Feb 08, 2021 Press Release

Wes Moore to Step Down as CEO of Robin Hood Foundation

Combat veteran, bestselling author, and social entrepreneur will depart in May 2021 Moore led the Robin Hood foundation to one of its strongest years in the anti-poverty group’s 33-year history in 2020 – raising over $230 million as the organization filled a critical role in response to the pandemic Robin Hood is a 501(c)3 organization and not affiliated with any for-profit businesses that use a similar name

New York, NY – Today, Wes Moore announced he will step down as CEO of the Robin Hood foundation in May of this year after a four-year tenure where under Moore’s leadership, the organization raised over $650 million, restructured and refocused the grantmaking portfolio, executed critical relief efforts in response to COVID-19, expanded the role of the organization through policymaking, and launched several initiatives — including a national partnership and the Power Fund to increase supports for nonprofits led by people of color.

“I’m so proud to have been CEO of Robin Hood over the past four years. This is the right time to step down for me and my family, but it’s also the right time for change for this organization,” Moore said. “At its core, Robin Hood is a community of caring and impact. And we have brought together this remarkable team, frontline nonprofits, impactful research, an expanding and committed donor base, policymakers, other funders, community leaders, and more to create lifelines and opportunities for families living in poverty in this critical time. That work continues with speed and urgency.”

In 2020, amid a global pandemic, Robin Hood raised over $230 million — the second-highest fundraising total in the history of the organization — from roughly 100,000 donors, a 10 to 20 fold increase from what the foundation would see in a typical year.

“Thanks to Wes Moore’s transformational leadership, Robin Hood is at the strongest point in our 33-year history,” said Robin Hood’s co-founder and board member Paul Tudor Jones. “We are bigger and stronger than we’ve ever been, but families are facing unprecedented challenges. We are grateful for Wes’ leadership, and we must use the momentum he has created in this work to find the right leader to take us forward.”

Robin Hood filled a critical need during the COVID-19 pandemic under Moore’s leadership, distributing more than $65 million to provide cash assistance, meals, housing, healthcare, and other urgent needs to those impacted by COVID, as well as granting another $140 million for an array of programs and initiatives developed to directly address the systemic underpinnings of poverty in New York City.

“Wes Moore displayed true leadership throughout his four-year tenure as CEO of the Robin Hood foundation,” New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said. “When countless New Yorkers were devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic, Wes stepped up to the plate, playing a critical role in providing much-needed relief to families across the state and volunteering his time as a member of the state’s advisory council to reopen New York. I know that he will continue to fight to create opportunities for all in his next chapter.”

After Moore became CEO in 2017, Robin Hood underwent a year-long strategic planning process designed to restructure the organization and refocus its grantmaking on lifting families from poverty measurably and sustainably.

“I know I speak for all on the Board of Directors when I say we wish we could have served side-by-side with Wes Moore for many more years at Robin Hood,” said board chair John Griffin. “But thanks in large part to his innovative leadership, we are in a position of strength as we focus on ensuring our work continues with the same pace and commitment that Wes set these past four years.”

Moore advanced the organization into the policy arena for the first time in its history. Over the past three years, Robin Hood’s advocacy included fighting for the financial sustainability of New York’s human services nonprofit sector and recently a longer-term campaign to cut child poverty in half through expansion of the federal Child Tax Credit.

“Wes Moore’s leadership will leave an indelible mark on Robin Hood and on the lives of countless children and families,” said Marian Wright Edelman, founder and president emerita of the Children’s Defense Fund and a Robin Hood board member. “From his progression into policy and advocacy to his laser focus on economic mobility and opportunity, Wes showed himself to be a remarkable consensus builder whose leadership and voice are indispensable.”

Under Moore’s leadership, Robin Hood launched Mobility LABs, the first national partnership in the organization’s history. This $25 million, four-year initiative spurs the development of new solutions to sustainably lift families out of poverty in Baltimore, northeast Pennsylvania, New York, suburban Chicago, and the California Bay Area.

Last year, Moore announced the creation of Robin Hood’s Power Fund, an initiative to fund and elevate nonprofit leaders of color who share Robin Hood’s mission of increasing economic mobility while addressing racial and economic injustice through their work. This initiative is designed to help address the disparities in funding seen in the philanthropic sector among nonprofits led by people of color. Since October, the fund has awarded grants to seven organizations.

