Philanthropic Awards

2016 NY City & State Reports

Honoree: The Award for Outstanding Achievement in Promoting Philanthropy in The Investment Community

2012 Wynona’’s House Child Advocacy Center

Honoree: The Steel Magnolia Award for Exhibiting Tenacity in Advocating for The Greater Good

2011 Services for the Underserved (SUS)

Honoree: The Dedication To Changing Lives Award

What Goes Around Philanthropy

2008 Coalition Against Child Abuse and Neglect

Honoree: The Voice For All Children Award

2004 Prevent Child Abuse New York

Honoree: Excellence in Child Abuse Prevention Award

2002 National Exchange Club

Honoree: Dedication to Child Abuse Prevention Award



Rob Davis, a prime broker to hedge funds, began worrying about his industry’s image on September 29, 1998, not long after the collapse of the hedge fund Long Term Capital. That evening, as he sat reading the Wall Street Journal, he came upon the headline “hedge funds: the new barbarians at the gate.” “It was a terrible article—it was vilifying the whole industry!” he said the other night, his voice rising. “I decided I would call all the people in my Rolodex. I would say, ‘Hey, we gotta get together and get better publicity.’ ” Davis’s plan was to hold a charity dinner, one that would benefit two very different causes: it would raise money for child-abuse prevention (an issue he has been concerned about since his days as a public-school teacher), and it would provide image rehab for his beleaguered colleagues. The dinner spawned a year-round non-profit, which Davis named Hedge Funds Care.

Davis was at Cipriani 42nd Street, greeting hedge-fund managers, lawyers, accountants, back-office managers, and headhunters, who had turned out for the eleventh annual Hedge Funds Care benefit. This having been almost as bad a year for hedge funds as for charity galas, things had been scaled back a bit. 2008: black tie optional, filet-mignon sit-down dinner. 2009: business attire, mini-hot dogs on trays, hot buffet, free-for-all seating. The venue—a grand space with marble pillars and soaring ceilings, built in 1921 to house the now defunct Bowery Savings Bank—gave the evening a valedictory feel. “I see a lot more sober people than in years past,” one guest said, scanning the room.

Davis felt that his volunteer P. R. effort was more urgent than ever. “This,” he said, referring to the current financial crisis, “is like multiples of that”—the collapse of Long Term Capital—“in terms of the damage it’s done to the businesses, to the perception of them.” Having ignored the new dress code, he wore a tux, and was strolling around with a visible sense of purpose, shaking hands. “Hedge funders are really the most philanthropic guys in the world,” he kept saying.

“They are,” his friend Mike Vranos, the recipient of the 2007 Hedge Funds Care Award for Caring, agreed. Vranos had just presented this year’s Award for Caring to Kenneth G. Tropin, of Graham Capital. (From Tropin’s remarks: “I have great confidence that over time not only will our industry prevail but it will be stronger than ever, and that our collective talent is too great to be denied.”)

“Mike’s wonderful—he manages a very substantial hedge fund,” Davis said. Vranos is presumably the sort of hedge-fund guy whose image Davis is trying to redeem. His fund, Ellington Management Group, has, since its inception, in 1994, been a major investor in mortgage-backed securities. (Earlier in his career, he developed an intimidating reputation. As a young bodybuilder, he was crowned Mr. Teen Connecticut and worked as a bouncer; his nickname at Harvard was Captain Iron; and in the early nineties Kidder Peabody lore had him turning meetings into arm-wrestling matches.)

With the evening’s proceeds topping out at $1.3 million, down from $2.2 million last year, the two men compared notes on fund-raising tactics. “I have a shakedown list,” Vranos explained. “You say, ‘Give money or else.’ ” Even so, he said, selling tickets was much tougher this year. “I believe in karma. Now’s the time.” He went on, “That’s how the Greeks do it. If you’ve got a new house or something you’re starting anew, that’s when you go. You give the money, you bless them. It’s a rebirth, that’s what this is.” He added, “The jaded reporter’s way of looking at it would be that a snake has to shed its skin.”

Davis jumped in. “I don’t want you to use the snake analogy,” he said. “There’s too much of that.” ♦


Transforming Wall Street

Rob was featured in Wall Street Coach – Kim Kurtin’s  book, Transforming Wall Street: A Conscious Path for a New Futureas one of the 50 Conscious Capitalists” and  “Teachers of Consciousness” in the hedge fund/financial services industry, who were making a difference in how the industry was conducting business, and how it was being perceived.

Kim Kurtin’s  book

Rob at HFC Offices in NYC

what goes around Rob Davis at HFCThis photo was taken in the pre-pandemic days when Hedge Funds Care / Help For Children – had a wonderful office on 7th Ave just below Penn Station. In the reception area we had this great picture of our HFC logo on the wall. 

The story behind the logo is that when I was formulating the idea of trying to organize an event to raise funds from the hedge fund business community that I worked in at the time, in order to fund activities related to preventing and treating child abuse, I had lunch with an art director friend named John. I told him of my plan to have an event called, “Open Your Heart To The Children” and what my vision was for effectively deploying the funds raised. As I was speaking he was doodling on a napkin, which I didn’t think anything of, as for him it was a normal activity. 

When I was finished speaking he told me that he thought it was a terrific idea, but also a daunting challenge to achieve. Holding out the napkin to me he then said, here’s my first contribution to your making it a reality. Perhaps it will help to galvanize your idea.

When I went back to the office I showed it to my assistant saying, ‘Juanita, look at what John did while I was telling him about my idea for an anti-child abuse fund raiser! She took one look and snatched it from my han, saying,. “ Leave this with me. I have an idea.”

A few days later I came back to my office and there on my desk was a beautiful looking golden pin. She’d had a mold made from John’s drawing on the napkin and we now had our logo plus a pin that has now been handed out and worn on thousands of jacket lapels, dresses, scarves and hats of all kinds.

Walking in and seeing it adorning the wall in our office was always a special occasion for me and many photos like this one were taken over the few years that we occupied this space. 

The office is gone, but the memory of what it represents lives on. For me personally, I hope this photo captures and conveys to anyone who sees it, the thrill I’ve had from creating what remains a global force for good, with ten branches in five countries and more than a thousand grants having been and still being made in the twenty-plus years since that lunch with my art-director friend John.

Want a pin? Let me know. Plus check out our event calendar and how to make a donation at:

Rob Davis & the HFC Team

Rob & the HFC Team