Michael CarrazzaPrince Harry is in New York City, and the entire town has gone completely mad about him.
Today he'll play in The 3rd Annual Sentebale Royal Salute Polo Cup in Greenwich, Connecticut for Sentebale, a charity he launched to benefit needy children in Lesotho.
And as it so often happens in Greenwich, Wall Street will be represented on the field during this invite-only affair.
Michael Carrazza, the CEO of investment firm Solaia Capital and Chairman of Patriot National Bank (PNB), will be playing on the Prince's team — the match starts at 3:00 pm.
As you can imagine, gigs like this don't come around every day. Just getting into the match (let alone playing in it) has been tough. There were only 400 tickets to the event available, and the word from Greenwich is that it sold out in March.
Carrazza and Prince Harry will be joined on the Sentebale Land Rover team by amateur player Marc Ganzi and Malcolm Borwick, a regular on the England national team.
The opposing side, named for its sponsor, St. Regis, will be captained by international polo star Nacho Figueras. He'll be leading Peter Orthwein, chief executive of Thor Industries; Steve Lefkowitz and Dawn Jones, wife of actor Tommy Lee Jones — she's a top female polo player.
So on to how one gets invited to play on one of these teams without being an internationally recognized polo player, a prince, or a founding member of the Greenwich Polo Club (like Orthwein).
Carrazza has been an active polo player in the New York area for over a decade, but he says there are really two reasons why he was contacted and offered a spot on Prince Harry's team.
"They were looking for someone with my handicap level and the fact that I'm in the community with an initiative that compliments Sentebale made me a perfect fit," said Carrazza.
The initiative he's talking about is called Lend A Hand. Starting on May 15th Carrazza's bank, PNB, will match donations up to $10,000 made to either Sentebale or the Child Guidance Center of Mid-Fairfield County, it's an organization that helps children overcome behavioral and mental health challenges and it has been especially active since last year's school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.
In Carrazza's mind, the two causes dovetail perfectly.
Carrazza became Chairman of PNB back in 2010 after taking the company through a recapitalization. His latest project is the Siena Lending Group, a company that provides asset based lending (ABL) loans of between $1-20 million to small and mid-sized companies.
The idea fills a specific need in American finance right now — helping smaller businesses (that are ignored by big banks) get loans, and expanding the balance sheets at regional banks with high quality loans that Siena's team can originate, service and monitor.
The Siena Group deal came together on April 26th, which tells you how quickly Carrazza has had to prepare for an event that will be attended by a long list of A-listers from Greenwich and beyond, like Dan Stevens, the actor who played Downton Abbey's Matthew Crawley, fashion designer Jason Wu, and model Karolina Kurkova.
So no pressure.
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