Last Thursday, February 8th marked the 7th annual East Harlem Tutorial Program (EHTP) Texas Hold ‘Em Poker Tournament and Casino games. The annual event offers participants an exciting evening of games and entertainment with all proceeds benefits EHTP.
EHTP was created from a realization that East Harlem was an underserved and under-resourced community resulting in an uneducated and underemployed community. To provide East Harlem youth with the academic skills, strength of character, and emotional well-being needed to excel in post-secondary school and contribute to their community, EHTP provides after-school programs, college programs, and teacher training. As a vital East Harlem education and enrichment center, EHTP works with children from early childhood through adulthood to equip them for social and career success. The EHTP model also focusses on fully engaging parents and caregivers in their child’s development.
Since its creation in 1958, EHTP has grown from a small tutoring program into an organization with programs that serve youth from ages 5 to 21, as well as educators. EHTP currently has over 200 staff and 300 volunteers that work across five locations to prepare thousands of students for college success. Each year EHTP serves 1,500 students and demand for their programs continues to grow. To support more students and programs, EHTP opened the East Harlem Education Center in 2016. The 50,000 square foot facility is a place where youth of all ages come to learn and be inspired. EHTP has impacted the lives of more than 15,000 students by providing free, high-quality educational programs and enrichment opportunities.
To support their mission of equipping East Harlem youth with the education and skills needed for college and career success, EHTP relies on sponsorships and donations from their annual poker tournament as well as other events. Previous year’s tournaments have raised over $30,000 thanks to the generosity of donors, sponsors, and guests. At this year’s tournament, an open bar, hors d’oeuvres, live DJ, and silent auction are just some of the things that attracted people to the exciting evening hosted at Rock & Reilly’s in the New York Renaissance Hotel. Full access tickets for the evening went for $300 for an individual or up to $5,000 for a sponsorship package. For skilled poker players, some of the prizes on offer for the evening included two tickets to Hamilton plus airfare and hotel, four club seat tickets to the Knicks, four legends suite tickets to New York City Football Club, and exclusive personal training sessions.
K. Don Cornwell and Jacob Gottlieb
As in past years, the event was hosted by K. Don Cornwell, a Partner at PJT Partners and a member of the EHTP Board of Trustees. Cornwell’s lengthy career in finance has been largely focused on sports and gaming and his experience includes some of the largest sports transactions of all time. Cornwell has said that poker is a personal passion of his, as well as supporting youth education, and he continues to support the EHTP tournament annually.
Another prominent member of the New York finance community, Jacob Gottlieb, was also a supporter of this year’s EHTP poker tournament. EHTP is one of the many nonprofit organizations that Gottlieb is an active supporter of, and others include Covenant house, Math for America, and the Robin Hood Foundation. As a born and bred New Yorker, and as someone who’s career success was rooted in a strong education, Gottlieb focuses his philanthropic pursuits on organizations that are local to New York City and support the education and advancement of youth. Gottlieb is well known in the New York financial community as the founder and CIO of Visium Asset Management, one of the largest ever healthcare hedge funds.
Gottlieb was instrumental in building Visium and, at its height, it was an $8 billion dollar hedge fund with 170 employees. His tenure at Visium began in 2005 when he left his position at Balyasny Asset Management to start the company with 20 investment partners. Prior to that, Gottlieb had established a successful track record at New York financial firms including Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. and Merlin Biomed Group.
In June of 2016, Visium was brought down by an insider trading scandal when the SEC announced that it was charging three company executives with insider training and falsely inflating portfolio asset values. The U.S. Attorney’s Office also brought criminal charges against the employees as a result of evidence brought forward by Visium employee and whistleblower, Jason Thorell. Gottlieb emerged from the scandal legally unscathed and continues his work as CIO as the firm winds down.