Michael Bloomberg

Michael Bloomberg
Michael Bloomberg by Gage Skidmore.jpg
108th Mayor of New York City
In office
January 1, 2002 – December 31, 2013
Deputy Patricia Harris
Preceded by Rudy Giuliani
Succeeded by Bill de Blasio
Personal details
Michael Rubens Bloomberg

(1942-02-14) February 14, 1942 (age 78)
Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
Political party Democratic (before 2001, 2018–present)
Other political
Independent (2007–2018)
Republican (2001–2007)
Susan Brown-Meyer
( m. 1975; div. 1993)
Domestic partner Diana Taylor (2000–present)
Children 2, including Georgina
Education Johns Hopkins University (BS)
Harvard University (MBA)
Net worth US$61.9 billion (February 2020)[1]
Website Official website

Michael Rubens Bloomberg (born February 14, 1942) is an American businessman, politician, philanthropist, and author. He is the majority owner and co-founder of Bloomberg L.P. He was the mayor of New York City from 2002 to 2013 and is currently a candidate in the 2020 Democratic presidential primaries.

Bloomberg grew up in Medford, Massachusetts, and attended Johns Hopkins University and Harvard Business School. He began his career at the securities brokerage Salomon Brothers, before forming his own company in 1981, Bloomberg L.P., a financial services, software, and mass media company. He spent the next twenty years as its chairman and CEO. As of February 2020, he is the ninth-richest person in the world, with a net worth estimated at $61.9 billion. Since signing The Giving Pledge whereby the wealthy pledge to give away at least half of their wealth, Bloomberg has given away $8.2 billion.

Bloomberg served as chair of the board of trustees at his alma mater, Johns Hopkins University, from 1996 to 2002. He was then elected the 108th mayor of New York City, holding office for three consecutive terms, winning re-election in 2005 and again in 2009 after successfully expanding term limits for a third term. A social liberal and fiscal conservative, Bloomberg prioritized a balanced budget with an emphasis on technocratic reform. Although initially enjoying high bipartisan support, his overall legacy has been mixed, due in part to his expansion of New York City's controversial stop-and-frisk policy. After a brief stint as a full-time philanthropist, Bloomberg re-assumed the position of CEO at Bloomberg L.P. by the end of 2014. Bloomberg is well-known for his social entrepreneurship, particularly for his support for gun control and environmental protections.

Bloomberg switched from Independent to Democratic affiliation in October 2018 and officially launched his campaign for the Democratic Party's nomination in the 2020 presidential election on November 24, 2019 in Norfolk, Virginia, following weeks of speculation that he would join the race as a late entry.[2] As of February 2020, Bloomberg's total spending on his campaign has exceeded $500 million, the most expensive in American history by a wide margin.[3][4]

Early life and education

Bloomberg was born at St. Elizabeth's Hospital, in Brighton, a neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts, on February 14, 1942, to William Henry Bloomberg (1906–1963), a bookkeeper for a dairy company,[5] and Charlotte (Rubens) Bloomberg (1909–2011).[6][7] The Bloomberg Center at the Harvard Business School was named in William Henry's honor.[8] His family is Jewish. He is a member of the Emanu-El Temple in Manhattan.[9] Bloomberg's paternal grandfather, Alexander "Elick" Bloomberg, was an immigrant from Russia.[10] Bloomberg's maternal grandfather, Max Rubens, was an immigrant from present-day Belarus.[11][12]

The family lived in Allston until Bloomberg was two years old, when they moved to Brookline, Massachusetts, for the next two years, finally settling in the Boston suburb of Medford, Massachusetts, where he lived until after he graduated from college.[13]

Bloomberg is an Eagle Scout.[14][15] He graduated from Medford High School in 1960,[16] and then attended Johns Hopkins University, where he joined the fraternity Phi Kappa Psi. In 1962, as a sophomore, he constructed the school mascot's (the blue jay's) costume.[17] He graduated in 1964 with a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering. In 1966, he graduated from Harvard Business School with a Master of Business Administration.[18][19]

Business career

A 2012 Bloomberg Terminal with a multi-monitor set-up composed of six screens.

In 1973, Bloomberg became a general partner at Salomon Brothers, a large Wall Street investment bank, where he headed equity trading and, later, systems development. In 1981, Salomon Brothers was bought[20] by Phibro Corporation, and Bloomberg was laid off from the investment bank with a $10 million cash buyout of his partnership stake in the firm.[21] [22]

Using this money, Bloomberg, set up a data services company named Innovative Market Systems (IMS) based on his belief that Wall Street would pay a premium for high-quality business information, delivered instantaneously on computer terminals in a variety of usable formats.[23] The company sold customized computer terminals that delivered real-time market data, financial calculations and other analytics to Wall Street firms. At first, the machines were called "Market Master Terminals" but later became known as "Bloomberg Terminals" or simply "Bloombergs". In 1983, Merrill Lynch became the company's first customer, investing $30 million in IMS to help finance the development of "the Bloomberg" terminal computer system. As of 1983, IMS was selling machines exclusively to Merrill Lynch's clients; in 1984, Merrill Lynch released IMS from this exclusive deal.[24]

