Improving Lives Worldwide

Founder’s Projects

Founder’s Projects are unique efforts led by Bloomberg Philanthropies to address national and international issues that fall outside the five core program areas. They emerge from Mike’s personal experiences in business, government, and philanthropy.

“The challenges facing our world are big and complex. No person, no single organization, can solve them alone. But I’m a big believer in the idea that we can make enormous progress if we work together.”
Mike Bloomberg

Mike Bloomberg and President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa share a laugh at the Bloomberg Global Business Forum in New York City.

Bloomberg Global Business Forum

Sharing Global Visions for Sustainable Economic Development

Robin Li, CEO of Baidu, and Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, discuss how technology impacts economic growth at the Bloomberg Global Business Forum in New York City.

In the fall of 2018, Bloomberg Philanthropies hosted world leaders for a one-day conference in New York City during the opening of the U.N. General Assembly. The second annual Bloomberg Global Business Forum brought together a truly international gathering of leaders thanks to event partners comprised of top executives from around the world, including Ruth Porat of Alphabet and Google; Robin Li of Baidu; Jean-Laurent Bonnafé of BNP Paribas; Tidjane Thiam of Credit Suisse; Aliko Dangote of Dangote Group; Isabelle Kocher of ENGIE; John Elkann of EXOR; Bernard Arnault of LVMH; Anand G. Mahindra of Mahindra Group; and Xin (Shynn) Zhang of SOHO China. Through on-the-record mainstage discussions and private meetings, more than 70 heads of state and delegation from six continents and over 200 global CEOs came together to strengthen partnerships between government and business and to address the most pressing economic issues facing the world today.

“Trade has made the world more peaceful and stable by connecting our nations – and aligning our interests. But the benefits of trade have not been distributed as widely as they should be – and we must do more to address that.”
Mike Bloomberg

Immediately following the forum, Mike Bloomberg co-hosted the One Planet Summit, which convened more than 40 global leaders to accelerate the implementation of the Paris Agreement, with President Emmanuel Macron of France, Secretary-General of the United Nations António Guterres, and President of the World Bank Group Jim Yong Kim.

Watch: Highlights from the Bloomberg Global Business Forum 2018

The Johns Hopkins University and Baltimore

Strengthening a University and Its Home City

Mike Bloomberg visits SoBo Café, a graduate of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Baltimore program.

Since his graduation from Johns Hopkins University, Mike Bloomberg has sought to give back to his alma mater and its home city of Baltimore, Maryland. Bloomberg Philanthropies has committed more than $3.3 billion to Johns Hopkins to support efforts across the university, including undergraduate need-based scholarships, endowed professorships, and major capital projects. In 2018, Mike announced a $1.8 billion gift to Johns Hopkins to be devoted to financial aid.

As a former chairman of the board and lead benefactor, Mike Bloomberg has helped to shape the trajectory of the university through his leadership. His commitment has helped make the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health – the #1 ranked school of public health in America according to U.S. News & World Report – a world leader in public health research and scholarship. He has also supported the Charlotte R. Bloomberg Children’s Center, the Johns Hopkins Malaria Research Institute, and the Bloomberg~Kimmel Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy, and created the Bloomberg Distinguished Professors program to fund 50 endowed professorships to work across disciplines at Johns Hopkins. More than 40 of the professors have been named, with the rest expected in 2019.

Bloomberg Philanthropies continues to expand its work in Baltimore, with a particular focus on job creation and education and workforce development programs for the city’s young people. In 2018, Mike Bloomberg visited graduates of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Baltimore program, which helps to train entrepreneurs to grow their companies. Alumni have a combined annual revenue of $270 million and 3,000 employees. Baltimore continues as one of four cities to host a Bloomberg Philanthropies program that connects high school students with internships at arts organizations. Baltimore was also one of seven cities chosen for the Arts Innovation and Management program. Bloomberg Philanthropies also works directly with Baltimore city leaders to use data to improve decision-making and government services for residents through the What Works Cities program, to improve public safety with creative solutions from a silo-crossing innovation team, and to provide leadership and management training to senior staff through the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative.

“This program [10,000 Small Businesses] opened my mind… and I have made more important decisions in the last three months than I have in the last three years.”
Tanya Miller
Founder and CEO
10,000 Small Businesses

Women’s Economic Development

Investing in Economic Independence

The Women’s Opportunity Center in Rwanda

Committed to the core belief that women are central to economic growth, the Women’s Economic Development program works with government, nonprofits, and private-sector partners to provide women in Sub-Saharan Africa and beyond with access to training and the skills they need to increase their economic opportunities.

Started as a pilot program in 2008 to train 3,000 women in agriculture, the program has now enrolled over 360,000 women in training programs to strengthen their marketable skills. By supporting women with job training and personal development resources, the program has directly benefited families and communities totaling more than 1.7 million people.

