In an effort to improve services and decision-making, Bloomberg Philanthropies’ founder Mike Bloomberg focused on data, especially to make public health improvements during his 12 years as mayor of New York City. At the foundation, we apply the same philosophy on data use to global public health. The Data for Health initiative, led by the public health team at Bloomberg Philanthropies, for example, aims to support interested governments in creating data systems changes that will be lasting, affordable and impactful.
In Vietnam, for example, helmet-wearing increased from 40% to 95% within days of the government passing a requirement for motorcycle users to wear one, says Kelly Henning, director of public health programmes at Bloomberg Philanthropies. The organisation has committed $259m (£200m) to improve road safety.
Launched by the Sierra Club in 2002 and supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies and a host of other grant makers, Beyond Coal brings together local activists to fight pollution from coal-fired power plants in their communities. The campaign aims to close America’s dirtiest coal plants and replace them with cleaner energy through a blend of grass-roots organizing and carefully aimed lawsuits.
A team of art educators sit around a cluster of computers near the museum entrance, ready to answer questions from visitors as soon as they comes through the app. But it’s teaching the museum staff something as well: They’re learning how visitors interact with the collection, and as a result, are providing more information in some places or making changes to displays in other locations. It’s one of 15 art-meets-tech projects funded by Bloomberg Connects, a part of Bloomberg Philanthropies, which aim to better connect visitors with cultural institutions.
Mr. Bloomberg, 74, has adopted a strategy of giving to organizations that seek to bring about change on a local level but serve a broader purpose. He reserves a separate fund for projects that are close to his heart, like the more than $1 billion he has given to his alma mater, Johns Hopkins.
A new mobile app guides visitors on an audiovisual tour of the complex. A second app includes features that allow ticket holders at David Geffen Hall and Alice Tully Hall to check the length of bathroom lines or preorder intermission drinks.
“It unites all the constituents at a very basic transactional level,” said Kate Levin, head of the arts program at Bloomberg Philanthropies, a lead funder of the project, along with the Kovner Foundation.
Many of the lobbying efforts that led to local regulations, including in Jakarta, were substantially financed by the Bloomberg Initiative to Reduce Tobacco Use, the $600 million fund founded by Michael R. Bloomberg, the former New York mayor.
The Bloomberg Initiative has designated Indonesia one of its five priority countries, and has donated more than $10 million since 2007. The initiative is largely focused on establishing local and regional tobacco control laws in a nation with a highly decentralized government structure.
The project is supported by funding from Bloomberg Connects, which has pledged more than $80 million to 15 cultural institutions to improve the visitor experience through technology. Among the other grantees are the Guggenheim Museum, the Museum of Modern Art and the Tate Modern in London.
Research into immunotherapy, which cancer experts are calling the most promising approach in decades, got a boost Tuesday when Michael Bloomberg and other philanthropists announced $125 million in donations to Johns Hopkins University for a new institute focused solely on the therapy and accelerated breakthroughs for patients.
Mr. Bloomberg contributed to hundreds of nonprofits last year. Some of the biggest projects he announced aim to reduce automobile accidents globally, improve health data in developing countries, promote clean energy, and help cities support art projects that deal with civic issues.
Hundreds of Latin American and Caribbean cities are being invited to vie for millions of dollars from former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, as his charity extends an innovation competition to a new region.
World leaders, environment experts and delegates from around the globe are convening in Paris for COP21, the U.N.’s climate summit. Meanwhile, in the center of the city at Place du Panthéon, the public has the chance to encounter Ice Watch, a work by acclaimed artist Olafur Eliasson and scientist Minik Rosing, supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies.
Ice Watch consists of 80 tons of free-floating blocks of ice from Greenland, arranged in a clock formation. Remaining in the public square the ice melts, visually representing the climate change taking place on our planet. In a release about the art work, Eliasson said, “Art has the ability to change our perceptions and perspectives on the world, and Ice Watch makes the climate challenges we are facing tangible.”
Since 2008, Bloomberg Philanthropies has been working to increase women’s economic opportunities in sub-Saharan Africa. With partners such as Women for Women International (WfWI), for example, women in Rwanda and Congo are taught organic farming techniques geared toward commercial production; and food processing, textiles and artisan crafts to bring to local and international markets. As a result, these women — all of whom have survived the hardships due to conflicts and war — are learning life-changing education and technical skills to move from being survivors to active citizens.
The report was funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies, which since 2007 has committed more than $250 million to help low- and middle- income countries adopt effective road safety measures.
“Thanks to stronger laws and smarter infrastructure, nearly half a billion people in the world are better protected from road crashes than were just a few years ago – and we have the opportunity to do much more, especially when it comes to enforcing laws,” Michael R. Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies and three-term former Mayor of New York, said in a statement.
As the tax completes its second year, activists and big soda are now arguing over how much effect it has on the health and habits of Mexicans. A study funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies, and involving top academics from Mexico and the United States, finds there was a dip of 6% in the purchase of taxed sweetened beverages in 2014. This dip increased over the year, leading to 12 percent by December.
Why the United Nations should press for higher taxes on tobacco, by Michael R. Bloomberg and Margaret Chen
For the first time, the global sustainable-development goals being negotiated at the United Nations treat tobacco use — and the chronic diseases it causes — as a development issue. It’s long overdue.
