Wes Moore of Robin Hood Foundation previews his 2018 plans
Gerwig recalls inspirational aerobics, as Fey kids with Hanks
Seizing on Oprah Winfrey’s post-Golden Globes 2020 moment, NBC anchor Willie Geist at a New York awards ceremony Thursday put up a name for a 2028 presidential run: Wes Moore, a friend of Winfrey’s and Geist’s, and chief executive of the Robin Hood Foundation.
“I just can’t wait to quit my job someday to be his communications director,” Geist said, to which Moore replied, “When you’re president, I just want to be ambassador to a country where I don’t have to wear shoes -- Jamaica or Tobago.”
The occasion was Variety magazine’s inaugural Salute to Service honoring Moore and others for their work on veterans issues. The event also honored Caroline Hirsch, creator of the Stand Up for Heroes fundraiser for the Bob Woodruff Foundation, and journalist Martha Raddatz, whose book “The Long Road Home” was turned into a limited series by National Geographic, the event’s presenter.
As for Moore for president, who knows what he’ll be up to by 2028? But since taking the helm at Robin Hood, he’s expanded his advocacy to include America’s poor. He’s done so by talking about poverty in People and Time magazines, and on MSNBC’s Morning Joe and CNN’s Boss Files, as well as his own podcast for NPR, Future City.
In 2018, his plan is to keep talking about the fight on poverty, as he works on a follow-up to his bestselling book “The Other Wes Moore.” The goal is to get more people involved.
“This is something that should keep all of us awake at night, the fact that we have so many people who are in this chronic and concentrated state of poverty,” he said.
Moore is also putting his leadership team in place. Derek Ferguson, who has a background in the music business, joined Robin Hood as chief operating officer. Moore said he’s now looking to hire a chief policy officer, with a portfolio that spans from New York to Washington, D.C.
It’s all part of a plan to turn Robin Hood into a national force in the poverty fight. The idea is to build on the wisdom and experience that comes with 30 years of grant-making and other investments, with the acknowledgment that philanthropy alone cannot eliminate poverty, nor can any one organization in one city.
Larry Robbins, the founder of Glenview Capital Management and chairman of Robin Hood, previewed the new emphasis during an interview on a Hamptons polo field in August. Robbins said the policy focus could be anything that helps the poor, including educational opportunity, social equality, job training, living wage and the rights of immigrants and children.
Robin Hood works on these issues “in a very quiet and behind-the-scenes way,” Robbins said. “What we hope is that Wes and the other thought leaders we have can be better voices to stand up for the rights of the communities we serve. They have a different credibility than the the big-hearted philanthropists who’ve been so important to Robin Hood but may not be as credible as spokespeople.”
One sign of Robin Hood’s new broad focus: It issued a tweet about the serious Golden Globes ceremony, with its black dresses and “Time’s Up” message, to highlight the presence of Ai-jen Poo of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, who was Meryl Streep’s date. The nonprofit is a Robin Hood grantee.
By Tuesday night, though, back in New York at the National Board of Review awards, it was time for some plain old movie humor at Tom Hanks’s expense, guided by one of the city’s favorite philanthropic comedians, Tina Fey.
“Together with Mr. Spielberg, Tom has launched a new genre of film known as fud-bud,” Fey said. “For Dads By Dads -- everything that the dad cares about: World War II, spies, airports, and now the newspaper.” Hanks and Streep star in the newspaper drama “The Post.”
The evening gave New York-loving, subway-riding Greta Gerwig a leisurely turn at the podium to accept the award for best director for her move “Lady Bird” -- all the more sweet since she was shut out at the Golden Globes in the category.
She used her moment to recall the first time she confessed her life’s goal out loud.
“I was 22 years old and I was taking an aerobics class that was also an inspirational aerobics class, where you’re exercising but also crying and screaming your dreams into the sweaty person in front of you.”
“And the aerobics instructor said, while we were doing burpees, ‘I want you to yell as loud as you can the thing that you want most in your heart.’ And to my great surprise, I yelled out, ‘I want to be a director!’ ”