Mike Bloomberg’s Letter on Philanthropy
Originally posted on Bloomberg.org.
Modern philanthropy began as a substitute for government. Where government failed, philanthropists stepped in, providing food for the poor, hospitals for the sick, and libraries, museums, and colleges for the masses. Philanthropy continues to play a vital role in all of these areas. But some still see philanthropy as an alternative to government. I see it as a way to embolden government.
In so many areas, governments represent our best hope for making the broad-based societal changes that philanthropic organizations are devoted to bringing about. Governments have the authority to drive change in ways that philanthropic organizations cannot. By leveraging our resources, and forming partnerships with government, philanthropic organizations can help push those changes forward. That mindset may be untraditional, but it is at the heart of nearly everything Bloomberg Philanthropies does.
I have been lucky to see this issue from the other side. Serving for 12 years as mayor of New York City gave me a special appreciation for government’s ability to be a force for good and a catalyst for global change.
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