Annual Report / The Greenwood Initiative
Annual Report 2021: The Greenwood Initiative
Accelerating the Pace of Black Wealth Accumulation
The Greenwood Initiative aims to accelerate the pace of wealth accumulation for Black individuals and families and address systemic underinvestment in Black communities. In 2018, Mike Bloomberg traveled to Tulsa, Oklahoma, to announce that the city had won Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Public Art Challenge. The winning proposal honored the neighborhood of Greenwood, once known as Black Wall Street and the site of one of America’s worst tragedies: the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre. Mike returned to Tulsa in 2020 to outline his vision for the Greenwood Initiative, which Bloomberg Philanthropies officially launched later that year.
Stories of Impact
Volunteer, Charles R. Drew Mobile Vaccine Outreach Program
Investing in the Future of Black Doctors
Debt Reduction at Historically Black Medical Schools
To increase the number of Black doctors – and at the same time underscore the connection between Black health and wealth – the Greenwood Initiative’s first major investment was a historic $100 million gift to America’s four historically Black medical schools in 2020. Funding enables the four schools – Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science in Los Angeles, California; Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee; Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia; and Howard University College of Medicine in Washington, D.C. – to provide debt relief of up to $100,000 to more than 950 students enrolled and receiving financial aid. More than 200 students participating in the program have now graduated and begun their medical careers.
Reducing student debt for future Black doctors can help address racial health disparities and increase the number of Black doctors serving communities across the country. Data shows that while 13 percent of the U.S. population is Black, only five percent of doctors are Black. Research also shows that Black patients are 34 percent more likely to receive preventive care when they are seen by Black doctors.
In 2021, Mike gave the commencement address at Howard University College of Medicine. He spoke of the long, lingering legacy of racial discrimination in America and the urgent need to confront it with investments to close the racial gaps in health and wealth.
The money you donated will allow students who may have been overlooked a chance to achieve a goal they set a long time ago. And I think that’s priceless.
– Dr. Justin Morales, President of the Class of 2021, thanking Mike Bloomberg while addressing his fellow graduates at Howard University College of Medicine
Ensuring Equitable Access to Vaccines
Mobile Vaccine Outreach by Historically Black Medical Schools
Bloomberg Philanthropies deepened its partnership with the four historically Black medical schools by providing support to create or expand mobile units tasked with vaccinating more residents against COVID-19. The schools’ mobile units work with trusted partners, such as churches and senior centers, to expand vaccine access within their local communities and significantly increase their vaccination rates. This effort has administered more than 67,000 vaccine shots since April 2021.
Diversifying STEM Fields
Vivien Thomas Scholars Initiative
In 2021, Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg Philanthropies announced the launch of the Vivien Thomas Scholars Initiative. An investment by the Greenwood Initiative, it endows $150 million to address historic underrepresentation in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields.
Vivien Thomas was a heart surgery pioneer at The Johns Hopkins Hospital, and yet, for decades, racial discrimination prevented his extraordinary contributions to medicine from being recognized. The initiative named in his honor will provide permanent funding to add a sustained cohort of approximately 100 new slots for PhD students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Minority Serving Institutions to pursue their degrees across Johns Hopkins’ 33 STEM programs. These students will receive six years of full tuition support and other benefits.
The initiative also includes new and expanded research-intensive summer programs at Johns Hopkins and supports expanded programming at Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Minority Serving Institutions to attract and prepare students for STEM graduate training and careers. By expanding STEM opportunities, the initiative will address inequities and diversify a wide range of industries with the potential to pioneer significant advances in the years to come.
We have to capture talent, human talent, in all of its dimensions, in all of its lived experiences, if we’re going to have the best science.
– Damani Piggott, MD, PhD, Associate Vice Provost for Graduate Diversity and Partnerships at Johns Hopkins