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?

Organizations Resources

Philanthropic Foundations to Watch in 2014

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Bill Gates and Melinda Gates on stage at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Annual Employee Meeting.
IMG: via Facebook

The Chronicle of Philanthropy recently released its “Foundations to Watch in 2014” roundup, an annual summary of the most prominent philanthropic foundations that are likely to lead the pack over the next twelve months. The summary is filled with philanthropic heavyweights, but also notes some changes in leadership at the foremost foundations, and includes one foundation that is working to boost its philanthropic efforts.

At the top of the list is the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which comes as little surprise. The Gates Foundation recently hired a new chief executive, Susan Desmond-Hellmann, who is reportedly the first leader within the foundation to have not come from Microsoft. Bill and Melinda, an unequivocal philanthropic power couple, will continue to raise the bar for charitable giving in 2014.

Right behind them on the list of foundations to watch is the Ford Foundation, which also hired a new chief executive – Darren Walker. Many predict that Walker will advance the Ford Foundation’s work in economic justice and human rights. Ranked next is another familiar foundation, the Bloomberg Family Foundation, which is currently facing extra scrutiny as Michael Bloomberg retires from his position as mayor of New York. With the help of Patricia Harris, who served as his deputy mayor and is now the foundation’s leader, the two will work in tandem to increase and focus philanthropic efforts, with particular attention paid public health issues.

Also on the list are the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, the Barr Foundation, and the James Irvine Foundation. The efforts of these foundations will support a range of causes, including the arts, education, environmental issues, and advancing youth through STEM fields. Rounding out the summary is the Schultz Family Foundation, created by Starbucks founder Howard Schultz and his wife Sheri. Soon to be running their family foundation is Daniel Pitasky, formerly of the Gates Foundation, who will help the couple amplify their charitable efforts. In the past, the Schultz Family Foundation has supported the Robin Hood Foundation, and YouthCare, a Seattle nonprofit that helps homeless youth.

Keep a lookout for the work these foundations will do to advance philanthropic their efforts in 2014.

Profiles Resources

Mark Zuckerberg Made the Largest Donation of 2013

Mark Zuckerberg
Kobby Dagan /

Whatever your opinion might be of Mark Zuckerberg after the release of the Hollywoodized story of Facebook’s birth, there can be no question that he’s put a lot of his wealth into good causes. The founder of the world’s largest social media website and his wife donated 18 million shares of Facebook to charity both 2012 and 2013. In 2012, the shares were worth about $500 million; today they are worth about $992 million.

These donations are perhaps unsurprising, considering that Zuckerberg is a member of the prestigious “Giving Pledge” started by billionaires Warren Buffett and Melinda and Bill Gates in 2010. The pledge asks the world’s billionaires to promise to give away half their wealth or more to charity during their lifetimes or upon their deaths. The pledge has garnered many reputable names, including Richard Branson, Sara Blakely, and Michael Bloomberg. Gates himself plans on giving away a total of about $60 billion.

Zuckerberg isn’t the only billionaire pledging more money to charity these days, either; fourteen other Americans donated gifts of at least $100 million or more in 2013. The year before, eleven total donations of that scale were made.

Last year, Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, were second on the list of largest single charitable gifts. This year, they became the first billionaires under the age of 30 to land the top spot. Here’s the full list of the top ten donations made in 2013, provided by the Chronicle of Philanthropy:

  1. Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan – $992.2 million – Silicon Valley Community Foundation
  2. Phil and Penelope Knight – $500 million (pledge) – Oregon Health & Science University Foundation
  3. Michael Bloomberg – $350 million (pledge) – The Johns Hopkins University
  4. Charles Johnson – $250 million (pledge) – Yale University
  5. Stephen Ross – $200 million (pledge) – University of Michigan
  6. Muriel Block – $160 million (bequest) – Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University
  7. John Arrillaga – $151 million – Stanford University
  8. Irwin and Joan Jacobs – $133 million – The Jacobs Technicon-Cornell Innovation Institute at Cornell NYC Tech
  9. Charles Munger – $100 million (pledge) – University of Michigan
  10. David Koch – $100 million (pledge) – New York Presbyterian Hospital
Organizations Resources