Problem-based procurement is part of a very welcome development: Governments are starting to realize they don’t know everything.
“There has been a very significant shift in the last five or 10 years,” said James Anderson, who heads the public sector innovation program at Bloomberg Philanthropies. “It’s from top down to bottom up, from government goes it alone to government as a platform for lots of people to contribute and solve problems,” he said.
A new website developed by Bloomberg Philanthropies, the King Baudouin Foundation, and the Foundation Center allows nonprofits and donors to track philanthropy’s impact in Central Africa.
The site, called Equal Footing, uses maps that show where grants to support women, their families, and their local communities have been made in Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Rwanda. It includes profiles of more than 1,000 foundations and nonprofits active in the area and includes reports on how various economic-development projects have fared.
Since 2007, Bloomberg Philanthropies has been helping cities and countries adopt effective road-safety measures, such as reducing drunk driving, increasing seatbelt use, investing in public transportation, and making improvements to roads where there are frequent crashes.
By investing in arts-management training for small- and mid-size arts organizations through AIM, Bloomberg Philanthropies is helping to secure the future of these organizations to ensure that they continue to drive economic growth and shape the cultural identity of communities and cities around the country for years to come.
The initiative, called What Works Cities, was announced in April. On Wednesday, Bloomberg Philanthropies announced the first eight recipients: Chattanooga, Tennessee; Jackson, Mississippi; Kansas City, Missouri; Louisville, Kentucky; Mesa, Arizona; New Orleans; Seattle; and Tulsa, Oklahoma.
The cities won’t receive money directly. Instead, the $42 million will be given to five organizations: Results for America; the Center for Government Excellence at Johns Hopkins University; the Government Performance Lab at the Harvard Kennedy School, Sunlight Foundation, and the Behavioral Insights Team.
By James Anderson
We launched What Works Cities to help 100 mid-size U.S. cities get better at using data and evidence to improve results for residents. Over three years, the effort will help mayors adopt best practices as they open up city data, use data to drive better performance, and rely on evidence to make better policy and funding choices.
An impressive 112 cities from 40 states and Washington, D.C. applied during the initial application period — and tomorrow, we’ll announce the first group of cities we’re investing in. Our commitment through it all is to share what we’re learning.
By Antha Williams
With Congress at a stalemate and national politics growing increasingly polarized, the role of philanthropy in combating climate change is more critical than ever.
Nimble where politics is clunky, responsive where government is deadlocked, and targeted where Congress is logrolling, philanthropies are catalyzing lasting, positive change on climate, perhaps the most pressing social, environmental, and economic policy challenge of our time.
And here, too, we’re seeing that, as a result of pressure from several sources—government, cheap natural gas, campaigns like the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal initiative, which Michael Bloomberg’s nonprofit is backing to the tune of $80 million—companies are making important decisions about future coal use.
Cornell Tech, the applied sciences graduate school of Cornell University, is expected to announce a $100 million gift from Bloomberg Philanthropies on Tuesday to construct the first academic building on the school’s Roosevelt Island campus.
That building will be called the Bloomberg Center, solidifying Cornell’s ties to former Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. Cornell Tech won a $400 million competition three and a half years ago to build an applied sciences campus on the island, in New York City, an initiative created by the Bloomberg administration.
Seeing the future does not require a crystal ball — just an understanding of cities.
The world is moving from agrarian to urban at a startling pace. In 1900, two out of 10 of the world’s population lived in urban areas. As of 1990, it was less than four in 10. Today, it is more than half and by 2050 two of every three people will live in urban areas. This trend is creating enormous challenges for local and national governments, but also unprecedented opportunities for societal progress. How well cities meet those challenges, and capitalise on the opportunities, will have profound consequences.
The U.S. had 523 coal-fired power plants when Beyond Coal began targeting them; just last week, it celebrated the 190th retirement of its campaign in Asheville, N.C., culminating a three-year fight that had been featured in the climate documentary “Years of Living Dangerously.”
Beyond Coal isn’t the stereotypical Sierra Club campaign, tree-huggers shouting save-the-Earth slogans. Yes, it sometimes deploys its 2.4 million-member, grass-roots army to shutter plants with traditional not-in-my-back-yard organizing and right-to-breathe agitating. But it usually wins by arguing that ditching coal will save ratepayers money.
Since leaving New York’s City Hall, Michael Bloomberg has made it his main business to give away his wealth. His foundation’s mission is rooted in his famous faith that city governments are the key to solving social issues that are local, national, and even global in scope. In that light, the foundation’s most important work might be its government innovation program, which focuses not on any particular issue, but on helping cities increase their capacity to tackle the big issues themselves.
James Anderson, head of government innovation at Bloomberg Philanthropies, described Santa Monica’s proposal as “a timely vision to better understand how its residents were faring.”
“This is an area of broad interest to cities, which are looking for increasingly sophisticated ways to measure and address needs in their communities,” he said. “Santa Monica is leading the way for others to follow.”
By Michael R. Bloomberg
How can cities rise to meet big new challenges — and serve more and more people — with resources that are always stretched thin? By finding smart ways to use a resource that is always growing: Data. And more and more cities are doing exactly that.