The company was renamed Bloomberg L.P. By 1990, it had installed 8,000 terminals.[25] Over the years, ancillary products including Bloomberg News, Bloomberg Radio, Bloomberg Message, and Bloomberg Tradebook were launched.[26]

As of October 2015, the company had more than 325,000 terminal subscribers worldwide.[27] Subscriptions cost $24,000 per year, discounted to $20,000 for two or more.[28] As of 2019, Bloomberg employs 20,000 people in dozens of locations.[28] The company earned approximately $10 billion in 2018, loosely $3 billion more than Thomson Reuters, now Refinitiv, its nearest competitor.[28]

The culture of the company has been compared to a fraternity, with employees bragging in the company's office about their sexual exploits.[29] The company was sued four times by female employees for sexual harassment, including one incident in which a victim claimed to have been raped.[30][31] To celebrate Bloomberg's 48th birthday, colleagues published a pamphlet entitled Portable Bloomberg: The Wit and Wisdom of Michael Bloomberg. Among various sayings that were attributed to him, several have subsequently been criticized as sexist or misogynistic.[32][33][29]

When he left the position of CEO to pursue a political career as the mayor of New York City, Bloomberg was replaced by Lex Fenwick [34]and later by Daniel L. Doctoroff, after his initial service as deputy mayor under Bloomberg.[35] After completing his final term as the mayor of New York City, Bloomberg spent his first eight months out of office as a full-time philanthropist. In fall 2014, he announced that he would return to Bloomberg L.P. as CEO at the end of 2014,[36] succeeding Doctoroff, who had led the company since February 2008.[36][37][38] Bloomberg resigned as CEO of Bloomberg L.P. to run for president in 2019.[28]

Bloomberg is a member of Kappa Beta Phi.[39] He wrote an autobiography, with help from Bloomberg News Editor-in-Chief Matthew Winkler, called Bloomberg by Bloomberg.[40]


In March 2009, Forbes reported Bloomberg's wealth at $16 billion, a gain of $4.5 billion over the previous year, the world's biggest increase in wealth in 2009.[41] At that time, there were only four fortunes in the U.S. that were larger (although the Walton family, majority owners of Walmart, fortune is split among four people). He had moved from 142nd to 17th in the Forbes list of the world's billionaires in only two years.[42][43] As of February 2020, Bloomberg was the ninth richest person in the world, with a net worth estimated at $61.9 billion.[1]

Political career

Mayor of New York City

Bloomberg with President George W. Bush in 2003

Bloomberg assumed office as the 108th mayor of New York City on January 1, 2002. He won re-election in 2005 and again in 2009. As mayor, he initially struggled with approval ratings as low as 24 percent;[44] however, he subsequently developed and maintained high approval ratings.[45] Bloomberg joined Rudy Giuliani and Fiorello La Guardia as re-elected Republican mayors in the mostly Democratic city, and his re-election meant the Republicans had won four times in a row.[citation needed]

Bloomberg stated that he wanted public education reform to be the legacy of his first term and addressing poverty to be the legacy of his second.[46] According to the National Assessment of Educational Performance, fourth-grade reading scores from 2002 to 2009 rose nationally by 11 points, but in May 2010, The New York Times reported that eighth-graders had shown no significant improvement in math or reading.[citation needed]

Bloomberg chose to apply a statistical, metrics-based management approach to city government, and granted departmental commissioners broad autonomy in their decision-making. Breaking with 190 years of tradition, he implemented what New York Times political reporter Adam Nagourney called a "bullpen" open office plan, similar to a Wall Street trading floor, in which dozens of aides and managerial staff are seated together in a large chamber. The design is intended to promote accountability and accessibility.[47]

Bloomberg raised taxes in order to reduce New York's budget deficit and accepted a remuneration of $1 annually in lieu of the mayoral salary.[48]

Bloomberg with presidents of Colombia, Chile, Peru and Mexico in 2014

As mayor, Bloomberg greatly expanded the city's stop and frisk program, with a sixfold increase in documented stops.[49] New York City's policy was challenged in U.S. Federal Court, which ruled that the city's implementation of the policy violated citizens' rights under the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution[50] and encouraged racial profiling.[51] Bloomberg's adminstration appealed the ruling; however, his successor, Mayor Bill de Blasio, dropped the appeal and allowed the ruling to take effect.[52] The long-term downward trend in NYC crime which began prior to Bloomberg's tenure continued after stop-and-frisk was restricted.[53]

After the September 11 attacks, with assistance from the Central Intelligence Agency, Bloomberg's administration implemented a controversial "suspicionless domestic surveillance" program that surveilled Muslim communities on the basis of their religion, ethnicity, and language.[54][55][56] An eight-person NYPD unit profiled and surveilled schools, bookstores, cafes, restaurants, nightclubs, and every single mosque within 100 miles (160 km) of New York City using undercover informants and officers.[57] The program was exposed in 2011 by the Associated Press in a Pulitzer Prize-winning series of investigative reports.[55] The program was discontinued in 2014.[58][54]

Mayoral elections

In 2001, New York's Republican mayor Rudy Giuliani, was ineligible for re-election due to the city's limit of two consecutive terms. Bloomberg, who had been a lifelong member of the Democratic Party, decided to run for mayor on the Republican ticket.[59] Voting in the primary began on the morning of September 11, 2001. The primary was postponed later that day, due to the September 11 attacks. In the rescheduled primary, Bloomberg defeated Herman Badillo, a former Democratic congressman, to become the Republican nominee. After a runoff, the Democratic nomination went to New York City Public Advocate Mark J. Green.

