Sep 3, 2020 Robin Hood-Helping the Less Fortunate
When I was a kid, if someone mentioned Robin Hood, my generation immediately thought of the iconic Hollywood actor Errol Flynn. My kids would probably associate Robin Hood with Kevin Costner (1991) or Russel Crowe (2010). So recently, when I started seeing the name Robin Hood pop up, I assumed that the Robin Hood brand was being offered up to a new Hollywood star. In fact, the Robin Hoods that I am reading about are two different enterprises that are looking to help people in radically different ways.
The first Robin Hood https://robinhood.com/us/en/ is a stock brokerage firm that is buying and selling more stock on behalf of investors than all of the major incumbent brokerage firms, and more than E-Trade and Charles Schwab combined. Robin Hood not only doesn’t charge commissions but allows small investors to buy a fraction of a share of stock. They have made their website easy to use and game-like as well. Their business model has forced giant brokerage firms like Charles Schwab to also drop charging commissions. They have succeeded in disrupting the retail securities industry and have opened stock market investing to the Millennial generation.
The second Robin Hood https://www.robinhood.org/what-we-do/index.html is an organization focused on creating economic mobility for families in poverty. They give cash grants to low-income families, primarily in New York City, to keep people above the poverty line and move them toward more stable financial circumstances. They claim that for every dollar they give away, it translates to twelve dollars of economic impact to their recipients. They also explain that their method of giving is based on a series of metrics that traditional charitable contributions do not use. While we rarely think of non-for-profit organizations as being disruptive, Robin Hood has succeeded in shaking up the way we think of helping the needy.
So, what does the mythical 14th century Robin Hood battling the Sheriff of Nottingham have to do with two organizations that adopted his name? It seems to me that the Robin Hood we know from the big screen inspired these two organizations to empower the disenfranchised. In one case, this might be by enabling a young 20 something, with limited resources to invest in the stock market and own a piece of Apple or Tesla. In the other case, it would be to help a group that is known as the working poor. These are people earning minimum wage who need some cash to buy a car or computer to improve their earning potential.
Reading about these modern-day Robin Hoods is very relevant for me as we approach the Jewish New Year of Rosh HaShanah. The New Year is always a time for me to think about how fortunate I have been during the prior year and to look for ways to help others who could use a helping hand. We at Philip Stein & Associates are proud of our 1-1-1 program, which helps worthy organizations and encourages our staff to volunteer on company time. Especially during the COVID-19 Pandemic, I believe we need to reach out to those people who have suffered due to Corona. Robin Hood now and then should serve as an inspiration to be innovative, generous, and be aware of those in need.
I want to take this blog as an opportunity to wish you a happy and particularly a healthy new year, with an additional wish that we can find the Robin Hood within ourselves to help those less fortunate.