Robin Hood has convened a search committee chaired by board vice chair Dina Powell McCormick, comprising Jones, Griffin, and board members Geoffrey Canada and Mary Erdoes.

“In Wes Moore, we have had a leader who deeply believes in the mission of Robin Hood and the fight for poverty alleviation. He led by example and his commitment leaves a great legacy of four years of impact on many organizations and many lives,” said Powell-McCormick. “Wes is leaving very big shoes to fill, and we will conduct a thorough national search to find the right successor.”

Reactions from the Robin Hood and social-impact community:

“Wes Moore was the right leader, at the right institution, at the right time. During his four years at Robin Hood, Wes transformed the organization to an intellectual, political and advocacy juggernaut for racial justice and equal opportunity. His impact at Robin Hood changed the life trajectories of millions of individuals living in poverty,” said Anthony Romero, Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union. “Wes is one of the next generation’s most charismatic, visionary and capable of leaders. Whatever Wes’ next chapter will be, I’m sure he will scale social justice at an even faster pace and larger scale. He is a once-in-a-generation leader.”

“I’ve seen Wes Moore in action fighting for children and families. His rare combination of compassion and expertise have helped Robin Hood strengthen its bond with communities and with the nonprofits that serve them,” said Phoebe Boyer, President and Chief Executive Officer of Children’s Aid. “Thanks in large part to Wes’ leadership, Children’s Aid’s 30-year-long partnership with Robin Hood has never been stronger.”

“I’m grateful to Wes Moore for putting in the time and the work to learn about poverty and other issues facing the Asian American community and take meaningful steps to address them,” said Wayne Ho, President and CEO of the Chinese-American Planning Council. “We’ve worked together on innovative workforce development programs, COVID relief efforts, and strategic initiatives like Mobility LABs. I greatly appreciate his data-driven but community-centric approach to grantmaking as well as his advocacy efforts to hold the city and state accountable. Wes is a champion for racial and economic equity who uses every tool at his disposal to create progress for marginalized communities.”

“In just four years, Wes Moore developed dynamic and lasting partnerships while stewarding Robin Hood’s role in social justice and philanthropy,” said Cheryl L. Dorsey, President of Echoing Green. “As an innovator and advocate, Wes brought his entrepreneurial leadership to help Robin Hood progress to meet the current demands of the poverty fight, and nimbly react to the crisis of COVID-19 and a reckoning with racial injustice.”

“When Wes Moore became CEO of Robin Hood four years ago, he pledged to forge national partnerships in order to ensure that Robin Hood’s anti-poverty agenda extends beyond New York City, to also focus on diverse communities across the United States. Like every promise Wes has kept in the more than 20 years I have known him, Wes honored this commitment through action. He transformed Robin Hood into a force for national collaboration, and in doing so also remembered Baltimore, our shared home,” said Rachel Garbow Monroe, President and CEO of The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation. “The $25 million Mobility LABs partnership, including Robin Hood, Tipping Point, the Gates Foundation, the Weinberg Foundation, and others, is intended to help end the cycle of poverty by increasing economic mobility for families in Baltimore, New York City, Northeastern Pennsylvania, Chicago, and the San Francisco Bay Area. This initiative aims to demonstrate what can be achieved when we work together, with shared goals and a commitment to investing in community driven implementation and local leadership. Mobility LABs is a strong example of the effective way Wes exercised leadership on behalf of Robin Hood to have an even greater impact on the work of this important Foundation in the United States. I join everyone in thanking Wes for his leadership and wishing him success in whatever he does next!”

About Robin Hood:

Founded in 1988, Robin Hood finds, fuels, and creates the most impactful and scalable solutions lifting families out of poverty in New York City, with models that can work across the country. In 2020, Robin Hood invested nearly $200 million to provide COVID relief, legal services, housing, meals, workforce development training, education programs and more to families in poverty in New York City. Robin Hood tracks every program with rigorous metrics, and since Robin Hood’s Board of Directors covers all overhead, 100 percent of every donation goes directly to the poverty fight. Learn more at robinhood.org.