Bloomberg received Giuliani's endorsement to succeed him in the 2001 election. He also had a huge campaign spending advantage. Although New York City's campaign finance law restricts the amount of contributions that a candidate can accept, Bloomberg chose not to use public funds and therefore his campaign was not subject to these restrictions. He spent $73 million of his own money on his campaign, outspending Green five to one.[60] One of the major themes of his campaign was that, with the city's economy suffering from the effects of the World Trade Center attacks, it needed a mayor with business experience.

In addition to running on the Republican line, Bloomberg ran on the ticket of the controversial Independence Party, in which "Social Therapy" leaders Fred Newman and Lenora Fulani exerted strong influence. Bloomberg's votes on that line exceeded his margin of victory over Green. (Under New York's fusion rules, a candidate can run on more than one party's line and combine all the votes received.) Another factor was the vote in Staten Island, which has traditionally been friendlier to Republicans than the rest of the city. Bloomberg received 75 percent of the vote in Staten Island. Overall, he won 50 percent to 48 percent.[citation needed]

In the wake of the September 11 attacks, Bloomberg's administration made a successful bid to host the 2004 Republican National Convention. The convention drew thousands of protesters, among them New Yorkers who despised Bush and the Bush Administration's pursuit of the Iraq war.[61][62]

Bloomberg was re-elected mayor in November 2005 by a margin of 20 percent, the widest margin ever for a Republican mayor of New York City.[63] He spent almost $78 million on his campaign, exceeding the record of $74 million he spent on the previous election. In late 2004 or early 2005, Bloomberg gave the Independence Party of New York $250,000 to fund a phone bank seeking to recruit volunteers for his re-election campaign.[64]

Former Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer won the Democratic nomination to oppose Bloomberg in the general election. Thomas Ognibene sought to run against Bloomberg in the Republican Party's primary election.[65] The Bloomberg campaign successfully challenged the signatures Ognibene submitted to the Board of Elections to prevent Ognibene from appearing on ballots for the Republican primary.[65] Instead, Ognibene ran on only the Conservative Party ticket.[66] Ognibene accused Bloomberg of betraying Republican Party ideals, a feeling echoed by others.[67][68][69][70]

Bloomberg opposed the confirmation of John Roberts as Chief Justice of the United States.[71] Bloomberg is a staunch supporter of abortion rights and did not believe that Roberts was committed to maintaining Roe v. Wade.[71] In addition to Republican support, Bloomberg obtained the endorsements of several prominent Democrats: former Democratic Mayor Ed Koch; former Democratic governor Hugh Carey; former Democratic City Council Speaker Peter Vallone, and his son, Councilman Peter Vallone Jr.; former Democratic Congressman Floyd Flake (who had previously endorsed Bloomberg in 2001), and Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz.[72]

Bloomberg in 2007

On October 2, 2008, Bloomberg announced he would seek to extend the city's term limits law and run for a third mayoral term in 2009, arguing a leader of his field was needed following the financial crisis of 2007–08. "Handling this financial crisis while strengthening essential services ... is a challenge I want to take on," Bloomberg said at a news conference. "So should the City Council vote to amend term limits, I plan to ask New Yorkers to look at my record of independent leadership and then decide if I have earned another term."[73]

Ronald Lauder, who campaigned for New York City's term limits in 1993 and spent over 4 million dollars of his own money to limit the maximum years a mayor could serve to eight years,[74] sided with Bloomberg and agreed to stay out of future legality issues.[75] In exchange, he was promised a seat on an influential city board by Bloomberg.[76]

Some people and organizations objected and NYPIRG filed a complaint with the City Conflict of Interest Board.[77] On October 23, 2008, the City Council voted 29–22 in favor of extending the term limit to three consecutive four-year terms.[78] After two days of public hearings, Bloomberg signed the bill into law on November 3.[79]

Bloomberg's bid for a third term generated some controversy. Civil libertarians such as former New York Civil Liberties Union Director Norman Siegel and New York Civil Rights Coalition Executive Director Michael Meyers joined with local politicians to protest the process as undermining the democratic process.[80]

Bloomberg's opponent was Democratic and Working Families Party nominee Bill Thompson, who had been New York City Comptroller for the past eight years and before that, president of the New York City Board of Education.[81] Bloomberg defeated Thompson by a vote of 51% to 46%.[82]

After the release of Independence Party campaign filings in January 2010, it was reported that Bloomberg had made two $600,000 contributions from his personal account to the Independence Party on October 30 and November 2, 2009.[83] The Independence Party then paid $750,000 of that money to Republican Party political operative John Haggerty Jr.[84]

