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.
Bloomberg Philanthropies, the charitable arm of former New York City mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, is making a big bet that it can accelerate that process. It will announce on Monday that it is spending $42 million to create the What Works Cities Initiative, which is aimed at helping 100 mid-size cities make better use of data and evidence in their policymaking.
Michael Bloomberg, who has become one of the world’s most ambitious philanthropists since leaving the New York mayor’s office last year, says modern philanthropies should work with governments to encourage them to experiment and take risks that they can’t or won’t take on their own.
Codifying his philanthropic principles for the first time in an “Annual Letter on Philanthropy” to be released Monday, Bloomberg writes: “[S]ome still see philanthropy as an alternative to government. I see it as a way to embolden government.”
The most consequential of Landrieu’s decisions was to apply for a grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies, which was offering several million dollars each to cities willing to create an “innovation team” of in-house consultants that would apply data-oriented problem-solving to urban challenges. The team members — some were longtime public employees and others came from the private sector — would be sent to troubled city agencies. The premise behind the Bloomberg grants was that a team from the mayor’s office could make government more effective at relatively little cost by teaching public employees how to be more collaborative, strategic and focused on measurable results. Unlike most foundation grants, this money wasn’t tied to a specific policy area. Its sole mission was to stimulate innovative management practices.
Bloomberg Philanthropies, the billionaire entrepreneur’s philanthropic foundation, and the Australian government are launching a $100 million, four-year effort to help 20 African, Southeast Asian and Latin American countries learn more about the lives and deaths of their peoples. The initiative will pay for new tools and systems to improve birth- and death-registration systems and help the countries gather more information on risk factors for premature deaths.
In May 2014, the committee members gathered at the Bloomberg Philanthropies offices in Manhattan to hear two of the authors commissioned by the Rhodium Group — Robert E. Kopp, a climate scientist at Rutgers University, and Solomon M. Hsiang, an economic policy researcher at the University of California, Berkeley — present their findings. Among their conclusions if the status quo persisted: Climate change would increase energy demand in Texas by between 3.4 and 9.2 percent by midcentury. Crop yields in Missouri and Illinois would face a 15 percent decline over the next 25 years. And in the Northeast, annual property damage from severe storms — from hurricanes to blizzards — would likely increase $11.1 billion, to a total of $15.8 billion by the end of the century.
Two charitable groups will spend $48 million over the next three years to help states figure out how to reduce emissions from electricity production, an effort to seize the possibilities that are opening up as the cost of clean power falls.
The plan is to be announced Wednesday morning in New York. Half the money will come from Bloomberg Philanthropies, the charitable organization set up by Michael R. Bloomberg, former mayor of New York City, and half will come from Mark Heising and Elizabeth Simons, a California couple who have taken a strong interest in reducing the risks of climate change.
In 2012, the mayor of Providence, Angel Taveras, heard about the Mayors Challenge, a new competition being offered to cities that proposed a bold idea for making urban life better. The prize was to be given by Bloomberg Philanthropies, the foundation started by Michael Bloomberg, the former New York mayor, on the premise that cities are “the new laboratories of democracy.” The city that won the grand prize would receive five million dollars to realize its project, and four other cities would be given a million each. As Taveras recalled, “They announced that challenge on Twitter, and right away I said, ‘We’re going to go for it.’ And I didn’t know exactly what it would be at the time, but I knew it was going to be on early-childhood education.”
Bloomberg Philanthropies made our list of most interesting foundations in 2014 because of its wide range of huge gifts, signaling ways the foundation may be forging new giving paths in Michael Bloomberg’s first year outside of the mayor’s office. But there’s one interesting initiative at BP we’ve haven’t talked about much that’s been getting big funding and spreading to new areas: Bloomberg’s Innovation Teams.
This initiative is mainly associated with Mike Bloomberg’s wonky obsession with making government more efficient. But it also offers insights into how one of America’s top funders aims to foster economic growth and job creation in U.S. cities, a challenge which has confounded many foundations and yet is attracting new energy amid a growing focus on urban renewal.
Take, for instance, the critical role played by Bloomberg Philanthropies in helping to finance the digital aspects of the renovation.
“When I first went to them, the conversations weren’t about money,” Baumann recalls. “They would say to me, ‘Caroline, this is the future of museums, so of course we’re interested. The money came later, but they have been partners from the start.”
More and more cities are becoming engines of policy innovation, searching for bold new solutions to tough problems that Washington has failed to address. Coming up with innovative new ideas requires creative thinking based on rigorous data analysis. And then, once the best ideas are selected, the hard work begins — implementing them.
Successful innovation depends as much on the ability to generate ideas as it does the capacity to execute them. The trouble is, many mayors have small staffs who are already stretched thin just keeping the trains running on time. It is often impossible for them to devote the kind of time and energy that is necessary to research, develop and implement innovative new policies.
A new report published by Nesta, a British charity devoted to promoting innovation, and Bloomberg Philanthropies shows how popular these government innovation labs have become. They can be found in a striking variety of places, from developing countries such as Malaysia to rich countries like Finland, and in the offices of mayors as well as the halls of central government.
