I had the fortune of working the Hurricane Sandy Benefit Concert held on 12.12.12 at Madison Square Garden. The concert benefited the Robin Hood Foundation, a local charity organization that has taken a much different approach to how they use donations. Instead of just handing the money out in grants, they spend a lot of time analyzing what programs are actually working. The most effective programs get the support and because of that careful analysis their dollars go further than most others. You can read more about their metrics system here.
I heard quite a few people ask aloud both at the concert as well as online as to why Robin Hood was the recipient of the funds instead of the American Red Cross. I often wonder how the American Red Cross would measure up to Robin Hood‘s evaluation. I would guess they wouldn’t rank too high, which is one of the reasons the money didn’t go to them. New Yorkers see results with the programs supported by the Robin Hood Foundation. Historically we haven’t seen results from the American Red Cross, and sadly Hurricane Sandy hasn’t changed that record.
The concert itself was, if you didn’t happen to catch it in the bazillion places it was being broadcast, quite an epic event. Bruce Springsteen and Jon Bon Jovi, the real Jersey Boyz, put on a great show. No one can doubt the immortality of Roger Waters or the essence of the Who.
As for Kanye West, well, let’s just leave it as it just wasn’t his type of crowd. It was nice of him to come and that’s appreciated, which is more than can be said about native born and bred Jay-Z who’s ownership in the Barclay Center undoubtedly played a role in his no show at Madison Square Garden.
Of course, the reunion of the surviving members of Nirvana joining Sir Paul McCartney is what truly defined the concert as epic, at least for me. Grohl looked great behind the drum set and Novaselic sounded as awesome that night as when Nevermind first landed. I was glad he didn’t toss his bass in the air and knock himself out, because really kids its all fun and games until someone gets hurt… then its a job.
One of the cool things about being there, besides the great music, was the FourSquare Badge done for the event. For the first 25,000 users who checked in that night, Samsung was donating $10 to the Robin Hood Foundation. That could be an extra quarter million dollars which is nothing to sneeze at. I love my FourSquare badges. No, really, I do.
It was a great event for a great cause with some great social media integration.