This prompted an investigation beginning in February 2010 by the office of New York County District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. into possible improprieties.[85] The Independence Party later questioned how Haggerty spent the money, which was to go to poll-watchers.[86] Former New York State Senator Martin Connor contended that because the Bloomberg donations were made to an Independence Party housekeeping account rather than to an account meant for current campaigns, this was a violation of campaign finance laws.[87] Haggerty also spent money from a separate $200,000 donation from Bloomberg on office space.[88]

On September 13, 2013, Bloomberg announced that he would not endorse any of the candidates to succeed him.[89][90] On his radio show, he stated, "I don't want to do anything that complicates it for the next mayor. And that's one of the reasons I've decided I'm just not going to make an endorsement in the race." He added, "I want to make sure that person is ready to succeed, to take what we've done and build on that."[91]

Bloomberg with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2015

Bloomberg praised The New York Times for its endorsement of Christine Quinn and Joe Lhota as their favorite candidates in the Democratic and Republican primaries, respectively.[92][93] Quinn came in third in the Democratic primary and Lhota won the Republican primary. Bloomberg criticized Democratic mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio's campaign methods, which he initially called "racist;" Bloomberg later downplayed and partially retracted those remarks.[94][95]

On January 1, 2014, de Blasio became New York City's new mayor, succeeding Bloomberg.[96]

Post-mayoral political involvement through 2019

Bloomberg was frequently mentioned as a possible centrist candidate for the presidential elections in 2008[97][98] and 2012, as well as for governor of New York in 2010[99] or vice-president in 2008.[100] He eventually declined to seek all of these offices.

In the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in November 2012, Bloomberg penned an op-ed officially endorsing Barack Obama for president, citing Obama's policies on climate change.[101][102]

Bloomberg speaking at the 2016 Democratic National Convention

On January 23, 2016, it was reported that Bloomberg was again considering a presidential run, as an independent candidate in the 2016 election.[103][104] This was the first time he had officially confirmed he was considering a run.[105] Bloomberg supporters believed that Bloomberg could run as a centrist and capture many voters who were dissatisfied with the likely Democratic and Republican nominees.[106] However, on March 7, Bloomberg announced he would not be running for president.[107][108]

In July 2016, Bloomberg delivered a speech at the 2016 Democratic National Convention in which he called Hillary Clinton "the right choice".[109][110][111] Bloomberg warned of the dangers a Donald Trump presidency would pose. He said Trump "wants you to believe that we can solve our biggest problems by deporting Mexicans and shutting out Muslims. He wants you to believe that erecting trade barriers will bring back good jobs. He's wrong on both counts." Bloomberg also said Trump's economic plans "would make it harder for small businesses to compete" and would "erode our influence in the world". Trump responded to the speech by condemning Bloomberg in a series of tweets.[109][112]

In June 2018, Bloomberg made pledged $80 million to support Democratic congressional candidates in the 2018 election, with the goal of flipping control of the Republican-controlled House to Democrats. In a statement, Bloomberg said that Republican House leadership were "absolutely feckless" and had failed to govern responsibly. Bloomberg advisor Howard Wolfson was chosen to lead the effort, which was to target mainly suburban districts.[113] By early October, Bloomberg had committed more than $100 million to returning the House and Senate to Democratic power, fueling speculation about a presidential run in 2020.[114] On October 10, 2018, Bloomberg announced that he had returned to the Democratic party.[115]

2020 presidential campaign

On March 5, 2019, Bloomberg had announced that he would not run for president in 2020. Instead, he encouraged the Democratic Party to "nominate a Democrat who will be in the strongest position to defeat Donald Trump".[116] However, due to his dissatisfaction with the Democratic field, Bloomberg reconsidered. He officially launched his campaign for the 2020 Democratic nomination on November 24, 2019.[117]

Bloomberg is financing his campaign personally and has said he would not accept donations.[118] As of February 16, 2020, he has spent an estimated $417.7 million in advertisements.[119]

When Bloomberg participated in his first presidential debate, the other candidates accused him of a history of misogyny and supporting racist policies.[120] Specifically, Elizabeth Warren and Joe Biden challenged him to release women who had signed non-disclosure agreements with Bloomberg and his company from the requirement to not discuss their allegations in public. Two days later, Bloomberg publicly released the three women from their non-disclosure agreements.[121] It is reported that there are at least 64 women named in at least 40 lawsuits alleging sexual harassment or gender discrimination against him or his company.[120][122]

Political positions

Bloomberg delivering a speech in 2004

Bloomberg was a lifelong Democrat until 2001, when he switched to the Republican Party before running for Mayor. He switched to an independent in 2007, and registered again as a Democrat in October 2018.[123][124] In 2004, he endorsed the re-election of George W. Bush and spoke at the 2004 Republican National Convention. He endorsed Barack Obama's re-election in 2012, endorsed Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election, and spoke at the 2016 Democratic National Convention.[125]

