Press & Media

The New York Botanical Garden Launches Groundbreakers App, Providing Mobile Access to Garden Programming and Content

The New York Botanical Garden has launched a new Groundbreakers mobile application, available for free download to iOS-enabled smart phones and tablets on Apple’s iTunes. The Groundbreakers app is the latest addition to a mobile media program, sponsored by Bloomberg Philanthropies, which aims to develop apps that provide access to cultural and science programming and educational content in a highly customized mobile experience. More information is available on the Botanical Garden’s Web site at

Twenty-one European Cities Advance in Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Mayors Challenge Competition to Create Innovative Solutions to Urban Challenges

Bloomberg Philanthropies today revealed the 21 European cities that have emerged as final contenders in its 2013-2014 Mayors Challenge, a competition to inspire cities to generate innovative ideas that solve major challenges and improve city life, and that ultimately can spread to other cities. One grand prize winner will receive €5 million for the most creative and transferable idea. Four additional cities will be awarded €1 million, and all will be announced in the fall. The finalists’ proposed solutions address some of Europe’s most critical issue areas: youth unemployment, aging populations, civic engagement, economic development, environment and energy concerns, public health and safety, and making government more efficient.

Bloomberg Philanthropies Makes $5 Million Impact Investment in Little Sun, Creators of Solar-Powered Lamps Delivering Light to Off-Grid Populations in Africa

Bloomberg Philanthropies today announced a $5 million impact investment in Little Sun, creators of portable, solar-powered lamps designed by co-founders: artist Olafur Eliasson and engineer Frederik Ottesen. The company works with local entrepreneurs to sell its lamps to households where electricity is scarce or unavailable, at prices that are affordable to families currently using costly and toxic kerosene for their lighting. Little Sun operates as a social business, created specifically to address a social problem rather than to maximize profits.

Marjorie B. Tiven Named to Advisory Board of the United Nations Democracy Fund

Marjorie B. Tiven, Director of Global Cities, Inc. a program of Bloomberg Philanthropies, was named to the Advisory Board of the United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDEF) by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon.

Bloomberg Philanthropies Launches $50 Million Reproductive Health Program

Bloomberg Philanthropies today announced the launch of a multi-faceted $50 million reproductive health program to prevent maternal deaths and help more women freely and safely make decisions about when to have children. At the 2012 London Summit on Family Planning, Michael R. Bloomberg committed $50 million to Family Planning 2020 (FP2020), a global collaboration of governments, non-profit organizations, donors and researchers, to ensure that women in the world’s poorest countries have access to family planning information, contraceptives, and services by 2020. Funding from this $50 million commitment will be allocated to the three core components of Bloomberg Philanthropies’ reproductive health program which includes new advocacy efforts, as well as an expansion of Bloomberg Philanthropies’ existing program in Tanzania.

Bloomberg Philanthropies Commits $10 Million to Save Children from Drowning

Bloomberg Philanthropies today announced a new $10 million commitment to prevent drowning deaths in children aged 1 to 4. The Bloomberg Philanthropies Drowning Prevention Project will initially focus on Bangladesh, where drowning is the leading cause of death among children. Every year in Bangladesh, 12,000 children drown, the equivalent of 32 deaths every day.

The Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund and Bloomberg Philanthropies Award Technical Assistance Grants to Seven More Cities Replicating the Financial Empowerment Center Model

The Cities for Financial Empowerment (CFE) Fund and Bloomberg Philanthropies today announced a significant expansion of their national Financial Empowerment Center programs to seven cities. Financial Empowerment Centers help citizens make financially sound decisions and counsel citizens struggling with debt. Cleveland, OH; Hartford, CT; Hawai’i County, HI; Los Angeles, CA; Miami, FL; San Francisco, CA; and Seattle, WA will be awarded in-kind technical assistance grants, valued at $600,000, which will support the cities’ efforts to provide free public financial counseling to citizens.

155 European Cities Submit New and Creative Ideas to Solve Pressing Urban Challenges through Bloomberg Philanthropies’ 2013-2014 Mayors Challenge

Bloomberg Philanthropies today announced that 155 cities across Europe have submitted ideas in the 2013-2014 Mayors Challenge, a competition that seeks to inspire European cities to generate innovative ideas that solve major challenges and improve city life – and that ultimately can spread to other cities. 70% of cities have generated ideas to address major social or economic challenges, including unemployment, energy efficiency, obesity, and aging. The remaining 30% of cities’ initiatives focus on improving the overall effectiveness and efficiency of government. Modeled on a successful inaugural competition in the United States, the Mayors Challenge will award €5 million for the grand prize winner and €1 million for four additional cities that come up with the most creative and transferable ideas.

Michael R. Bloomberg Appointed United Nations Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change

Michael R. Bloomberg, 108th Mayor of New York City, founder of Bloomberg LP and philanthropist, has been appointed by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to serve as Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change. In this role, Michael R. Bloomberg will assist the Secretary-General in his efforts to mobilize action among cities as part of a strategy to combat climate change. As Special Envoy, Michael R. Bloomberg will work with other mayors both to increase their climate change-related commitments and to encourage national governments to do the same. He will also help bring solutions to the 2014 Climate Summit that will be held in New York, September 2014.

The appointment of a mayor as Special Envoy – a title generally reserved for former heads of state or government – reflects the growing influence and importance of cities in fighting climate change.

Cities Of Service Appoints Myung J. Lee As Executive Director To Lead Major Expansion

After an extensive national search, Myung J. Lee has been selected to serve as the new Executive Director of Cities of Service – an independent, 501(c)(3) nonprofit. The organization will spin out of Bloomberg Philanthropies, which incubated the organization since 2010.

This spin out is driven by cities’ success with the organization’s model over the last four years and the subsequent increase in demand for its services from mayors and cities across the United States and the globe. To support this spin out and program expansion, Bloomberg Philanthropies is providing Cities of Service with a $4.6 million grant to help cover operational expenses for the next three years.