Global Health Checkup: A New Era for Tobacco Control in Mexico

By Dr. Kelly Henning, Bloomberg Philanthropies Public Health program lead

In 2008, Mexico City became the largest city in the world to adopt a 100% smoke-free law, setting a tremendous global precedent for tobacco control policies. In 2011, with support from our partners, the federal government increased tobacco taxes to further protect the city’s most vulnerable communities.

However, progress since then has slowed down, in part, because of political barriers.  Over 51,000 people die each year in Mexico from tobacco related illnesses. Approximately 15 million adults still smoke tobacco, including 27% of men. Nearly 700,000 adolescents (age 12-17) smoke as well, comprising 5% of the smoking population.

Follow the Data Podcast: Census Series — The Bureau

Follow the Data’s Census Series has covered the “Who, What, When, Where, Why” and featured a case study on how one city, Detroit, Michigan, is preparing for the 2020 census.

In the final episode of the series we learn more about the federal agency that manages the decennial census, among other things. Terri Ann Lowenthal, former staff director for the House of Representatives Census Oversight Subcommittee, speaks to Bloomberg Associates’ Municipal Integrity Principal, Rose Gill Hearn, about how the Census Bureau has evolved to prepare for the first “digital count,” about the agency’s commitment to confidentiality and the efforts made to achieve full census participation.

Follow the Data Podcast: The 9/11 Memorial Glade: A Tribute to Strength

In the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, support flooded in from across the country to drive the recovery effort in New York, and beyond. Since then, hundreds of thousands of first responders, recovery workers, and community members have gotten sick and many have passed away from exposure to toxins at the recovery site.

18 years after the attacks, communities are still feeling the effects. To recognize the sacrifice, loss and continuing effort of those who responded to rebuild the community, the 9/11 Memorial and Museum created a physical space on the memorial site, called the Memorial Glade.

On the heels of the 18th anniversary of 9/11, we feature a conversation between Anita Contini of the Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Arts program and Alice Greenwald, National September 11th Memorial and Museum President and CEO. They discuss how the Glade came to be, it’s thoughtful design, and how the space will tell its story for years to come.

Follow the Data Podcast: My Brother’s Keeper: Impact in Houston, Texas

In today’s episode, we revisit a conversation about tackling persistent problems facing boys and young men of color.

Bloomberg Associates – the international, philanthropic consulting arm of Bloomberg Philanthropies tailored for city government—works with the city of Houston, Texas on My Brother’s Keeper (MBK) initiatives. MBK aims to address opportunity gaps for boys and young men of color, offering new support from cradle to career through young adulthood.

Last fall, Niiobli Armah IV of Bloomberg Associates’ Social Services team spoke to both the Mayor of Houston, Sylvester Turner and Asa Singleton, an MBK program participant. The Mayor discussed inter-departmental collaboration, his personal experience with the MBK program, and long-term impact. Asa describes how he got involved with MBK, advice for others, and the opportunities he hopes to explore in the future.

Explainer: What is prototyping?

Whether it’s the car you drive or the smartphone in your pocket, most of the products and services you use today went through many rounds of prototyping, testing, and iterative development before they made it to market.

And while that’s not always been true for the things local governments produce, that’s beginning to change.

Follow the Data Podcast: An American Problem with an American Solution

To support efforts to educate policy makers, the public, and media about the consequences of gun violence — and to promote efforts to keep guns out of the hands of people with dangerous histories — New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino founded Mayors Against Illegal Guns in 2006. The original coalition of 15 mayors quickly grew to 855 mayors by 2014.

That same year, in an effort to combat the National Rifle Association (NRA), Mayors Against Illegal Guns and Moms Demand Action — a grassroots network of moms with chapters in all 50 states — joined forces to create Everytown for Gun Safety. Today, Everytown has more than 5 million supporters across America.

Follow the Data Podcast: Everybody eats – obesity prevention in three nations

Nearly every nation is experiencing rising rates of overweight and obesity and no country has successfully reversed these trends.  This poses a serious threat to people’s health and wellbeing; the significant healthcare costs associated with treating obesity and related conditions, such as diabetes heart disease and certain cancers, have the potential to undermine economic development across the globe.

