In this wide-ranging conversation, Wes Moore, chief executive officer of the Robin Hood Foundation, discusses Robin Hood’s response to the COVID-19 crisis in New York City, where it has successfully raised and deployed more than $65 million in emergency relief across hundreds of organizations. We also examine how the deep social, economic, and racial disparities that existed in health, wealth, income, employment, educational outcomes, justice involvement, etc. that existed pre-COVID have informed and centered Robin Hood’s work in the pandemic. Moore walks us through some of the ways in which Robin Hood has begun to address the structural biases and inequities in philanthropy that have resulted, historically, in drastic under-funding of organizations led by people of color. We also touch on the role of philanthropy in advocating for anti-racist and anti-poverty policy, the role of business in promoting racial equity, and the power of storytelling, as exemplified by Moore’s latest book, Five Days. “I choose to be one of the people who chooses hope,” Moore says. “While progress is not inevitable, it is possible, and that becomes our role and our responsibility: to really push for that progress that we think is important when it comes to creating a better future.”
Mentioned in this episode:
- Robin Hood Relief Fund
- Racial Equity and Philanthropy: Disparities in Funding for Leaders of Color Leave Impact on the Table, Cheryl Dorsey, Jeff Bradach, Peter Kim (Bridgespan, 2020)
- The Power Fund: Investing in Leaders of Color, Robin Hood
- The Black Voices for Black Justice Fund, Black Voices
- Blue Ridge Labs at Robin Hood
- Robin Hood Poverty Tracker reports here, Columbia Center on Poverty and Social Policy
About Wes Moore
Moore’s first book, The Other Wes Moore, a perennial New York Times bestseller, captured the nation’s attention on the fine line between success and failure in our communities and in ourselves. He is also the author of The Work, Discovering Wes Moore, This Way Home and the recently released, Five Days. Moore grew up in Baltimore and the Bronx, where he was raised by a single mom. Despite childhood challenges, he graduated Phi Theta Kappa from Valley Forge Military College in 1998 and Phi Beta Kappa from Johns Hopkins University in 2001. He earned an MLitt in international relations from Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar in 2004. Moore then served as a captain and paratrooper with the US Army’s 82nd Airborne Division, including a combat deployment to Afghanistan. He later served as a White House Fellow to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Before becoming CEO at Robin Hood, one of the largest anti-poverty forces in the nation, Moore was the founder and CEO at BridgeEdU, an education platform addressing the college completion and job placement crisis. Moore has also worked in finance as an investment banker with Deutsche Bank in London and with Citigroup in New York.
About the Capital for Good Podcast
Presented by the Tamer Center for Social Enterprise, and hosted by Georgia Levenson Keohane, seasoned executive, award winning author, and an adjunct professor of social enterprise at Columbia Business School, the Capital for Good podcast provides a chance to hear from corporate and civic leaders about their visions, plans, commitments, and on the ground efforts to build a more just, inclusive, and sustainable society. Each episode features in depth and candid conversations with leaders across the private, nonprofit, and public sectors on unpacking solutions to some of our most urgent challenges. Learn more at bit.ly/KforGood.