classroom, given very little attention and afraid to ask for help. Like many children in her neighborhood, she faced a bleak future. That future shifted when David Levin showed up to recruit her to the new public school he was starting in her neighborhood, KIPP Academy. Robin Hood was KIPP's first funder, and since its original investment, it has been helping to bring the program to scale for greater impact on public education in New York City. Now there are over 80 KIPP charter schools across the country, with six in New York City educating 1,300 students and Laura is now teaching at the school that changed her life.
  • Halana Richardson, Yorkville Common Pantry (YCP). Halana Richardson and her husband were raising their children in East Harlem. Then one day, Halana's husband was robbed, shot and killed in a random act of violence. To make matters worse, just months later Halana was laid off from her job due to budget cuts. Halana's life went into a tailspin. She did every kind of job she could think of to get by, but she still had trouble feeding her children. Then she heard about Yorkville Common Pantry (YCP), one of the largest food pantries in New York City. The organization provided not only food for Halana and her family, but referrals for counseling and employment training. Despite a challenging year, YCP managed to meet demand and not turn anyone away. In 2009, the number of meals YCP served increased by 19 percent, reaching more than 6,200 families and surpassing the two-million-meal mark for the first time.

About Robin Hood:

Robin Hood holds steadfast to a single mission: fight poverty in New York City. Robin Hood is changing the fates and saving the lives of our neighbors in need by applying investment principles to charitable giving. We find, fund and create the most effective programs and schools serving families in New York City's poorest neighborhoods. To ensure that every dollar is invested wisely, we rigorously assess each program using independent, third-party evaluators to hold each program accountable. Because Robin Hood's board of directors pays all administrative, fundraising and evaluation costs, 100 percent of donations goes directly to organizations helping impoverished New Yorkers build better lives.

To learn more about Robin Hood, or to make a donation to help Robin Hood fight poverty, please visit our website:

SOURCE Robin Hood