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5 End-of-Year Questions for Brynne Craig on Responding to Urgent Needs Head On

Mike Bloomberg has always believed that philanthropy has an important role to play in spurring progress on tough challenges – particularly issues that governments may be unwilling or unable to address, but that cannot be ignored. This requires meeting controversy head on and supporting people and organizations fighting for change. 

To reflect on how Bloomberg Philanthropies successfully stepped up to take on some of the toughest challenges the nation faced this year and how we’ll carve a path forward in 2023, we welcome Brynne Craig, Senior Advisor at Bloomberg Philanthropies who leads Special Projects and New Initiatives. Her work encompasses both political and policy efforts – from developing and managing our partnership with World Central Kitchen feeding frontline workers in the early days of the pandemic, to spearheading Bloomberg’s response to the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. (Bloomberg Philanthropies incorporates all of Mike Bloomberg’s personal giving, including his philanthropic, corporate, and personal philanthropy. Our advocacy and political efforts stem from Mike’s personal giving.)

Center for Reproductive Rights President and CEO Nancy Northrup, Bloomberg Philanthropies CEO Patti Harris, and Brynne Craig.

1. What accomplishments from 2022 are you most proud of?

I continue to be proud of Bloomberg Philanthropies’ ability to respond quickly to key moments that happen globally. We saw this illustrated in the early days of COVID-19 when Bloomberg Philanthropies stepped up to feed frontline workers daily, establish a citywide fund to assist non-profits withstand the immediate impact on their budgets, and set up a network for cities across the United States to come together and learn from each other on their responses.

This year, the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, eliminating the 49-year precedent of a right to choose. Immediately, Mike Bloomberg approved emergency funding to provide grants to organizations focused on litigation, advocacy and ballot initiatives, medication abortion, and contraception.

2. Who or what inspired or influenced your work this past year?

I am continually inspired by people on the frontlines of the greatest fights across this country. It reminds me of the importance of the work we do at Bloomberg Philanthropies and the many ways we are able to support these fights and be in partnership with incredible organizations.

3. What are you looking forward to in 2023?

I am looking forward to us protecting, restoring, and expanding the right to an abortion across the United States.

4. What are some trends or challenges you believe we’ll see in the year ahead?

I think we will continue to see the importance of State Supreme Courts across the country as they stop bad bills from being enacted on important issues such as abortion access, democracy related items, and much more.

5. What is a piece of media or culture you experienced this past year that you would recommend our readers check out in 2023?

I know that “a piece” means one, but I have a number of recommendations. For books, I recommend two works of non-fiction: Finding Me by Viola Davis and Stolen Focus: Why You Can’t Pay Attention – And How to Think Deeply Again by Johann Hari. If podcasts are more your thing, then I would suggest two shows Next Question with Katie Couric featuring new and unique interviews that you would only get from Katie, and It Was Said by Jon Meacham which takes you through generation-defining speeches, sharing the context of the times in which each speech was given and reflecting on why it’s important to never forget them. Of course, I also watch and stream shows, and the ones that got my attention – and maybe yours – include Total Control, Alaska Daily, Surface, and Truth Be Told.