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.
Early in his career, Robert managed traders at the world’s leading proprietary trading firm and at the world’s largest market making firm, during a period of unprecedented market volume and volatility.
Knight, 2000 Annual Report
Later, he managed institutional salespeople at boutique investment banks, where he built equity capital markets businesses and participated in more than 200 private placements and public offerings.
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 on the Sustainable Investing Advisory Board of the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), which makes public and private finance work for the poor in the world’s 47 Least Developed Countries (LDCs).
He serves as Business Strategy Advisor to New Frontier Bio, a multi-asset holding company, which leverages the long-term involvement of the Joseph P. Kennedy family in healthcare, to identify, finance and develop novel medical technologies from inception through clinical proof of concept.
Robert 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.
Carrying on the mission of his family’s foundation to provide “inspirational and tangible help for young people,” Robert 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 Senior Advisor to the Africa Rising Foundation, a nonprofit organization founded by Ndaba and Kweku Mandela, grandsons of Nelson Mandela, in order to contribute to the development of the African continent and serve as a conduit for the New African Generation that is committed to promoting Africa through a series of campaigns that address the continent’s socio-economic challenges; he 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 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; he 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; and, 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.
In 2018, Robert was recognized as one of The 100 Visionary Leaders by Real Leaders Magazine, alongside Bill Gates, Muhammad Yunus, President Juan Santos, Mikhail Gorbachev, Leonardo DiCaprio and many others who are leading us towards a better world.
Real Leaders, Spring 2018
Robert was inducted as a member of Evolutionary Leaders, alongside Deepak Chopra, Jack Canfield, Gary Zukav, Bruce Lipton, Gregg Braden, Michael Bernard Beck, Jude Currivan, Eben Alexander, Deborah Moldow, Stephen Dinan and other leaders who feel a sense of urgency about the state of our world and are forging a movement for the conscious evolution of humanity.
At the invitation of T.Y.S. Lama Gangchen Rinpoche, Robert received the Vajravali cycle, a collection of tantric empowerments and sadhana practices, including the Kalachakra Tantra, one of the most advanced Tantric systems within Tibetan Buddhism, from His Eminence Lama Nyitrul Tulku Rinpoche of the Longchu Monastery in Yushu, Tibet/China.
Carrying On A Mission
Robert serves as 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.”