2014 Investment Community Breakfast

Today’s guest blogger is Susan Varghese, one of our Communications Project Leaders focusing on events and alumni. 


City Year New York is able to grow and flourish with the incredible support of the New York Investment community. This is made possible by countless people, but specifically, 16 professionals and leaders from various Hedge Fund and Private Equity Firms who make up the City Year New York’s Investment Community Board (ICB).

The ICB held their 4th Annual Investment Community Breakfast this morning, that featured Scott O’Neil, CEO of the Philadelphia 76ers, New Jersey Devils, & Prudential Center; Dave Blitzer, Senior Managing Director & Head of Tactical Opportunities at Blackstone; and Mike Levine, Co-Head of CAA Sports, a division of Creative Artists Agency.

Erica Hamilton, City Year New York’s Executive Director, kicked off the breakfast by revealing the staggering statistics on the national drop-out crisis and the issues facing the communities we serve. “…These are communities where children are facing outstanding and pretty depressing odds when it comes to their probabilities of their being successful in life,” Erica said.

After explaining the vital role data plays in our impact strategy, Erica added, “Last, but not least, we’re an organization that believes in the power of young people – the power that young people can have while doing service in communities that need us the most and helping students that are falling off track.”

Jorell Diaz, a Corps Member at PS MS 57 in East Harlem, shared his own path to getting on track in school – despite challenging circumstances. “Growing up in the south Bronx was never easy…gangs, drugs, physical violence, and gun violence are the everyday obstacles in my community…I joined City Year to help people who look like me, act like me, and have gone through struggles like me.” Jorell continued, “Everyday I see what extra attention and support can do for a student’s ability to reach their potential.”

One of these students is 13-year-old Michael Darden. Michael is in eighth grade and has been working with Jorell on his behavior and in English class. “I used to act up in class and would get in trouble. But, Joey knew that I wasn’t a bad kid; I just needed some advice…Thanks to my work with Mr. Joey, I am a better student, leader, and person!”

The program transitioned into the conversation segment where Scott O’Neil, Mike Levine, and Dave Blitzer had an opportunity to talk about the issues facing sports and education, and field questions from the attendees.  Mike emphasized his excitement to be involved in New York and noted that education is a concern regardless of economic background, ” We all care about our kids, just like parents who may have less.”

To wrap up the investment breakfast, Dave said, “There is no better training than City Year is providing.” Tyler Henritze, of Blackstone and on the ICB, emphasized City Year’s impact and encouraged attendees to give because they have the fortune of being able to. “Kids destinies should be the same no matter where they are from…I encourage everybody to get smart on education.”

Click here to see more photos from the breakfast.

We would like to thank Weil, Gotshal & Manges and Todd Lang for hosting this event and thank you to City Year New York Board Member, Brian Berger for his donation of gifts from Mack Weldon.

And a final thank you to our  Investment Community Board (listed below) and to all of our attendees for their  investment in City Year.

REED CARROLL | North Creek Butler
DREW CHIN | Woodson Capital Management
JIM DAVIS | Woodson Capital Management
BEN FARKAS | Hellman & Friedman
CARYN FEINBERG | Probitas Partners
JUSTIN FRANKEL | RiverPark Funds
SHREYAS GUPTA | Sandell Asset Management
WILDER HARVARD | Perella Weinberg Partners
BRAD HATHAWAY | Far View Capital Management
DAVID HOBBS | Tiger Eye Capital
DOUG ROSS | Polygon Global Partners L.P.
EDWARD SOBOL | Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe
DOROTHY SUMPTION | Sankaty Advisors
KARTINI WILSON | Man Investments

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