October 10, 2017; Bloomberg
The problem with having high-profile folks on your board or as donors is that their public personas sometimes go south in a very big and flashy way.
Until this weekend, movie mogul Harvey Weinstein had been a fixture on the board of the Robin Hood Foundation. But, facing snowballing accusations of sexual harassment and assault, he has stepped down from his seat among New York’s high flyers. Paul Tudor Jones, the foundation’s founder, similarly resigned as a board member of the Weinstein Co. around the same time, thus completing the statement.
The Robin Hood Foundation held the number 79 spot on the Forbes list of the nation’s largest 100 charities in 2015. Over the years, it has proven itself capable of phenomenal fundraising. The foundation, which focuses on alleviating poverty raised $54.5 million at its May gala this year with a cool $15 million coming from Citadel billionaire Ken Griffin. Still on the board are Laura Arnold of the Laura and John Arnold Foundation and Jacklyn Bezos of the Bezos Family Foundation, along with any number of hedge fund managers.
The New Yorker recently ran a story alleging that Weinstein provided monetary settlements to at least eight women who had accused him of sexual harassment and that three women allege he raped them. The article also asserted that a number of his employees were aware of his behavior. Weinstein denies all of the charges, but he was fired last week from the storied Weinstein Company, which he cofounded with his brother.
Meanwhile, politicians all over the country (and a few charities) have gotten busy returning Weinstein’s donations or sending them along to charity. In Connecticut, a collection of Democrats is sending his donations along to nonprofits that help abused women. But these donations seem paltry next to the $5 million he pledged to the University of California College of Cinematic Arts—ironically, to grant scholarships to emerging female directors.—Ruth McCambridge