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VOL. 115 | NO. 177 | Friday, October 19, 2001

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Concert for New York with a Memphis touch

Concert for New York has a Memphis touch


The Daily News

Memphis mercantile maestro Paul Tudor Jones is about to pull off one of his greatest feats.

Saturday, some of the greatest rock stars in the world are coming together in Madison Square Garden for the Concert for New York City to be broadcast live on VH1 from 6 p.m.

Featured artists include Paul McCartney, Mick Jagger, Eric Clapton, The Who, Billy Joel, Bon Jovi, Backstreet Boys, Sheryl Crow, Melissa Etheridge, James Taylor, John Mellencamp, Macy Gray, The Goo Goo Dolls, Marc Anthony, Jay-Z, Destinys Child and David Bowie.

Hosts for the concert include Jim Carrey, John Cusack, David Spade, Leonardo Di Caprio, Meg Ryan, Michael J. Fox, Denis Leary, Billy Crystal, Harrison Ford, Julia Stiles and the cast of Saturday Night Live.

All the proceeds of the concert will go directly to the Robin Hood Relief Fund to meet the immediate and long-term needs of victims of the Sept. 11 attack.

In particular Robin Hood will help lower-income New Yorkers affected by the tragedy and is also supporting the Twin Towers Fund to aid the families of police, fire and rescue workers who lost their lives.

Little did I know that when I started Robin Hood in 1987 that we would one day be raising funds for maybe the most terrible tragedy that has ever befallen our continental shores in almost 200 years, Jones said.

A graduate of the class of 1972 at Memphis University School and the son of former Daily News publisher John Paul Jones, commodities trader Jones is best known as a wunderkind of Wall Street.

In 1987 Jones recruited two fellow brokers, Glenn Dubin and Peter Borish and started the Robin Hood Foundation, which true to its tongue-in-cheek name has persuaded the rich to give generously to the poor of New York for the past 13 years.

The idea of having a Concert for New York City came originally from VH1, which decided using Robin Hood as the beneficiary would ensure the speediest and most efficient disbursal of the funds to those who needed them most, said Anna Byng, Robin Hood associate director of communications.

Jones sees the Concert for New York City as a way to help heal the wounds of Sept. 11.

Robin Hoods core business is helping people in poverty, and what prompted the board to set up a separate relief fund is so many of them work on Wall Street and all of them lost close personal friends and fellow brokers in the attack, Jones said.

It afflicted every firm on Wall Street. Everyone had some office or knew someone or was doing business with someone so it was something that our board felt very strongly about.

Additionally, the collateral infrastructure demands as a result of this attack on social safety net since Sept. 11 exploded because of all the indirect victims, he said.

Indirect victims would be people out of jobs such as the 70 percent of drivers in New York who make their business going to and from the airport, he said.

This is the kind of thing Robin Hood is designed for to spring into action to help those folks, he said.

Jones wants his fellow Memphians to know exclusively that the finale is going to be Eric Clapton and Paul McCartney singing Let It Be and then McCartney will end the concert with a solo performance of Yesterday.

This is going to be both poignant and beautiful, he said.

Since it began, the Robin Hood Foundation has been known for its activist approach that goes well beyond writing large checks.

The list of board members is like a Whos Who in the world of celebrity including Gwyneth Paltrow, Diane Sawyer, Harvey Weinstein of Miramax Films and Lachlan Murdoch, son of Rupert Murdoch and chief operating officer of The News Corp. Ltd. The board also includes Marian Wright Edelman, president of the Childrens Defense Fund, and Maurice Chessa, director Bedford Stuyvestant I Have a Dream program.

A former board member was John F. Kennedy Jr. who was one of the guests at Jones wedding in Memphis.

With a board of mainly financial gurus Robin Hood is known as a risk taking, investment foundation. What makes it unique is the board members absorb all the operating funds and staffing costs themselves, and 100 percent of the proceeds from the concert will go directly to those who need it.

Some of the audience at the Concert for New York City will be as star-studded as the performers. Tickets start at $2,000 each and they can be obtained at Ticketmaster.

Gold tickets are $5,000 each and platinum tickets are $10,000 each, which includes an exclusive reception in the VIP lounge with visits by the performers.

The tickets are tax-deductible. Ron Dabney of Robin Hood said there are still some $5,000 and $10,000 tickets left and can be obtained by calling (212) 227-6601. Donations can be sent to the Robin Hood Relief Fund, Robin Hood Foundation, 1211 Avenue of the Americas, 18th floor, New York, New York 10036. Information can be gained and contributions made at www.robinhood.org.

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