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Annual Report / Education

Annual Report 2021: Education

Supporting Student Success

By putting students’ needs first and broadening educational opportunities for young people, whether through a college degree or career and technical training, Bloomberg Philanthropies focuses on giving more students a chance to pursue their dreams. The COVID-19 pandemic has made this work more urgent and important than ever: The virus has not only disrupted students’ school years, it has also cut off access to resources that help students, particularly those from lower-income families, stay on track.

Putting Students First and Expanding Access to High-Quality Charter Schools

K-12 Education

Mike Bloomberg has a long history of supporting K-12 education reform throughout the United States. He personally backs pro-reform public officials who are working to enact meaningful policy changes that ensure accountability and high standards in schools. These efforts build on his administration’s success in New York City, where Mike focused on improving access to high-quality education for all students – including overseeing a major expansion of the city’s charter schools. That helped drive graduation rates to all-time highs and cut the racial achievement gap in half.

Bloomberg Philanthropies‘ investment will expand access to high-quality charter schools for students in New York City and metro areas across the United States.

In December 2021, Bloomberg Philanthropies expanded efforts to improve K-12 education by launching a historic $750 million initiative to support high-performing public charter schools and expand access to them in 20 U.S. metro areas, including New York City. The initiative aims to address a broken public education system that is failing too many students and has only been made worse by the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. To reduce student achievement gaps, the initiative will invest in public charter schools whose student populations have been deeply impacted by the pandemic and where, on average, more than 80 percent of students receive free and reduced-price lunch and more than 90 percent are children of color.


See how we are building a stronger and more modern model of public education

Over five years, the effort will help create at least 150,000 new seats in high-quality public charter schools in 10 states. This work is also funding a new Success Academy campus in the South Bronx, New York City, that will serve 2,400 K-12 students. Launched during the Bloomberg administration, Success Academy is New York State’s top-performing school network for student achievement, even as students’ average family income is less than one-fifth that of the state’s highest-performing school district. Through the initiative, Bloomberg Philanthropies is also launching a partnership with the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) to expand access to charter schools in the southeastern United States and build a strong talent pipeline by recruiting more students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities to become teachers and principals.

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We need a new, stronger model of public education that is based on evidence, centered on children, and built around achievement, excellence, and accountability for all. The future of America’s most vulnerable children – and of our country – is riding on whether we can deliver it.

– Mike Bloomberg, in an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal announcing the new initiative to expand access to charter schools

Connecting High-Achieving Students to College and Increasing Diversity at Top Schools


Launched in 2014, the CollegePoint program provides free virtual college advising to help high school students apply to and enroll in top colleges and universities and successfully transition from high school to college.

The program works with talented, high-achieving students from low- and middle-income families, many of whom do not have the information or resources to navigate the complex college application and financial aid processes and connect with the leading schools they are qualified to attend. Initial data has shown that CollegePoint especially benefits first-generation college students. To date, the program has provided college advising online and over the phone to more than 61,000 students.

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American Talent Initiative

A Bloomberg Philanthropies-supported collaboration between the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program and Ithaka S+R, the American Talent Initiative is a coalition of top colleges and universities working to recruit, enroll, and graduate 50,000 more talented students from lower-income families by 2025. While the effort made strong initial progress, COVID-19 created major challenges for many member schools and resulted in enrollment declines among these students across the country – leading the initiative to launch a recommitment campaign to set ambitious goals and reverse the recent decline.

To date, 128 colleges and universities, including state flagship universities, small liberal arts colleges, and the entire Ivy League, have recommitted to enrolling more high-achieving, lower-income students through the American Talent Initiative. Their work is especially critical as the academic and economic impacts of the pandemic threaten to put college out of reach for even more talented young Americans.

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College Spotlight

Claremont McKenna College

Claremont McKenna College

Credit: Jim Brown Photography/Shutterstock

Increased the share of Pell-eligible students enrolled from 12 to 19 percent between 2015 and 2019, and continued to grow Pell enrollment despite the pandemic’s challenges.