Over his career, Bloomberg has "mingled support for progressive causes with more conservative positions on law enforcement, business regulation and school choice."[126] Bloomberg supports gun-control measures, abortion rights, same-sex marriage, and a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants.[127] He advocates for a public health insurance option that he has called "Medicare for all for people that are uncovered" rather than a universal single-payer healthcare system.[127] He is concerned about climate change and has touted his mayoral efforts to reduce greenhouse gases.[128] Bloomberg supported the Iraq War and opposed creating a timeline for withdrawing troops but later called the war "a mistake."[129][130] Bloomberg has sometimes embraced the use of surveillance in efforts to deter crime and protect against terrorism.[131][132]

As Mayor of New York, Bloomberg supported government initiatives in public health and welfare.[127][133] During and after[134] his tenure, he was a staunch supporter of stop-and-frisk, a policy which allowed the New York Police Department to stop and pat down civilians, and which disproportionately targeted racial minorities. In November 2019, Bloomberg apologized for supporting it.[135][136][134] He advocates reversing many of the Trump tax cuts. His own tax plan includes implementing a 5% surtax on incomes above $5 million a year and would raise federal revenue by $5 trillion over a decade. He opposes a wealth tax, saying that it would likely be found unconstitutional.[137][138] He has also proposed more stringent financial regulations that include tougher oversight for big banks, a financial transactions tax, and stronger consumer protections.[139]

Bloomberg has stated that running as a Democrat – not an independent – is the only path he sees to defeating Donald Trump, saying: "In 2020, the great likelihood is that an independent would just split the anti-Trump vote and end up re-electing the President. That's a risk I refused to run in 2016 and we can't afford to run it now."[123]


Since signing The Giving Pledge whereby the wealthy pledge to give away at least half of their wealth, Bloomberg has given away $8.2 billion.[140]

According to a profile in Fast Company, his Bloomberg Philanthropies foundation has five areas of focus: public health, the arts, government innovation, the environment, and education.[141] According to the Chronicle of Philanthropy, Bloomberg was the third-largest philanthropic donor in America in 2015.[142] Through his Bloomberg Philanthropies Foundation, he has donated and/or pledged $240 million in 2005, $60 million in 2006, $47 million in 2007, $150 million in 2009, $332 million in 2010, $311 million in 2011, and $510 million in 2015.[142][143]

2011 recipients included the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health; World Lung Foundation and the World Health Organization. According to The New York Times, Bloomberg was an "anonymous donor" to the Carnegie Corporation from 2001 to 2010, with gifts ranging from $5 million to $20 million each year.[144] The Carnegie Corporation distributed these contributions to hundreds of New York City organizations ranging from the Dance Theatre of Harlem to Gilda's Club, a non-profit organization that provides support to people and families living with cancer. He continues to support the arts through his foundation.[145]

Bloomberg gave $254 million in 2009 to almost 1,400 nonprofit organizations, saying, "I am a big believer in giving it all away and have always said that the best financial planning ends with bouncing the check to the undertaker."[146]

Environmental advocacy

Bloomberg is an environmentalist and has advocated policy to fight climate change at least since he became the mayor of New York City. At the national level, Bloomberg has consistently pushed for transitioning the United States' energy mix from fossil fuels to clean energy. In July 2011, Bloomberg Philanthropies donated $50 million to Sierra Club's Beyond Coal campaign, allowing the campaign to expand its efforts to shut down coal-fired power plants from 15 states to 45 states.[147][148] In 2015, Bloomberg announced an additional $30 million contribution to the Beyond Coal initiative, matched with another $30 million by other donors, to help secure the retirement of half of America's fleet of coal plants by 2017.[149] In early June 2019, Bloomberg pledged $500 million to reduce climate impacts and shut remaining coal-fired power plants by 2030 via the new Beyond Carbon initiative.[150][151]

Bloomberg Philanthropies awarded a $6 million grant to the Environmental Defense Fund in support of strict regulations on fracking in the 14 states with the heaviest natural gas production.[152]

In 2013, Bloomberg and Bloomberg Philanthropies launched the Risky Business initiative with former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson and hedge-fund billionaire Tom Steyer. The joint effort worked to convince the business community of the need for more sustainable energy and development policies, by quantifying and publicizing the economic risks the United States faces from the impact of climate change.[153] In January 2015, Bloomberg led Bloomberg Philanthropies in a $48-million partnership with the Heising-Simons family to launch the Clean Energy Initiative. The initiative supports state-based solutions aimed at ensuring America has a clean, reliable, and affordable energy system.[154]

Since 2010, Bloomberg has taken an increasingly global role on environmental issues. From 2010 to 2013, he served as the chairman of the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, a network of the world's biggest cities working together to reduce carbon emissions.[155] During his tenure, Bloomberg worked with President Bill Clinton to merge C40 with the Clinton Climate Initiative, with the goal of amplifying their efforts in the global fight against climate change worldwide.[156] He serves as the president of the board of C40 Cities.[157] In January 2014, Bloomberg began a five-year commitment totaling $53 million through Bloomberg Philanthropies to the Vibrant Oceans Initiative. The initiative partners Bloomberg Philanthropies with Oceana, Rare, and Encourage Capital to help reform fisheries and increase sustainable populations worldwide.[158] In 2018, Bloomberg joined Ray Dalio in announcing a commitment of $185 million towards protecting the oceans.[159]

