Robert Smith entered Wall Street over 20 years ago with lessons passed down from four generations of family members who worked in the investment industry before him.
For more than a decade, Robert has allocated capital on behalf of and co-invested with Family Offices. Over the course of his career, he managed sales and trading teams at leading financial institutions, where he built a Fund Investor network and led in profitability at three firms: once while working in a trading capacity at the world’s largest market making firm and twice while working in an equity capital markets capacity at boutique investment banks. In 2014, Robert founded ICV to bring together his network of Family Offices and Fund Investors to evaluate opportunities that create a social impact beyond a financial return.
Robert serves as Business Strategy Advisor to New Frontier Bio, a multi-asset holding company, which leverages the long-term involvement of the Kennedy family in healthcare, to identify, finance and develop novel medical technologies from inception through clinical proof of concept. He serves as a member of the President’s Advisory Board of Jefferson, the largest academic medical center in Philadelphia and recently named 16th on U.S. News & World Report’s 2017-2018 Best Hospitals Honor Roll, a distinction awarded to just 20 hospitals in the U.S.
He serves as Senior Advisor for Fundraising and Partnerships to the Permanent Secretariat of the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates, a platform to consolidate peace efforts and strengthen global security, monitor and support the Nobel Peace Laureates, and engage the minds of young people and citizens on real matters that broaden vision and open up new horizons for more peaceful and compassionate thinking. He serves as a member of the Advisory Council of Represent.Us, which brings the left and the right together to create positive change for American democracy.
Robert serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the Chaeli Foundation, a nonprofit that focuses on growing more inclusive and empowered communities, especially through the inclusion of children, youth and adults with disabilities. He serves as a member of the Board of Directors of Childhood Cancer Kids, a nonprofit that increases childhood cancer awareness and elevates the spirits of children with cancer. Robert serves as a member of the Board of Trustees of The Children’s Village, a nonprofit that works in partnership with families to help society’s most vulnerable children so that they become educationally proficient, economically productive, and socially responsible members of their communities. He serves as a member of the Board of Directors of Tuesday’s Children, a response and recovery nonprofit organization that supports youth, families, and communities impacted by terrorism and traumatic loss.
Carrying On A Mission
Robert serves as Vice President and a member of the Board of Directors of the Harmon Foundation, a private foundation established in 1922 by his great, great grandfather William E. Harmon for charitable and humanitarian purposes, with an emphasis on “inspirational and tangible help for young people.”
William E. Harmon operated the Wood, Harmon & Co., the largest real estate company in the world at the turn of the century, where he developed the “partial payment plan,” known today as the mortgage loan. After learning about the New York City subway extension, Harmon invested more than $4 million in Brooklyn, comprising over 20,000 building lots, more than any other, which was sold to New Yorkers on small partial payments after a surge in population.
“Land is the gift eternal,” said Mr. Harmon. “Buildings may crumble, endowments fail, but land is forever available. Fifty generations have used the playgrounds that were left as open spaces in the building of Rome, and these same playgrounds will be used for hundreds of generations. The land we set aside today in American towns and cities will serve the boys and girls not only of this generation, but of unnumbered generations to come.” The New York Times, October 23, 1921.
Harmon was fond of saying, “A playground now will be a playground forever, for land is the one thing that does not perish. And children will play!” He established a national and worldwide park system that was so named, “Harmon Playgrounds,” which included playgrounds and recreational fields in 36 states across the nation.
In 1926, Harmon created the Harmon Award for distinguished achievements among African Americans in eight different fields: literature, music, fine arts, business and industry, science and innovation, education, religious service, and race relations. Award recipients included Archibald John Motley Jr., Claude McKay, Countee Cullen, James Weldon Johnson, Langston Hughes, Laura Wheeler Waring, and Walter Francis White, and was best known for its impact on African American art of the Harlem Renaissance, with works by Richmond Barthé, Lois Mailou Jones, Augusta Savage first exhibited at the Smithsonian Institution in 1944, where the opening ceremony was attended by First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, United States Vice President Henry Wallace, Howard University President Mordecai Wyatt Johnson, pioneering doctor and scientist Charles Drew, and writer and scholar Alain Locke.
In 1927, John D. Rockefeller began campaigning for the “self-financing of education” and gained support from Harmon who created business-like loans, known today as the student loan, where character and group responsibility were used as the basis for credit. This effectively transformed the economics of college to depend on students’ payments.
Upon his death, it was discovered that Harmon was the mysterious benefactor of lore, Jedediah Tingle, who, over his lifetime, donated to thousands of nonprofits to “carry on a mission to bring smiles and tender thoughts to the great in heart in high and low places, to comfort and cheer those who do exceptional things or suffer.”