By Pam Martens: September 11, 2012
Will someone please wake up the Wall Street Scrooge crowd with the news that while they may still be munching on their Golden Osetra caviar and sipping Billinis, tens of thousands of fellow citizens of their city are experiencing the worst downturn since the Great Depression – and, for God’s sake, that includes innocent children who can’t be blamed by even the most Ayn Randian of cold hearts for their circumstances.
According to New York City data and a report in the New York Daily News on Sunday, the number of homeless children sleeping in New York City shelters reached 19,000 last week. That’s on a par with the data for the Great Depression.
The numbers are rising dramatically year after year and yet Wall Street’s response last year to a core charity easing the suffering of homeless children in its own city was that of a cheapskate and skinflint.
According to the annual report filed by Coalition for the Homeless for contributions received in 2011, help from major Wall Street firms was almost non-existent. Companies not chipping in a dime included JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, and Citigroup. Goldman Sachs kicked in a miserly $5,000 to $9,999. Bank of America’s Merrill Lynch contributed the skinflint sum of $2,000 to $4,999.
Wall Street’s biggest firms gave less than they spend on limos for their summer interns and 3 percent of what four major Wall Street firms have contributed to the presidential campaign of multi-millionaire Mitt Romney. Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, and Bank of America — through employee contributions, PACs and committee contributions — have donated over $2.2 million to Romney’s campaign while giving, at most, $15,000 to help the Coalition for the Homeless ease the suffering of children in their own city.
Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein may delude himself with the idea he’s doing God’s work, but I’ll put my bet on the Coalition for the Homeless. For 30 years, it’s been developing and operating programs to help the homeless in New York City get back on their feet. In addition to providing grants for food, baby formula, work uniforms, school supplies, and transportation, Crisis Intervention helps connect homeless New Yorkers with benefits, treatment, shelter, and housing — in some cases helping with initial moving, storage, furniture, or utility expenses.
The Grand Central Food Program provides up to 1,000 emergency meals to homeless and desperately poor individuals and families every night of the year. An Eviction Prevention Program helps struggling New Yorkers pay their back rent through a one-time, emergency grant. Other programs provide rent subsidies and job training. See full details of the other programs here.
If you work for a Wall Street firm and you think a homeless child deserves as much consideration as a multi-millionaire like Mitt Romney, here’s the link to where to mail a check. If your firm has a matched giving program, don’t forget to ask for the match.
Author’s Note: I have no affiliation with Coalition for the Homeless; nor did they provide any information about their donors. My information came from their officially filed annual report for tax year 2011.