A major cause of the obesity epidemic is easy access to unhealthy, ultra-processed foods and beverages that are inexpensive and marketed heavily—especially to children. We need leaders who can stand up to the food and beverage industry and fight for communities where healthy foods are the norm, not the exception.

Dr. Neena Prasad of Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Public Health team spoke with three public health experts who are doing just that: Paula Johns, Director of ACT Health Promotion in Brazil; Professor Karen Hofman, Director of Priceless South Africa; and Deborah Chen, Executive Director of the Heart Foundation of Jamaica. They describe the food environments in their countries and highlight some of the successes and challenges of their work.

What every data-driven mayor needs

By Beth Blauer, Executive Director, Johns Hopkins University Centers for Civic Impact

On a visit to Louisville a couple of years ago, I overheard a very brief conversation between Mayor Greg Fischer and a city employee. It’s left a big imprint on the work I do helping city governments bring data into their decision-making processes.

Follow the Data Podcast: Times Square – The World’s Plaza

This spring, officials celebrated the 10-year anniversary of the Broadway pedestrian plaza in Times Square. Before 2009, Times Square was mainly reserved for cars — offering little to no pedestrian space. The streets and sidewalks were infamous for being cluttered and congested by traffic.

Today, Broadway through Times Square is a lively pedestrianized plaza, with space for people to walk, sit, eat and soak in the city. Our guests today, Janette Sadik-Khan and Andy Wiley-Schwartz have special insight into the transformation of the iconic street into a plaza.

Formerly the Commissioner of New York City’s Department of Transportation under Mayor Mike Bloomberg, Janette now leads the transportation team at Bloomberg Associates. Andy served as Assistant Commissioner for Public Space in New York, joining the Bloomberg Associates team after leaving city hall. They take their expertise from working in New York to other cities, like Milan, Bogotá, Athens and Detroit.

Expanding tobacco control measures to reach 5 billion people

By Dr. Kelly Henning, Bloomberg Philanthropies Public Health team program lead

Michael R. Bloomberg has long been focused on improving public health — during his time as New York City Mayor, in his work through his foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, and now in his role as the World Health Organization Global Ambassador for Noncommunicable Diseases. Bloomberg Philanthropies has committed nearly $1 billion since 2007 to combat tobacco use worldwide. The Bloomberg Initiative to Reduce Tobacco Use partners with low- and middle-income countries to reduce tobacco use through a comprehensive, proven approach that combines evidence-based policy change with increased public awareness.

Follow the Data Podcast: Mike Bloomberg 2019 NAACP Convention Remarks

The mission of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate race-based discrimination. The 110th Annual Convention brought together over 10,000 people and under the theme, “When We Fight, We Win,” the group set policy priorities for the coming year.

Mike Bloomberg delivered the keynote address at this year’s convention, on the importance of education. He highlighted the need to prioritize education as a path to equality and equity, supporting parent’s involvement in schooling and underscored that education is the key to tackling our biggest challenges.

Monitoring and Combating Air Pollution in Paris

By Antha Williams, Head of Environmental Programs at Bloomberg Philanthropies

As urban populations around the world continue to grow, the impacts of air pollution on our health are becoming more and more clear. Cities are now home to the majority of the planet’s residents and responsible for 70% of carbon emissions, and the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 91% of city residents around the world breathe air that exceeds the safety limits for pollution.

American Cities Drive Fleet Electrification Efforts Across United States

By Electrification Coalition

In recent years, the transportation sector has become the leading source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the U.S., accounting for approximately 29 percent of total annual emissions. [1]  Additionally, the transportation system is a major contributor to increased air pollution that negatively impacts our health – and, with the volitale nature of our oil markets, oil’s monopoly on our transportation sector also threatens our economy. The problem is clear: a gas-guzzling transportation sector presents risks to our economy, public health, and environment.

Follow the Data Podcast: Census Series – The City of Detroit

The first episode of our census series was dedicated to the basics: who gets counted, what the survey is, when it takes place, why it matters, and how cities are preparing for the census.

