Inspired one Sunday night in 1986 by a 60 Minutes story of a millionaire who "adopted" a class in an inner city school, Paul Tudor Jones started a charity himself a couple years later. Today, that charity, the Robin Hood Foundation, has given away more than $1.25 billion since its founding 25 years ago. Jones speaks to Scott Pelley about driving his charity to help as many people as possible and its focus on early education as one of its primary missions, for a 60 Minutes story to be broadcast Sunday, May 5 at 7 p.m. ET/PT.
The, who pledged to pay for the college educations of an entire class of Harlem kids, was a turning point for the Wall Street up-and-comer. "There was probably a hole in my soul...And all of the sudden here was this man that showed the joy of giving," says Jones. "So the lesson that I learned was there was a whole new journey in my life that was ahead of me that I had not even realized was there."
Jones' initial foray into charity was similar to Lang's but wasn't as successful. Graduation rates didn't improve to his satisfaction and he learned a lesson. He and his friends then started Robin Hood with a Wall Street sensibility centered on return of investment. "We started asking grantees, 'What are your goals?' and then holding them accountable....providing management expertise," he tells Pelley. "We were helping them along the way."
Robin Hood spent $130 million last year to provide those in need with food, job training and especially education, which it puts extra emphasis on as a way to prevent and combat the spread of poverty. It supports 80 schools, many of them like the Excellence Boys Charter School in Brooklyn's Bedford-Stuyvesant section. Robin Hood spent $35 million to transform an abandoned, dilapidated school that became a crack house into a kindergarten through eighth grade charter school whose students now perform in the top 20 percentile among their city school peers. Some have been invited to attend top prep schools.
Jones puts significant amounts of the vast wealth he earns as a hedge fund manager into the Robin Hood Foundation. But as the name implies, he goes after other wealthy people like himself to pony up in the name of charity. Last year, at a gala fundraiser he throws annually for the rich and famous, he raised more than $57 million by showing a side of himself more preacher than hedge fund manager. He hopes he can teach others what he has learned.
"You cannot have significance in this life it it's all about you. You find your significance, you find your joy in life through service and sacrifice," he tells Pelley.