Even the Hedge Fund Group Is Hurting

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In this failing economy, it isn't surprising that many children's charities are suffering from lower income.  But even a group that depends on the titans of industry hasn't been able to stave off a drop in donations this year.

Hedge Funds Care, a group that raises money for the treatment and prevention of child abuse, is composed of financial professionals including fund managers, investors, prime brokers and attorneys.

"We projected the loss of revenue this year to be about 40 percent," said Kathryn Conroy, executive director and CEO of the New York-based organization. Conroy is a former assistant dean of the Columbia University School of Social Work and has authored numerous publications on child welfare and battered women.

At its New York benefit in February, Hedge Funds collected only $1.3 million - almost $1 million less than the previous year when the benefit raised $2.2 million. Conroy said the amount of money raised at the Chicago and San Francisco events this year also dropped by 8 percent and 20 percent, respectively, from last year.

According to the organization's Director of Development Trevel Balser, in 2007, Hedge Funds raised almost $5.8 million globally through its events; in 2008, the charity raised about $5.6 million.

While Conroy couldn't pin down the cause of that slight decrease, she attributed this year's loss of revenue to the recession's effect on the financial industry on which the charity relies for most of its donations.

In response to economic challenges, Hedge Funds has adjusted its fundraising strategies. In some cities, the organization now hosts multiple small fundraising events rather than one large-scale event. Hedge Funds has also started reaching out to individual donors.

Last year, Hedge Funds Care awarded about $3.8 million in grants to more than 100 organizations, including: Children's Village, Good Shepherd Services, Youth Communication, the Jane Addams Juvenile Court Foundation, Urban Peak and the Children's Bureau of Southern California.

To apply for a grant, local and regional organizations submit a letter of intent to Hedge Funds. Selected organizations then create a request for proposal. According to Balser, those full proposals are reviewed by a grant selection committee that performs site visits to shortlisted agencies before making decisions. All grants are approved by the board of directors.