Built by and for women in 2013, the Women’s Opportunity Center in eastern Rwanda provides training and facilities to help women achieve economic stability. The center has multiple vocational programs designed to respond to national economic development plans, including construction and brick-making, and also sells goods that the women produce.

In 2018, the center launched a sewing machine facility that will enable women to create and sell handmade products to schools, hospitals, and hotels. The Museum of Design in Atlanta featured the center in an exhibit that showcased how good architectural design can help improve lives.

In one of the program’s biggest successes, female trainees have transformed the Rwandan coffee industry. The program provided agricultural training to help growers pick coffee beans at peak ripeness and connect them to international markets to sell their coffee.

Today, coffee produced by graduates of partner organizations is served at hotels across Rwanda, on RwandAir flights, and in Bloomberg L.P. offices around the world. It has also been featured in the Starbucks Reserve collection.

Bloomberg Philanthropies’ partner Nest created a global training program for building and growing businesses run by artisans who make goods by hand in their homes. The talents of women and their families, often overlooked, are highlighted in this program, creating a pipeline of artisan businesses that are prepared to export their goods to international markets. Between 2014 and 2018, more than 188,000 homeworkers were supported by the program, helping lift participants out of poverty by connecting them to the global economy.

Watch: Crop to Cup — Bloomberg Philanthropies’ support of women coffee farmers in Rwanda

The 9/11 Memorial & Museum and the Perelman Center for Performing Arts at the World Trade Center

Rebuilding and Remembering in New York City

The One World Trade Center building rises above the reflecting pools at the 9/11 Memorial in Lower Manhattan.

The 9/11 Memorial and Museum bears solemn witness to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and February 26, 1993. It serves as the country’s principal institution to honor the memories of the victims, preserve the history, and explore the complex ongoing impact of 9/11.

Elected mayor of New York City just weeks after the 9/11 attack, Mike Bloomberg led the city through the aftermath of this national tragedy and led the work of rebuilding the World Trade Center site and reviving Lower Manhattan. The resilient spirit, hard work, and courage of countless New Yorkers enabled the city to make a remarkable recovery. In 2006, Mike began his chairmanship of the 9/11 Memorial and Museum.

In 2018, the travel website Trip Advisor rated the museum the number one museum in the United States and the number two museum in the world. The 9/11 Memorial opened the Memorial Glade in 2019, a dedicated tribute featuring six stone monoliths embedded with steel from the World Trade Center, to honor the rescue, recovery, and relief workers, survivors of the attacks, and members of the broader Lower Manhattan community who are sick or have died from exposure to toxins at the site in the aftermath of 9/11.

A rendering of the Perelman Center for Performing Arts, which is currently under construction at the World Trade Center.

The final piece of the rebuilding of the World Trade Center site has begun with the construction of the Perelman Center for Performing Arts. The innovative new center will feature flexible performance spaces and host a wide range of cultural and educational programming, along with new public space, helping to ensure the continued growth and vitality of Lower Manhattan.

Everytown for Gun Safety

Fighting for Common-Sense Reforms to Prevent U.S. Gun Violence

When Mike served as mayor of New York City, meeting with the loved ones of people killed by gunfire was among the most difficult parts of the job, and he vowed to do everything he could to ensure more families did not experience the same tragedy.

To take action, in 2006 Mike founded Mayors Against Illegal Guns with the late Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, bringing together a coalition of more than 1,000 mayors to advocate for common-sense gun safety laws. In 2014, they merged the group with Moms Demand Action, a network of grassroots volunteer activists created after the Sandy Hook school shooting. Together, they formed Everytown for Gun Safety, now the largest gun violence prevention organization in the country.

More than five million supporters of the organization – mayors, police chiefs, parents, teachers, students, and gun violence survivors – are making the case for common-sense public safety policies that respect the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment and reduce gun violence in communities across America. Mike supports this work with his personal funds.

“In the years before the Parkland shooting, we’d grown a movement that could bring together all Americans who wanted to take action. On a historic day in March 2018, more than two million of us marched to demand stronger laws, proving that we can stand up to the gun lobby.”
Shannon Watts
Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America

In 2018, in the wake of the mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, Everytown helped lead the movement to enact stronger gun safety laws – in cities and states governed by Democrats and Republicans alike. Everytown supported the more than 850 sibling marches around the world on the day of the Parkland students’ March for Our Lives in Washington, D.C. By the end of 2018, the movement helped persuade 20 states to pass stronger gun laws. Everytown continues to push for vital policies to save lives.

Listen to Everytown’s President John Feinblatt discuss the grassroots organization’s tireless work fighting gun violence.

Bloomberg Philanthropies Approach

Lead from the front and do not hesitate to address controversial issues. Utilize advocacy and lobbying.

Philanthropy can make great progress, but true change requires governments to act. Find out how Mike’s private advocacy is advancing the cause on 7 issues like gun safety.