To get a sense of specific preparation plans, we visited a Bloomberg Associates’ client city, Detroit, Michigan. The Mayor of Detroit, Mike Duggan, spoke to Bloomberg Associates Municipal Integrity Principal, Rose Gill Hearn, about his experience with the count, challenges that are specific to Detroit, the extensive efforts Detroit is making to prepare for the count and how he defines success.

Follow the Data Podcast: Census Series – The Who, What, When, Where, Why

In order to be managed, data needs to be collected. One of the largest data collection efforts in the United States is fast approaching; cities and states are gearing up for the 2020 census.

Bloomberg Associates, a philanthropic consultancy that works with cities across the world, is advising Detroit and Atlanta to prepare for the decennial survey.

Jaime Lavin of Bloomberg Associates municipal integrity team spoke to our podcast host, Katherine Oliver, about the history of the census, how to prepare, and potential challenges in the 2020 count.

Follow the Data Podcast: Global Health Check-Up with Dr. Kelly Henning

Tobacco is a deadly killer, claiming over seven million lives every year, with most of the deaths occurring in low- and middle-income countries. Mike Bloomberg has been committed to tobacco control since first entering office as New York City Mayor, and Bloomberg Philanthropies has invested one billion dollars to help implement tobacco control measures.

Dr. Kelly Henning leads Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Public Health programs. She’s been on the road, visiting countries across the world, as part of a “global health check-up.” She spoke to the foundation’s operations lead, Allison Jaffin, about the progress countries are making, sharing lessons learned and stories from the road.

The Power of Partnerships: Lessons Learned in Recovery and Rebuilding

By Megan Sheekey, Bloomberg Associates

At the recent Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Action Network meeting on Post-Disaster Recovery, Bloomberg Philanthropies released a report on key lessons learned in the recovery and rebuilding efforts after Hurricanes Irma and Maria devastated the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The report illustrates how successful recovery requires more than just money — it is about leveraging expertise, setting a bold vision, focusing on both immediate and longer-term needs, and working with strategic partners to ensure that resources are deployed quickly and wisely. Click here to view the full report.

Follow the Data Podcast: Mike Bloomberg Delivers Commencement Address at MIT

In his final commencement of 2019, Mike Bloomberg addressed the graduating class of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

He highlighted the need for ambitious leadership, especially in the fight to combat climate change. In his speech, Mike announced a new $500 million investment, called Beyond Carbon, to put the U.S. on track towards a 100% clean energy economy.

The investment is the largest ever philanthropic effort to fight the climate crisis. To learn more about Beyond Carbon, visit

Skills for the Future Workforce

As the internship and summer job season begins, many students have been thinking about the best choice to enhance their resumes, gain experience and build meaningful relationships with professionals. The conversation in education and professional circles often becomes an either or scenario between the science and the arts – the corporate or the creative road. The truth is, it does not need to be so stark a choice.

Alaska’s Search for Solutions to a Rapidly Changing Reality

By Mayor Ethan Berkowitz, Anchorage, AK

It seems as if almost every day a new study is published about the long-term effects of climate change. Here in Anchorage, Alaska, we are sourcing creative solutions to the immediate threat climate change poses to our city’s infrastructure, economy and lives. Beyond threats to our infrastructure, climate change also has brought higher temperatures to Anchorage and, as a result, we’ve seen more parasites, more lightning strikes and a longer fire season, all of which threatens public health and the well-being of our city’s residents.

Follow the Data Podcast: Mike Bloomberg Class Day Remarks at Harvard Business School

Mike Bloomberg spoke to the 2019 graduating class of Harvard Business School. As an alumnus, he spoke with special fondness about growing up in nearby Medford, MA, his early career, and what he’s learned since then.

Follow the Data Podcast: Mike Bloomberg Commencement Address at University of Maryland

The celebration of graduates across the world serve as a reminder never to doubt that young people have the power to change the world. Mike Bloomberg spoke to the graduating class of 2019 at the University of Maryland. He remarked how in order to meet the challenges of our time, we must be willing to take risks in defiance of long odds. Additionally, he announced a $2.3 million dollar commitment to support research illustrating U.S. progress towards Paris Agreement goals.

