Michael R. Bloomberg is perhaps best known for having held the title of Mayor of New York City for three consecutive terms from 2001. More recently, in 2014, he was appointed Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change for the United Nations. However, few people know about his charitable philanthropic work.
The founder of global financial data and media company Bloomberg L.P. and Bloomberg Philanthropies, a New York-based foundation involved in charitable activities focused on education, the environment, the arts, public health and government innovation, Bloomberg is one of the globe’s wealthiest people.
“I am a big believer in giving it all away and have always said that the best financial planning ends with bouncing the check to the undertaker,” he once said. This is in keeping with his history of donating his wealth to charitable causes.
From the contributions he has made to the arts, medical research and education while he worked at Bloomberg L.P. through to his position as a board member of a number of charities, his charitable work has encompassed a broad range of initiatives aimed at tackling a wide number of issues.
Among the charitable efforts of Bloomberg Philanthropies, environmental initiatives to combat climate change and encourage the use of clean energy sources have included a 2011 campaign with Sierra Club to shut down coal-fired plants and a campaign to curb carbon emissions in leading cities around the globe.
Public health initiatives have included campaigns to eradicate polio and reduce tobacco use using the MPOWER tobacco control strategy. The year 2013 saw Bloomberg Philanthropies donate US$100 million towards the eradication of polio worldwide in conjunction with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, while the year 2012 saw the foundation donate US$220 million to combat tobacco use in low and middle-income countries around the world over a four-year period.
Arts initiatives of the foundation have included a Bloomberg Philanthropies grant of US$15 million in 2013 to develop mobile applications for visitors. The grant was spread across five leading art institutions – the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim Museum and the New York Botanical Garden.
Through his quality of life-boosting initiatives, Bloomberg has made an enormous contribution to the public good as a benefactor. He will undoubtedly go down in history as one of the 20th century’s greatest philanthropists alongside other big names like Ford and Rockefeller.