Amount donated: $4.3bn
Philanthropic Causes: The environment, public health, education, arts and culture, and government innovation
Region of philanthropic focus: US, Mexico, Africa
Ranking: Bloomberg Philanthropies is ranked 10th in the Foundation Center’s Top 100 U.S. Foundations by Asset Size 2016, and 43rd on the Top 100 U.S. Foundations by Total Giving
Net Worth: Forbes put his net worth at £$40bn in 2016
Source of wealth: Financial software, data, analytics and media
Michael ‘Mike’ Bloomberg has donated $4.3bn to a variety of organisations and causes, including $510mn through his foundation Bloomberg Philanthropies in 2015 alone. Making his fortune from data company Bloomberg L.P., the former Mayor of New York City also uses a data-driven approach to giving through his foundation. It is the 10th largest in the U.S. by asset size in the Foundation Center’s 2016 Top 100.
The self-made billionaire was born into a middle class family in Massachusetts in 1942. The values his parents taught him laid the foundation for his passion for philanthropy. Now a father of two grown-up daughters, Emma and Georgina, giving remains a family affair for Bloomberg. When taking The Giving Pledge – to dedicate the majority of his wealth to philanthropy – he wrote: “For decades, I’ve been committed to giving away the vast majority of my wealth to causes that I’m passionate about – and that my children are passionate about”.
Bloomberg attended Johns Hopkins University, to which he made his first charitable donation after he graduated; $5 to the alumni association. It was the most he could afford at the time, and he has continued to support his alma mater with more than $1bn worth of contributions. His donations to the university’s public health facility (the largest in the U.S.) have resulted in its being named the Bloomberg School of Public Health. His $120mn donation led to the opening in 2012 of the Charlotte R. Bloomberg Children’s Center in the
Johns Hopkins Hospital building, named in honour of his late mother. This is one of Bloomberg Philanthropies Founder’s Projects, the other being Women’s Economic Development in Sub-Saharan Africa.
After studying an MBA at Harvard Business School, Bloomberg started an entry-level job at Wall Street firm Salomon Brothers in 1966. He launched a small information technology start-up with his severance package when he was let go from Salomon after it was acquired in 1981. That one-room office grew into Bloomberg L.P., with nearly 200 offices in 73 countries and more than 15,500 employees. It is from this company, which delivers data, analytics and news through innovative technology, that Bloomberg now has a net worth of $40bn, placing him eighth on Forbes’ The World’s Billionaires 2016 list. Not restricted to running a multi-billion dollar company, Bloomberg also took his leadership skills into politics.
During his tenure as Mayor of New York City from 2001 to 2013, Bloomberg made reforms in the public school system that increased graduation rates by more than 40%, cut NYC’s carbon footprint by 19%, helped bring more than 100 public art commissions to the city, and created new national models like the smoking ban in bars, restaurants and indoor workplaces. This focus on education, the environment, government innovation, the arts and public health is mirrored in the five key areas of his philanthropic work, to which he has devoted more of his time since leaving City Hall after three terms as Mayor.
He set up his foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies in 2006 to cover all of his charitable activities both personally and through the Bloomberg Family Foundation. It works on key initiatives with existing partners, and has a six-point approach that includes leading from the front, spreading effective solutions, using data, encouraging advocacy, fostering public-private partnerships and leveraging the power of cities.
Bloomberg’s younger sister, Marjorie B. Tiven is involved with Bloomberg Philanthropies as founder of its program Global Cities, Inc. The program works with cities across the world in cross-national educational programs to promote global awareness. Bloomberg himself leads several bi-partisan coalitions. From 2010 to 2013 he was chair of the C40 Climate Leadership Group, and in 2014
he was appointed the U.N. Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change.
The more money Bloomberg makes, the more he will donate: “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”. Through his foundation he continues to strive to meet its aims: “to deliver real, meaningful, and lasting change around the world [and] to create better, longer lives for the greatest number of people”.