Follow the Data Podcast: Mike Bloomberg Commencement Address at Washington University in St. Louis

This spring, graduates all over the world are celebrating their academic achievements. Mike Bloomberg spoke to the graduating class of 2019 at Washington University in St. Louis. In his commencement address, he remarked on the importance of taking pains to bring truth to light – by reclaiming civic dialogue from those who are debasing and degrading it.

Follow the Data Podcast: The Innovative Mayor, Naheed Nenshi

In this episode of Follow the Data, Mayor Nenshi and James discuss how his experience as a professor and business consultant have informed his approach to the job of being mayor, the “simple social movement” happening in Calgary that’s improving the city’s schools and neighborhoods, and why it’s important for political leaders to talk about pluralism. Additionally, they discuss Calgary’s participation in the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative and the “life-changing career moments” it’s created for a number of Calgary’s civil servants.

Follow the Data Podcast: Night of Solidarity – Special Episode in French

The city of Paris conducted its second annual homelessness count in February 2019. Approximately 2,000 people responded to the call for volunteers to conduct the surveys, which take place on the streets of Paris over the course of one night. The city had more volunteers than positions to fill on the count, so the city capitalized by coordinating with shelters with community associations to put volunteers to work.

Bloomberg Associates is a philanthropic consultancy that works with cities across the world, and has enjoyed a fruitful engagement with the city of Paris. Bloomberg Associates has worked with Mexico City, Bogotá and Athens to employ best practices to develop their own homeless population counts.

After New York City’s New Congestion Pricing Plan, Will Other U.S. Cities Follow Suit?

By Antha N. Williams of the Bloomberg Philanthropies Environment team

New York City has sparked debate across the country over its decision to use congestion pricing to accelerate and help fund the adoption of low-carbon transportation. Now, several other cities in the U.S., including DC, Honolulu, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland, and Seattle, are starting to explore the potential for this bold action to advance their own climate and livability efforts.

From Plans to Progress: Catalyzing Climate Action through the American Cities Climate Challenge

By Kelly Shultz and Anne Emig of the Bloomberg Philanthropies Environment and Government Innovation teams

Last week, the Bloomberg American Cities Climate Challenge brought together more than 100 of the country’s foremost city sustainability leaders for a three-day convening in Austin. Participants represented a robust network of world-class partners, dedicated city officials, and leading policy experts who all share one common goal: fight climate change on a local level to create healthier, more resilient, and more sustainable communities for city residents.

Art Leaders Impacting Local Communities: Spotlight on Zenetta Drew

Local cultural institutions are critical for the arts to thrive. These organizations help develop and showcase artistic talent, provide communities with a forum to experience the arts and also contribute to a city’s economy and identity. That is why Bloomberg Philanthropies has supported more than 500 small and medium-sized organizations through our Arts Innovation and Management Program (AIM). In this interview, Ethan Joseph of the Bloomberg Philanthropies Arts team talks with Zenetta Drew, Executive Director of the Dallas Black Dance Theatre and former participant of the AIM program, about what the theatre has meant to the Dallas community. The following is a lightly edited excerpt of the conversation.

Follow the Data Podcast: Greenwood Art Project Builds on History of Black Wall Street in Tulsa, OK

In part two of a two part episode, Hannibal Johnson and Rick Lowe, discuss the future of Tulsa, Oklahoma in historical context, along with the potential impact of the Greenwood Art Project.

Tulsa is the winner of Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Public Art Challenge. The Greenwood Art Project commemorates the 100th anniversary of the destruction of a thriving black community in Tulsa known as Black Wall Street. The project celebrates the resilience and recovery of the community.

Can Mayors Save the Philippines’ Coasts?

Del Carmen Mayor Coro II is a coastal mayor whose life and constituency are anchored to the sea and Rocky Sanchez Tirona spearheads Rare’s initiative to revitalize the Philippines’ marine life and the dependent coastal communities. Can their common agenda inspire all 900+ of the Philippines’ coastal mayors to commit to protecting the people and their precious resources—before it’s too late?