Cayman's hedge fund community rallied together this month in support of a new Cayman charity formed to eradicate child abuse and assist victims.
At a benefit dinner held on 3 November at the Grand Old House, a net total of USD 175,000 was raised for the prevention and treatment of child abuse in Cayman.
"The event exceeded our considerable expectations due to both the generosity of attendees and the hard work of our committee and several other key individuals," said Glen Wigney, founder of the Cayman Chapter of Hedge Funds Care.
The Hedge Funds Care Cayman Committee of Hearts comprises Glen Wigney, Chris Carpenter, Peter Cockhill, Lauren Nelson, David Brooks, Mark Lewis, William Walmsley, Roger Hanson, David Bree, Charles Jennings, Patrick Agemian and Sean Flynn.
Rob Davis, the founder of the Hedge Funds Care programme was the keynote speaker at the event, with his presentation highlighting his emotional reasons for developing this charity and the work that has been done since its inception.
"Hedge Funds Care was started in 1998 with the mission of preventing child abuse and providing treatment to those who have been victimized," said Davis. "Since then, concerned and caring people in the hedge fund industry have stepped forward to do their parts in this struggle to save our children.
"Nowhere is this exemplified more than in Grand Cayman where the outpouring of hedge fund industry professionals was nothing short of inspirational. It is wonderful to know that those who have much to be grateful for in their own lives, do truly care and are willing to show it. Congratulations to all the members of the Committee of Hearts who made it happen, as well all the outstanding individuals who participated. The cycle of good you have started will help many children and families".
The Honourable Anthony Eden, Minister responsible for Health and Human Services was also on hand to congratulate and thank the crowd.
"It is in our best interest … to address [child abuse] as soon as [it is] identified or better yet, to put preventative measures in place which will deter perpetrators and protect the innocence and health of our children," he said. "We all want a peaceful community in which we can live, work and raise our children and together we must strive for this goal.
"Your involvement in the issue of child protection will greatly enhance the work that local agencies are already doing. This tremendous show of support tonight is heartening," he aqdded.
Now that the funds are available, the next step is to issue the funds to needy organisations.
"In many ways the hard work has just begun as we are now tasked with determining how best to spend these funds so that they truly make a difference in our community, explained Wigney. "To achieve this goal, we will be forming a Grant Selection Committee and will work closely with Doris Schwartz, the New York-based Executive Director of Hedge Funds Care, to set stringent selection criteria."
In addition to Schwartz, the committee will comprise some of the Committee of Hearts representatives and a third-party independent child welfare academic. The selection process wheels have already begun turning with the involvement of Government and initial interviews with some local agencies, which will then be asked to respond to a request for proposal that is to be issued by the committee shortly.
Deanna Lookloy, Director of the Department of Children and Family Services has welcomed the Hedge Funds Care Cayman initiative and has provided much of the background information required for the Selection Committee. In her presentation at the event she noted the level of need as has been reported to her office, which is significant, although she admits that taking into account the assumption of non-reported cases, the incidence of abuse is likely much higher.
As was outlined in Davis' speech, this level of need is not unique to Cayman and remains a universal problem. The hedge fund community has been active in sponsoring this charity in its chapters in New York, Toronto, San Francisco, Atlanta and Chicago, and has raised over USD 14 million dollars since its inception, supporting many worthy programmes.
A total of 230 people attended the Cayman Chapter's benefit dinner and highlights of the evening included both live and silent auctions, a raffle and live entertainment. The 2006 event is scheduled to take place on 16 November at the Ritz-Carlton Resort.