(Bloomberg) -- On Monday night, Bill Ackman, KKR’s Scott Nuttall, Dan Och, David Einhorn, Jerry Seinfeld and Travis Kalanick walked onto a red-carpeted fantasy of Times Square, where signs of all shapes and sizes lit up the space: “Tenacity,” ‘Be Kind,” and “Mahalo.”
Of course, guests tend to remember only one billboard: the one that goes up at the end of the dinner with the total amount raised -- $101 million in 2015; $54.5 million last year; $60.1 million in 2016.
When that didn’t happen Monday, it was a break with tradition signaling a new era under CEO Wes Moore. In June, Moore took over from David Saltzman, who was in the post for almost three decades.
“Tonight, it’s not just your money that matters, it’s your mind-set," Moore said on the Javits Center stage, looking out on billionaires including David Shaw, Ray Dalio and Marc Benioff.
Two days after the event, Robin Hood stood firm and said it will not release the total amount raised. The group said it preferred to focus on the “thousands of poverty fighters” working to improve lives in the city.
“That said, we were blown away by the generosity,” co-founder Paul Tudor Jones said Wednesday in a statement. “We are so thankful to have exceeded the amount raised last year with one of our biggest years in recent history.”
That means the event raised more than $54.5 million as it marked its 30th anniversary.
And it means the 3,700 guests and other interested in the finance industry’s charity Party of the Year will be left to chatter about, well, the party itself: The chorus line of dancers in glittery leotards that high-kicked through the crowd; the DJ who spun amped-up David Bowie, Kylie Minogue and the Jackson 5, next to buckets of Perrier-Jouet (for decoration only); the cocktails served from the menus of Major Food Group hot spots: the Lobster Club’s yuzu saketini, the Pool’s Jalapeno, Santina’s Amalfi gold and Dirty French’s Ludlow gimlet; Jennifer Lopez’s outfits (including one with a cane) as she performed; the jokes of Saturday Night Live’s Michael Che and Colin Jost that didn’t quite land.
And the copy of Ken Langone’s new book, “I Love Capitalism!" in the goody bag.
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