Queens’ Kings of Philanthropy and Business

Steve Lacey
Anchor at Fox 5 News, Steve Lacey will host the event.
IMG via Media Bistro

Queens, New York is home to many “kings.” To be more precise, this flourishing borough has many successful business owners who not only conduct lucrative endeavors, but who make a point to give back to their community. These men will be honored at the Kings of Queens Awards Ceremony, an annual event organized by the Queens Courier and Queens Business, that will recognize the top businessmen of the community.

The “2013 Kings of Queens: A Champion Breakfast Awards and Networking Event” will honor the business leaders of Queens for their “outstanding leadership and contributions to the community,” according to the Queens Courier. The event is predicted to attract 500 of the leading businessmen in the borough, and is designed to be a productive networking opportunity, in conjunction with the awards. The event will also serve as a benefit function, with proceeds from ticket sales and a raffle going towards the Queens Museum Education Program, something all attendees will be pleased to support.

This year’s event will be held at Terrace on the Park and emceed by Steve Lacey, Anchor at Fox 5 News, the Courier reports. Like Kings of Queens Awards of the past, the upcoming ceremony is sure to be one of the most important business networking opportunities of the year, with its inclusion of a business expo in addition to the honors. Some of the honorees of this year’s awards include Mihir B. Patel, President of the Society of Indo-American Engineers and Architects, and Musa Ali Shama, the Principal of Francis Lewis High School in Queens. Another is Joseph Mattone Jr., a partner of the Mattone Group, whose brother Carl Mattone, and their development company were also honored in 2010 and 2012, respectively.

Among the diverse but likeminded honorees of the past are Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who served as keynote speaker and received the “King of Kings” award two years ago. In 2011, the “Queen of Queens” award went to Borough President Helen Marshall.

The 2013 Kings of Queens: A Champion Breakfast Awards and Networking Event will be held on Thursday, September 26th, at 8:00am.

Edit note: A previous version of this article stated that Mayor Bloomberg and Helen Marshall would be receiving awards this year, when in fact they are past recipients. This error was corrected at at 11:22 AM Pacific Time on 9/13/13.

Organizations Profiles

Mayor Bloomberg Performs Final Inner Circle Charity Dinner

Inner Circle Charity Dinner
IMG: James Keivom/New York Daily News

On Saturday, March 23rd, Mayor Michael Bloomberg performed his final rebuttal during the annual Inner Circle charity dinner. The show, which began in 1923, is a yearly roast of City Hall journalists and politicians put on by 100 of the top New York reporters (retired and active). It began as a five-act musical parody, and though these day’s it’s down to two acts, it’s still just as wild.

In a 2005 article, Shelly Strickler described it as “an elaborate musical parody written, produced and performed by members of the media—otherwise serious characters who get to let their hair down just once each year… It is a major charity event and a must-see production for New York’s political players.”

At the end of every show, the Hizzoner—an irreverent translation of the title “His Honor,” given to mayors of large cities and NYC in particular—has his/her say, too, though. The mayor appears, generally in an outlandish costume, and gives a “self-deprecating rebuttal.”

This year was Mayor Bloomberg’s twelfth and final performance in his three-term run as Mayor of New York City. He appeared on stage with four separate Broadway show casts: “Rock of Ages,” “Nice Work If You Can Get It,” “Annie,” and “Phantom of the Opera.” For the show, Bloomberg put aside his suit and tie in favor of various costumes that included jeans, sneakers, a blue zip-up hoodie, an embellished leather jacket, and an electric guitar.

The charity dinner raises money for over one hundred New York City-based charities. This year’s show was titled “Last Gulp” and featured the character Mayor Mike, who time travels through history to meet important figures looking for the right successor for him. Check out some pictures from the NY Daily News here!