dimenna

Like all parents, Joe and Diana DiMenna want their two children to grow up to be happy, productive adults. But they’re not just hoping for the best; they have a strategy to help their daughters do well in life by doing good: the DiMenna Family Fund they established last year at Robin Hood.

“We are mindful that if our daughters are to see the world and look for ways to make it better; they need both a passion for hard work and deep compassion for others. That’s our definition of success,” Diana says. “Whether the girls choose a career in the arts, finance or science, they know philanthropy is our family business,” she says.

Diana and her husband Joe, co-founder of Zweig-DiMenna Associates, a long-short hedge fund, realize that the comfortable lifestyle they provide could easily rob Claire (9) and Tess (13) of the opportunity to develop important qualities like fortitude and strong character. So they take intentional steps to instill their values in their girls.

Through their collaboration with Robin Hood the DiMennas are able to put their compassion into action and work to address poverty. They bond over spirited discussions as each member of the family advocates for a specific cause: Claire is moved by issues surrounding children and families; Diana rallies to the aid of veterans, a cause Tess has recently come to better understand and share; Joe is focused on broader issues designed to close the gap between rich and poor New Yorkers, particularly access to quality education.

“All of what we enjoy as a family comes from my husband’s experience as an investor,” Diana explains. “Philanthropy is an investment—of time, of money, of priorities—and it’s important to have a focused approach. Robin Hood is the gold standard; that’s why we chose to partner with them and also created our own family fund there.”

The family’s relationship with Robin Hood began in 2008, when Claire and Tess set up a Lemonaid stand, the proceeds of which would go to Robin Hood. Diana and Joe saw this as a simple way to introduce their daughters to philanthropy. The girls learned how the money they raised would help more than 200 non-profits improve the lives of low-income New Yorkers. In the past 11-years, Robin Hood’s Lemonaid Program has raised more than $1 million.

Several years later, Claire and Tess’ set up their Lemonaid stand on the final day of the polo season at Two Trees Farm in Bridgehampton. Not only did the girls solicit other familiies to help raise an impressive amount, but one of their customers was the polo great, Nacho Figueras. Intrigued by what he saw, Figueras tweeted about the young DiMennas’ enterprise. And Nacho suggested to Diana and Joe that they partner to organize a polo match on Robin Hood’s behalf. The inaugural event happened a few weeks later and raised more than $400,000 for Robin Hood.

This summer marked the 4th Annual Piaget Hamptons Cup, which has grown into a wildly popular Hamptons’ event. This year’s match netted $1 million on Robin Hood’s behalf. But what matters most to Diana is not the fanfare but the cause: “Polo is a wholesome family sport. And doing this event with the Figuerases on behalf of Robin Hood is all about families supporting other families who are less fortunate.” A message Tess and Claire clearly take to heart.

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