Michael Bloomberg, Mayor of New York City and founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies, an organisation that provided funding for the report, said: “I believe that you can’t manage what you don’t measure and there’s never been a comprehensive effort to measure drowning around the world until now.
“The more evidence we can gather, the better we’ll be able to tailor our prevention efforts.”
Gardens by the Bay has launched a mobile app that is a guide, educational tool and game for its visitors.
Its first app is available in five languages – English, Mandarin, Malay, Tamil and Japanese – and is sponsored by Bloomberg Philanthropies.
Bloomberg Philanthropies gave $17 million to five institutions this year “to produce innovative projects . . . that use cutting edge technology and enable visitors to share content.”
The American Dream Can Only Be Fulfilled If Our Top Students Have the Opportunity to Attend Our Top Colleges – By Michael R. Bloomberg
This week, Bloomberg Philanthropies is setting a new national goal: Increasing the percentage of high-achieving, low- and moderate-income students who attend top colleges from approximately one-third to one-half in just four years. To help reach that goal, we are launching a new initiative that aims to help as many as 65,000 of these students find a school that matches their abilities.
As data has made clear how many top-performing students from poor and middle-class families fall through the cracks, a range of institutions have set out to change the situation. Dozens of school districts, across 15 states, now help every high school junior take the SAT. Delaware’s governor has started a program to advise every college-qualified student from a modest background on the application process. The president of the College Board, which administers the SAT and has a decidedly mixed record on making college more accessible, says his top priority is college access.
On Tuesday, a handful of institutions will announce an ambitious new effort on this front. Led by Bloomberg Philanthropies, the coalition is setting a specific goal for which it can be held accountable. Today, only about one in three top-performing students from the bottom half of the income distribution attends a college with a high six-year graduation rate (at least 70 percent). Within five years, the Bloomberg coalition wants to raise that to one in every two students.
Traffic fatalities are one of the world’s leading causes of preventable death, and the number is expected to increase. To help combat this trend, Bloomberg Philanthropies announced a new $125 million funding competition.
The foundation will invite low- and middle-income cities and countries to compete for grants to implement life-saving road safety legislation, infrastructure and practices, part of the new phase of its Global Road Safety initiative to reduce fatalities and injuries from road traffic crashes.
Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has a new message for the developing world’s metropolises: make your roads safer.
Mr. Bloomberg is expected to announce Monday that his philanthropic organization will spend $125 million during the next five years on programs to reduce traffic deaths and injuries in 10 cities in low- and middle-income countries.
Traffic fatalities are a major cause of preventable death globally—in the top 10 with killers such as heart disease and HIV/AIDS.
Uruguay’s University of the Republic, in collaboration with a professor from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, did a study that showed that between 2005 and 2011 in Uruguay, smoking has gone down 4.3 percent annually.
They’ve also done studies that have shown that less pregnant women are smoking and that the birthrate has gone up because of it.
Actually, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg donates millions of dollars to developing countries that are trying to stop smoking. His foundation has paid for these studies, as well as a big chunk of Uruguay’s legal fees.
The innovation delivery method was developed by Bloomberg Philanthropies and Nesta, the U.K.’s innovation foundation, as one model to increase the ability of mayors to develop bigger ideas that address the major challenges facing many cities today. Modeled on the work of former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg as well as other cities around the world, it basically involves a team of in-house consultants at a City Hall tasked with analyzing data and bringing in global expertise to brainstorm and implement new approaches to tackling intransigent local problems. In 2011, Bloomberg Philanthropies funded five cities, including New Orleans, to trial the approach.
Bloomberg Philanthropies says it’s expanding its funding for cultural institutions’ digital projects to help increase visitors’ access to their resources.
The nonprofit says it is committing $17 million to six museums.
Bloomberg Philanthropies is set to announce on Tuesday that it is expanding its grant funding for cultural institutions’ digital projects, with $17 million for museums in New York and around the world.
At the Brooklyn Museum, staffers stationed at a hub will use an app to field questions in real time as visitors move through the galleries. At the American Museum of Natural History, a new app will offer a glimpse of the science happening behind the scenes. And at the Cooper-Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, a digital pen will allow visitors to save information on their favorite objects in the collection, and create their own designs.
Other recipients of the expanded grant program, now called Bloomberg Connects, include the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Science Museum in London and Singapore’s Gardens by the Bay.
Mr. Bloomberg, 72, has vowed to give away his $32.8 billion fortune before he dies. In doing so, he hopes to sharply reduce high smoking rates in Turkey, Indonesia and other countries; bring down obesity levels in Mexico; reduce traffic in Rio de Janeiro (and Istanbul); improve road safety in India and Kenya; prevent deaths at childbirth to mothers in Tanzania; and organize cities worldwide to become more environmentally friendly and efficient in delivering services.
The conference was co-sponsored by the Commerce Department and the foundation of former Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg of New York, who told reporters: “It has become unfashionable to be a business person in the U.S. And Africa desperately wants to build a business class because that’s where the jobs are going to come from.”