In 2014, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon appointed Bloomberg as his first Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change to help the United Nations work with cities to prevent climate change.[160] In September 2014, Bloomberg convened with Ban and global leaders at the UN Climate Summit to announce definite action to fight climate change in 2015.[161] In 2018, Ban's successor António Guterres appointed Bloomberg as UN envoy for climate action.[162][163] He resigned in November 2019, in the run-up to his presidential campaign.[164]

In late 2014, Bloomberg, Ban Ki-moon, and global city networks ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI), C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40) and United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), with support from UN-Habitat, launched the Compact of Mayors, a global coalition of mayors and city officials pledging to reduce local greenhouse gas emissions, enhance climate resilience, and track their progress transparently.[165] To date, over 250 cities representing more than 300 million people worldwide and 4.1% of the total global population, have committed to the Compact of Mayors,[166] which was merged with the Covenant of Mayors in June 2016.[167][168]

In 2015, Bloomberg and Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo created the Climate Summit for Local Leaders.[169] which convened assembled hundreds of city leaders from around the world at Paris City Hall to discuss fighting climate change.[170][171][172] The Summit concluded with the presentation of the Paris Declaration, a pledge by leaders from assembled global cities to cut carbon emissions by 3.7 gigatons annually by 2030.[173]

During the 2015 UN Climate Change Conference in Paris, Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England and chair of the Financial Stability Board, announced that Bloomberg will lead a new global task force designed to help industry and financial markets understand the growing risks of climate change.[174]

Bloomberg and former Sierra Club Executive Director Carl Pope co-authored Climate of Hope: How Cities, Businesses, and Citizens Can Save the Planet (2017), published by St. Martin's Press; the book appeared on the New York Times hardcover nonfiction best-seller list.[175][176]

Following President Donald Trump's announcement that the U.S. government would withdraw from the Paris climate accord, Bloomberg outlined a coalition of cities, states, universities and businesses that had come together to honor America's commitment under the agreement through 'America's Pledge.'[177] Bloomberg offered up to $15 million to the UNFCCC, the UN body that assists countries with climate change efforts.[178][179] About a month later, Bloomberg and California Governor Jerry Brown announced that the America's Pledge coalition would work to "quantify the actions taken by U.S. states, cities and business to drive down greenhouse gas emissions consistent with the goals of the Paris Agreement."[180][181] In announcing the initiative, Bloomberg said "the American government may have pulled out of the Paris agreement, but American society remains committed to it."[182] Two think tanks, World Resource Institute and the Rocky Mountain Institute, will work with America's Pledge to analyze the work cities, states and businesses do to meet the U.S. commitment to the Paris agreement.[183]

In May 2019, Bloomberg announced a 2020 Midwestern Collegiate Climate Summit in Washington University in St. Louis with the aim to bring together leaders from Midwestern universities, local government and the private sector to reduce climate impacts in the region.[184][185]

Johns Hopkins University philanthropy

As of 2019, Bloomberg has given more than $3.3 billion to Johns Hopkins University, his alma mater,[186] making him "the most generous living donor to any education institution in the United States."[187] His first contribution, in 1965, had been $5.[187] He made his first $1 million commitment to JHU in 1984, and subsequently became the first individual to exceed $1 billion in lifetime donations to a single U.S. institution of higher education.[188]

Bloomberg's contributions to Johns Hopkins "fueled major improvements in the university's reputation and rankings, its competitiveness for faculty and students, and the appearance of its campus,"[187] and included construction of a children's hospital (the Charlotte R. Bloomberg Children's Center Building, named after Bloomberg's mother); a physics building, a school of public health (the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health), libraries, and biomedical research facilities,[187] including the Institute for Cell Engineering, a stem-cell research institute within the School of Medicine, and the Malaria Research Institute within the School of Public Health.[187][188] In 2013, Bloomberg committed $350 million to Johns Hopkins, five-sevenths of which were allocated to the Bloomberg Distinguished Professorships, endowing 50 Bloomberg Distinguished Professors (BDPs) whose interdisciplinary expertise crosses traditional academic disciplines.[188] In 2016, on the School of Public Health's centennial, Bloomberg Philanthropies contributed $300 million to establish the Bloomberg American Health Initiative.[189] Bloomberg also funded the launch of the Bloomberg–Kimmel Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy within the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in East Baltimore, with a $50 million gift; an additional $50 million was given by philanthropist Sidney Kimmel, and $25 million by other donors.[190][191][192] It will support cancer therapy research, technology and infrastructure development, and private sector partnerships.[193] in 2016, Bloomberg joined Vice President Joe Biden for the institute's formal launch, embracing Biden's "cancer moonshot" initiative, which seeks to find a cure for cancer through national coordination of government and private sector resources.[190] In 2018, Bloomberg contributed a further gift of $1.8 billion to Johns Hopkins, allowing the university to practice need-blind admission and meet the full financial need of admitted students.[186]

