Bloomberg Philanthropies Knows Good Things Come From Taking Risks

(3BL Media/Justmeans) - Michael R. Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg LP, has an expansive approach to philanthropy. He has donated $3.3 billion to charity, and his foundation Bloomberg Philanthropies is ranked among the most innovative organisations in the U.S. Bloomberg is willing to finance programs that could be controversial if they fail because he is willing to take risks and try new things. After all, as founder of a global data and media company, Bloomberg LP, and the 108th Mayor of New York City from 2002 to 2013, Bloomberg’s decades of experience as a leader in the public and private sectors informs Bloomberg Philanthropies’ ability to deliver real, meaningful, and lasting change around the world. He understands only too well the need to take a gamble.

Bloomberg Philanthropies focuses on five key areas for creating lasting change: public health, environment, education, government innovation, and arts & culture. The organisation has a distinct approach to driving change. For example, it has joined forces with the Sierra Club on the Beyond Coal campaign, a $50 million commitment over four years, to end America’s energy dependence on coal. This unique partnership’s goal is to shut down one-third of the nation's aging coal plants by 2020 and move America toward cleaner energy sources.

Another example of Bloomberg Philanthropies leading work is its Digital Engagement Initiative where it supports cultural institutions like the Metropolitan Museum of Art to use all kinds of digital, mobile and social media to connect with audiences and enhance their experiences. Its Global Cities, Inc. connects global cities worldwide through an information-sharing network and supports global awareness for the next generation through cross-national interactive education initiatives.

Bloomberg does not believe that philanthropy is a substitute for public spending. He thinks it can supplement governmental functions to help make them do more and be more innovative. Innovation is behind his Philanthropies’ program called the Mayors Challenge. It’s a competition designed to encourage cities to pursue innovative new policies.  Amsterdam wants to create an online game to get unemployed young people engaged in finding jobs across Europe. Schaerbeek, Belgium, envisions using geothermal mapping to give households personalized rundowns of steps to save energy. Gdansk, Poland, is proposing to require officials to debate ideas from citizens. These cities are among the 21 finalists vying for millions of euros in this new contest. The finalists come from 11 European countries and include sprawling capitals and modest-sized cities, their climates and cultures as different as those of Stockholm, Sweden, and Barcelona, Spain.

Bloomberg shows us that philanthropy can be a powerful force for change, that amazing things can happen when we take risks. His foundation’s version of philanthropy is an activist one, with the mission to bring about transformations that disrupt entire systems and change people’s lives for the better.

Photo Credit: Bloomberg Philanthropies

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