Susquehanna University

Susquehanna University

Increased Pell enrollment between 2019 and 2020, despite overall enrollment challenges due to COVID-19, and maintained share of Pell students above 25 percent since 2015, above-average compared to similar schools.

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Credit: Nagel Photography/Shutterstock

Increased the share of Pell students enrolled from 21 to 25 percent between 2015 and 2019 and continued to grow Pell enrollment through 2020.

The Emma Bloomberg Center for Access and Opportunity at Princeton University

The Emma Bloomberg Center brings together Princeton’s leading initiatives to promote access and opportunity for talented students from first-generation, low-income, and underrepresented backgrounds. The center serves as a hub for research and innovation in the field of college access and success and will inform and strengthen similar efforts at colleges and universities across the country. Emma Bloomberg, a member of the Princeton Class of 2001 and a Bloomberg Philanthropies board member, has focused her career on expanding access to high-quality education. Princeton is a founding member of the American Talent Initiative and President Christopher Eisgruber is a member of its steering committee.

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A Princeton University student studies in the Firestone Library on campus. The Emma Bloomberg Center for Access and Opportunity advances the university’s commitment to college access and success.
A Princeton University student studies in the Firestone Library on campus. The Emma Bloomberg Center for Access and Opportunity advances the university’s commitment to college access and success. Credit: Denise Applewhite/Princeton University

The Georgina and Charlotte Bloomberg Public Service Fellows Program at NYU

The Georgina and Charlotte Bloomberg Fellows Program at New York University’s Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service provides need-based scholarships, wrap-around support, and paid internships for students interested in public service to complete master’s degrees. The support ensures that economic barriers do not prevent deserving students from receiving the education and guidance needed to become part of the next generation of diverse public service leaders. Georgina Bloomberg, a Bloomberg Philanthropies board member, and Charlotte Bloomberg both earned degrees from NYU – Georgina from the Gallatin School of Individualized Study in 2010 and Charlotte from the School of Commerce, Accounts, and Finance (now the Stern School of Business) in 1929.

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The inaugural class of the Georgina and Charlotte Bloomberg Public Service Fellows Program gathers in New York City
The inaugural class of the Georgina and Charlotte Bloomberg Public Service Fellows Program gathers in New York City

Need-Blind Admissions at Johns Hopkins University

Bloomberg Philanthropies’ historic $1.8 billion gift in 2018 made Johns Hopkins need-blind and it deepened Mike’s longstanding commitment to scholarship funding through the Bloomberg Scholars Program and beyond. Over the past two decades, with Mike’s support, the share of students in the freshman class from underrepresented minorities has increased from fewer than seven percent to nearly 36 percent in the Class of 2025 – the most diverse class ever. First-generation college students make up nearly 18 percent of the freshman class.

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Building 21st-Century Job Skills

Career and Technical Education

Bloomberg Philanthropies invests across the United States to improve skills- and jobs-based training in high schools, with the goal to provide greater economic mobility and strong middle-class career opportunities for students not heading to four-year colleges after high school. The initiative supports innovative work-based programs, which embed high schoolers within the workplace and offer paid work experience in industries with strong demand, and school-based career programs, which provide students with career and technical education courses, industry credentials, and some work experience within their school curriculum.

Since 2016, the initiative has supported 13 early-stage programs that have provided more than 15,000 students with skills and credentials to help them access middle- and high-skilled 21st-century jobs. In 2021, the effort expanded to nine U.S. cities and two states across the country. Backed by strong local leadership and partnerships among local industries, schools, and post- secondary institutions, these models allow other cities to learn from and adopt what works.

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Project Spotlight


Supporting the expansion of a career pathways program that will help 80 percent of the state’s public high school students to gain work-based learning experiences, industry credentials, and early college credits related to in-demand careers.

Students in Delaware participate in the state‘s expanded career pathways program, including programs in health care and early childhood education.

Washington, D.C

Helping to launch CareerWise DC, an expansion of the successful apprenticeship program CareerWise Colorado that Bloomberg Philanthropies has supported since its inception.

Top photo: Bloomberg Philanthropies is supporting the expansion of Delaware‘s career and technical education program to provide high school students with training in high-demand fields like early childhood education.