Press & Media

Mike Bloomberg’s Annual Letter on Philanthropy says Mayors and Data are Antidote to Washington’s Divisive Assault on Facts

Pledges $42 Million Infusion into What Works Cities – Part of The Bloomberg American Cities Initiative – to Help City Halls Use Data and Evidence to Improve Decision Making

Bloomberg Philanthropies Distributed $702 Million in 2017

In a letter on philanthropy released today as part of Bloomberg Philanthropies’ annual report, Mike Bloomberg says Washington’s “direct assault on facts and data is making it harder for America to address major challenges here and around the world,” including areas in which Bloomberg Philanthropies whose work is driven by reliable data is working to improve and save lives. However, a “counter-assault” is underway, Bloomberg writes: “As Washington has grown more dysfunctional, American cities have grown more dynamic. Mayors in both parties are leading where Washington won’t,” enthusiastically using data, and working with members of other political parties, to improve government performance for their citizens.

In a recent commencement speech at Rice University, Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies and three-term mayor of New York City, decried the rise of “alternative facts” and the current unprecedented “tolerance for dishonesty” in U.S. politics. He also encouraged graduates to “follow the data, wherever it leads.”

Reinforcing those themes in his annual report letter, Bloomberg praises mayors as having “no incentive to build policies based on misinformation, because they have nowhere to hide from bad results.” In order to ensure that these local leaders are equipped to use data to make better policy decisions, improve services, evaluate progress, and fund “what works,” Bloomberg also today announced an additional $42 million investment in the What Works Cities program, the nation’s most comprehensive effort to enhance cities’ use of data and evidence. In its first three years, the program has helped 100 cities of all sizes use facts to better define problems and make progress in crucial areas such as health and safety, homelessness, and blight.

Cities have long been a major focus of Bloomberg Philanthropies’ work, but in 2017 the foundation launched the $200 million Bloomberg American Cities Initiative as the largest-ever philanthropic effort to give U.S. mayors and city halls necessary tools—including the capacity to use data more effectively. The What Works Cities program is a part of this critical initiative that can help local communities drive national progress and innovation in Washington’s absence.

Also in the annual report, Patricia E. Harris, Bloomberg Philanthropies CEO, further details the progress of the foundation’s programs spanning the arts, government innovation, public health, education, the environment, and the important work of Bloomberg Associates. She writes in her letter, “At Bloomberg Philanthropies we believe that collaboration has an exponential effect on everything that we do. We know that when we join with strong partners we’re more than the sum of our parts — and that leads to real impact around the world.”

In 2017, Bloomberg Philanthropies invested $702 million in nearly 480 cities in more than 120 countries. In total, Mike has given $6 billion to efforts that transform lives every day.

About Bloomberg Philanthropies
Bloomberg Philanthropies works in nearly 480 cities in more than 120 countries around the world to ensure better, longer lives for the greatest number of people. The organization focuses on five key areas for creating lasting change: Arts, Education, Environment, Government Innovation, and Public Health. Bloomberg Philanthropies encompasses all of Michael R. Bloomberg’s charitable activities, including his foundation and his personal giving. In 2017, Bloomberg Philanthropies distributed $702 million. For more information, please visit www.bloomberg.org or follow us on FacebookInstagramSnapchat, and Twitter.

Media Contact
Bloomberg Philanthropies, Rebecca Carriero + 1 -212-205-0182 or rebeccac@bloomberg.org