Bloomberg TV: Founder Eyes Life of Philanthropy

Nov 21, 2005  •  Post A Comment

By Sherri Killam-Williams

Pundits suggest that Michael Bloomberg, the 63-year-old founder of Bloomberg LP, could be a viable candidate for governor of New York or even president. But the mayor of New York used his Nov. 8 victory speech, coming in the aftermath of his sweeping re-election, to head off those suppositions.

“I couldn’t make it more clear,” he told supporters. “I will work, God willing, for the next four years for this city as mayor and then go into the world of philanthropy for my next career.”

While there is no reason to doubt his sincerity, many observers believe that Mr. Bloomberg’s business and political successes have proved him capable of triumph on any stage. His 20-point winning margin earlier this month over Democrat Fernando Ferrer was the largest by any Republican over a Democrat in a New York mayoral race. Mr. Bloomberg, a former Democrat who maintains a liberal reputation, tapped his personal fortune to bankroll his campaign to the tune of a reported $74 million, outspending his opponent 10-to-1.

Mr. Bloomberg is reportedly worth $4 billion, and has made charitable donations over the years to his alma maters and other causes totaling hundreds of millions of dollars.

As the company he founded grew and he was able to let loose of the reins, Mr. Bloomberg threw himself into philanthropy, in particular for the improvement of education and medical research. He still owns 72 percent of Bloomberg, receives an 85 percent share of the profits and claims credit for the same portion of its charitable giving.

Before his run for mayor Mr. Bloomberg financed programs for the homeless, high school education and victims of domestic violence. He sat on the boards of more than a dozen institutions, notably the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Johns Hopkins University, where he served as chairman of the board of trustees. Johns Hopkins renamed its School of Hygiene and Public Health the Bloomberg School of Public Health in his honor.