Michael Bloomberg Believes Philanthropy Should “Embolden Government”

Michael Bloomberg, widely recognized philanthropist and former New York mayor, believes that modern philanthropists should work with governments to encourage them to experiment and take risks they couldn’t or wouldn’t take on their own.

Bloomberg writes “Some still see philanthropy as an alternative to government. I see it as a way to embolden government.”

Bloomberg was the mayor of New York City for 12 years, an experience that gave him “a special appreciation for government’s ability to be a force for good and a catalyst for global change.”

Bloomberg’s biggest philanthropic achievement has been the founding of his own organization, Bloomberg Philanthropies.

Bloomberg Philanthropies, which only has 40 employees, spent $462 million in 2014, up from $452 in 2013. Given the rate that this number is increasing, it is reasonable to expect this number to hit $500 million in 2015. Bloomberg Philanthropies divides its spending among six areas: government innovation, public health, education, arts, founder’s projects and environment. The programs of Bloomberg Philanthropies include work on tobacco, climate change, obesity, and government innovation. Bloomberg Philanthropies also has a partnership with Sierra Club, Beyond Coal.

According to Bloomberg “philanthropy can help bridge the gap between ambition and implementation. A year ago, we formed Bloomberg Associates, which is essentially a free consulting firm available to cities, empowering individuals and communities to take charge of their futures has always been a focus of philanthropy, and we can be much more successful when that work is aligned with the goals of governments.”

Following Bloomberg’s comments, CEO of Bloomberg Philanthropies Patricia E. Harris writes that “by staying lean, our talented team of experts and staff can act quickly and boldly to tackle emerging issues.

Bloomberg Philanthropies has helped many people, and we hope that their success will continue to flourish in years to come.

What do you think about Michael Bloomberg’s philosophy about philanthropy?