The sun was shining on Battery Park Ballfields on Wednesday.
It was a beautiful New York day, the kind of day that makes you want to leave the desk and play some ball.
In the shadow of Goldman Sach’s headquarters in downtown New York, over 600 employees of the bank came out for a day of wiffle ball, competition and camaraderie, all in the name of charity.
The bank was raising money for Harlem RBI, a non-profit year-round youth development program based in East Harlem, New York. The organisation has grown to serve more than 1,700 boys and girls annually in both Harlem and the South Bronx, ages 5-22, providing them with year-round sports, educational and enrichment activities.
Youth from the program also attended, serving as umpires and referees and calling the shots for the day. The tournament pit different groups at the bank against each other in different rounds.
Some high profile players also made an appearance at the games. Gary Cohn, the president and COO of Goldman Sachs, Yankees player Mark Teixeira and Mets General Manager Sandy Alderson got involved, mingling with kids and employees and trying their hands at bat.
Is it competitive?
“Oh yes,” said Cohn. “Of course it’s competitive. This is Goldman Sachs.”
Gary Cohn, president of Goldman Sachs, Mark Teixeira, Harlem RBI Board Member and Yankees player, Brian Levine, cohead of global equities trading and execution services at Goldman Sachs, and kids from the Harlem RBI program.
The wiffleball tournament was the brainchild of Levine. He recently moved back to New York from London, where he was actively involved with London based Charity Greenhouse Sports.
Levine wanted to continue giving back in New York and came up with the idea after meeting Yankees player and Harlem RBI board member Mark Teixeira six months ago. He wanted to build awareness of the charity and introduce the youth of the program to Wall Street. After the tournament, he planned to give them a tour of the Goldman trading floor.
Individual employees and teams donate to the cause and Goldman matches each employee contribution. The winner of the tournament, as well as six kids from Harlem RBI, will have the chance to watch the Yankees play the Mets in the Subway series at the Goldman Sachs box at Yankee Stadium tonight.
'At Goldman, we work hard, we play hard, and we are committed to best-in-class charitable organisations like Harlem RBI,' said Levine.