High Finance Model Informs World of Non-Profits

February 4, 2014 James Heinsman In the News

When young bankers who are also founders of non-profit organizations discuss the whys and wherefores of their foundations they inevitably use the language of finance. Andrew Harris, vice chairman of the Resolution Project and advisor for private-equity firms with Forum Capital Partners in New York, describes the project as if it’s another investment.

“We get good yield,” said Harris. “We think it’s very different and, to use a Wall Street term, very differentiated.”

The newest generation of young bankers who are giving back to the world are approaching their dreams in a new and more engaged way. Instead of dropping out of the Wall Street world of high finance to pursue good works, they say they are using the philosophy of capitalism to fix the problems of the world. This new breed of philanthropist does not condemn capitalism, it rather believes in the power of dividends, due diligence, leverage and efficient allocation of resources as the means to help those less fortunate.

“Among this generation — our generation — is a deep passion and interest in learning, earning and returning simultaneously,” said Andrew Klaber, 32, an analyst at hedge fund Paulson & Co. “You just see an unmet need in your research, and research is what we do on Wall Street.”

Klaber is the founder of the non-profit Even Ground, which provides education and health care to children in Africa who are affected by AIDS. The fund has already delivered $800,000 in aid according to IRS filing data.

Climbing the Wall Street ladder to the top does not have the same meaning for these young investment bankers cum philanthropists as it used to have.

“The first time I felt like I made it wasn’t when I made director,” said Julissa Arce, 30, a derivative developer at Merrill Lynch and co-founder of Even Ground. “I felt like I made it when I launched this fund.”

Andrew Harris, Andrew Klaber, Even Ground, Julissa Arce, Merrill Lynch,

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