Other educational and research philanthropy

In 2016, the Museum of Science, Boston announced a $50 million gift from Bloomberg.[194] The donation marks Bloomberg's fourth gift to the museum, which he credits with sparking his intellectual curiosity as a patron and student during his youth in Medford, Massachusetts.[195] The endowment supported the museum's education division, named the William and Charlotte Bloomberg Science Education Center in honor of Bloomberg's parents. It is the largest donation in the museum's 186-year history.[196][197]

In 2015, Bloomberg donated $100 million to Cornell Tech, the applied sciences graduate school of Cornell University, to construct the first academic building, "The Bloomberg Center", on the school's Roosevelt Island campus.[198]

In 1996, Bloomberg endowed the William Henry Bloomberg Professorship at Harvard University with a $3 million gift in honor of his father, who died in 1963, saying, "throughout his life, he recognized the importance of reaching out to the nonprofit sector to help better the welfare of the entire community."[199]

Urban innovation philanthropy

In July 2011, Bloomberg launched a $24 million initiative to fund "Innovation Delivery Teams" in five cities. The teams are one of Bloomberg Philanthropies' key goals: advancing government innovation.[200] In December 2011, Bloomberg Philanthropies launched a partnership with online ticket search engine SeatGeek to connect artists with new audiences. Called the Discover New York Arts Project, the project includes organizations HERE, New York Theatre Workshop, and the Kaufman Center.[201]

In 2016, Bloomberg gave Harvard $32 million to create the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative within Harvard Kennedy School's Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation; the initiative provides training to mayors and their aides on innovative municipal leadership and challenges facing cities.[202][203][204][205]

Public health, tobacco control, and gun control philanthropy

Bloomberg speaking at an Everytown for Gun Safety event in August 2019

Bloomberg has been a longtime donor to global tobacco control efforts.[206][207] Bloomberg has donated close to $1 billion to the World Health Organization (WHO) to promote anti-smoking efforts, including $125 million in 2006, $250 million in 2008, and $360 million, making Bloomberg Philanthropies the developing world's biggest funder of tobacco-control initiatives.[207] In 2013, it was reported that Bloomberg had donated $109.24 million in 556 grants and 61 countries to campaigns against tobacco.[208] Bloomberg's contributions are aimed at "getting countries to monitor tobacco use, introduce strong tobacco-control laws, and create mass media campaigns to educate the public about the dangers of tobacco use."[207]

Bloomberg is the co-founder of Everytown for Gun Safety (formerly Mayors Against Illegal Guns), a gun control advocacy group.[209]

In August 2016, the World Health Organization appointed Bloomberg as its Global Ambassador for Noncommunicable Diseases.[210] In this role, Bloomberg will mobilize private sector and political leaders to help the WHO reduce deaths from preventable diseases, traffic accidents, tobacco, obesity, and alcohol. WHO Director-General Margaret Chan cited Bloomberg's ongoing support for WHO anti-smoking, drowning prevention, and road safety programs in her announcement of his new role.[211][212]

Other philanthropy

In 2017, Bloomberg donated $75 million for The Shed, a new arts and cultural center in Hudson Yards, Manhattan.[213] He continued his support for The Shed after his time as mayor with a philanthropic donation of $75 million.[214][215]

Bloomberg also endowed his hometown synagogue, Temple Shalom, which was renamed for his parents as the William and Charlotte Bloomberg Jewish Community Center of Medford.[216]

Bloomberg hosted the Global Business Forum on September 2017, during the annual meeting of the United Nations General Assembly; the gathering featured international CEOs, heads of state, and other prominent speakers.[217][218][219]

Personal life

Family and relationships

In 1975, Bloomberg married Susan Elizabeth Barbara Brown, a British national from Yorkshire, United Kingdom.[220] They had two daughters: Emma (born c. 1979) and Georgina (born 1983), who were featured on Born Rich, a 2003 documentary film about the children of the extremely wealthy. Bloomberg divorced Brown in 1993, but he has said she remains his "best friend."[208] Since 2000, Bloomberg has lived with former New York state banking superintendent Diana Taylor.[221][222][223]

Bloomberg's younger sister, Marjorie Tiven, has been Commissioner of the New York City Commission for the United Nations, Consular Corps and Protocol, since February 2002.[224] His daughter Emma is married to Christopher Frissora, son of multimillionaire businessman Mark Frissora.[225]


Although he attended Hebrew school, had a bar mitzvah, and his family kept a kosher kitchen, Bloomberg today is relatively secular, attending synagogue mainly during the High Holidays and a Passover Seder with his sister, Marjorie Tiven.[226] Neither of his daughters had bat mitzvahs.[226]

Public image and lifestyle

Bloomberg's Dassault Falcon 900

Throughout his business career, Bloomberg has made numerous statements which have been considered insulting, derogatory, sexist or misogynistic. When working on Wall Street in the 1960s and 1970s, Bloomberg claimed in his 1997 autobiography, he had "a girlfriend in every city".[227][228] On various occasions, Bloomberg commented "I'd do her", regarding certain women, some of whom were coworkers or employees. Bloomberg later said that by "do", he meant that he would have a personal relationship with the woman.[229] Bloomberg's staff told the New York Times that he now regrets having made "disrespectful" remarks concerning women.[31]

