Jay-Z’s Atlantic City REFORM Fundraiser Hits $24M With Star-Studded Bash
In a spectacular blend of philanthropy and entertainment, hip-hop and business mogul Jay-Z, alongside the REFORM Alliance, orchestrated an A-list fundraising gala that successfully amassed over $24 million.
The inaugural Casino Night Event celebrated the class of the famous New Jersey casinos in Atlantic City, while raising money for criminal justice reform and advocacy.
The headline gambling event, a $100K buy-in blackjack tournament with a $1 million top prize, was won by managing partner of hospitality giant TAO GROUP Andrew Goldberg. Goldberg donated $750,000 of his winnings to REFORM directly after victory.
Other attractions at the high-class party included a charity auction, on-stage discussions and speeches hosted by comedian Kevin Hart, and surprise rap performances from hip-hop heavyweights like Meek Mill, Travis Scott, Lil Baby, Fat Joe, and Quavo of Migos.
A Starlit Evening at Ocean Casino Resort
The Ocean Casino Resort in Atlantic City served as the opulent backdrop for the black-tie event, which took place over last weekend.
The Ocean struggled for revenues among Atlantic City casinos for many years, but has recently emerged as a big player on the high-end of the nine casino options in the city.
Over the weekend, the casino was abuzz with celebrities, philanthropists, and advocates for criminal justice reform. Notable attendees included Kim Kardashian, Tom Brady, Matthew McConaughey, Alex Rodriguez, and a host of others from the entertainment and sports industries.
During the auction proceedings, NFL legend Brady and social media star Kardashian got into a bidding war over a painting by George Condo. After some mild back and forth bidding and flirting that sent the gossip rags into a buzz, the piece, Standing Female Figure, sold to Brady for $2 million.
Overall, the auction, which featured personal items from Jay-Z, pulled in more than $8 million for REFORM.
A highlight of the evening was a high-stakes blackjack tournament, where the victor secured a cool $1 million. In a remarkable act of generosity, winning entrant Goldberg donated $750,000 of his prize back to the REFORM Alliance.
The event was not only a celebration, but also a platform for speakers promoting a fairer justice system.
Wallo, a former career criminal turned social media star and advocate for criminal justice reform, shared his poignant story and urged attendees to dig deep into their pockets to support the cause.
“This here is very important what we’re doing,” he said. “I want to thank everybody that’s in this room. And I’ma tell you this– go in your pocket and give more. Some of you are going to spend on things you’re going to enjoy for a moment. That s**t gonna be gone. That money that you spend for them little things, you wanna celebrate and party and all that stuff, you can change lives, thousands of lives.”
The Impact and Future Endeavors of REFORM Alliance
The REFORM Alliance is chaired by Jay-Z, rapper Meek Mill, and Fanatics sports merchandise CEO Michael Rubin. Rubin is no stranger to an expensive party himself, with his annual Hamptons mansion party said to have inspired Jay’s more philanthropic casino night.
The $24 million raised should be put to good use, as REFORM has genuinely been instrumental in advocating for changes in parole and probation laws.
The funds raised during the gala will be channeled towards various REFORM initiatives, including lobbying efforts to amend laws, expanding grassroots operations, supporting the implementation of already-passed laws, organizing fairs, and backing community-based organizations.
Recently, REFORM showed real world success when it helped push for the successful passing of California’s Assembly Bill 1950, which limits probation terms for nonviolent offenders.
“Thanks to AB 1950, hundreds of thousands of Californians on probation will have a shot to succeed and exit the criminal justice system for good,” the Reform Alliance website says.
As well as his business, music and charity work, legendary New York rapper Jay-Z is also a fan of gambling. The hip hop mogul unsuccessfully applied to start a New York online sports betting venture with his friend Rubin a few years ago, and he is currently also in the race for a downstate New York casino venue license, having applied to build a Times Square casino with Caesars Entertainment.