During his term as mayor, he lived at his own home on the Upper East Side of Manhattan instead of Gracie Mansion, the official mayoral residence.[230] In 2013, he owned 13 properties in various countries around the world, including a $20 million Georgian mansion in Southampton, New York.[231][232] In 2015, he acquired 4 Cheyne Walk, a historical property in Cheyne Walk, Chelsea, London, which once belonged to writer George Eliot.[233] Bloomberg and his daughters own houses in Bermuda and stay there frequently.[234][235]

Bloomberg stated that during his mayoralty, he rode the New York City Subway on a daily basis, particularly in the commute from his 79th Street home to his office at City Hall. An August 2007 story in The New York Times stated that he was often seen chauffeured by two New York Police Department-owned SUVs to an express train station to avoid having to change from the local to the express trains on the IRT Lexington Avenue Line.[236] He supported the construction of the 7 Subway Extension and the Second Avenue Subway; in December 2013, Bloomberg took a ceremonial ride on a train to the new 34th Street station to celebrate a part of his legacy as mayor.[237][238]

During his tenure as mayor, Bloomberg made cameos playing himself in the films The Adjustment Bureau and New Year's Eve, as well as in episodes of 30 Rock, Curb Your Enthusiasm, The Good Wife, and two episodes of Law & Order.[239]

Bloomberg is a private pilot.[240] He owns six airplanes: three Dassault Falcon 900s, a Beechcraft B300, a Pilatus PC-24, and a Cessna 182 Skylane. Bloomberg also owns two helicopters: an AW109 and an Airbus helicopter[241] and as of 2012 was near the top of the waiting list for an AW609 tiltrotor aircraft.[242] In his youth he was a licensed amateur radio operator, was proficient in Morse code, and built ham radios.[243]

Awards and honors

Bloomberg has received honorary degrees from Tufts University (2007),[244] Bard College (2007),[245] Rockefeller University (2007),[246] the University of Pennsylvania (2008),[247] Fordham University (2009),[248][249] Williams College (2014),[250][251] Harvard University (2014),[252] the University of Michigan (2016),[253] and Washington University in St. Louis (2019).[254]

Bloomberg has received the Yale School of Management's Award for Distinguished Leadership in Global Capital Markets (2003);[255] Barnard College's Barnard Medal of Distinction (2008);[256] and the Jefferson Awards Foundation's U.S. Senator John Heinz Award for Greatest Public Service by an Elected or Appointed Official (2010).[257]

Bloomberg was named the 39th most influential person in the world in the 2007 and 2008 Time 100.[258] In October 2010, Vanity Fair ranked him #7 in its "Vanity Fair 100: The New Establishment 2010."[259]

Bloomberg was the speaker for Princeton University's 2011 baccalaureate service.[260]

In 2009, Bloomberg received a Healthy Communities Leadership Award from Leadership for Healthy Communities – a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation national program – for his policies and programs that increase access to healthful foods and physical activity options in the city.[261] For instance, to increase access to grocery stores in underserved areas, the Bloomberg administration developed a program called FRESH that offers zoning and financial incentives to developers, grocery store operators and land owners.[262] His administration also created a Healthy Bodega initiative, which provides healthful food samples and promotional support to grocers in lower-income areas to encourage them to carry one-percent milk and fruits and vegetables.[263] Under Bloomberg's leadership, the city passed a Green Carts bill,[264] which supports mobile produce vendors in lower-income areas; expanded farmers' markets using the city's Health Bucks program, which provides coupons to eligible individuals to buy produce at farmers' markets in lower-income areas;[265] and committed $111 million in capital funding for playground improvements.[266] New York also was one of the first cities in the nation to require fast-food and chain restaurants to label their menus with calorie information.[267]

In 2013, Bloomberg was chosen as the inaugural laureate of the Genesis Prize, a $1 million award to be presented annually for Jewish values;[268] he donated the prize money to a global competition, the Genesis Generation Challenge, to identify young adults' big ideas to better the world.[269]

In 2014, Queen Elizabeth II awarded Bloomberg as Honorary Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire for his "prodigious entrepreneurial and philanthropic endeavors, and the many ways in which they have benefited the United Kingdom and the U.K.-U.S. special relationship."[270]

In 2019, Bloomberg announced he would fund a conference at Washington University in St. Louis in early 2020 that will focus on mitigating the effects of climate change.[184][271]

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Further reading

External links

Business positions
New office Chief Executive Officer of Bloomberg L.P.
Succeeded by
Lex Fenwick
Preceded by
Daniel L. Doctoroff
Chief Executive Officer of Bloomberg L.P.
Party political offices
Preceded by
Rudy Giuliani
Republican nominee for Mayor of New York City
2001, 2005, 2009 (Endorsed)
Succeeded by
Joe Lhota
Political offices
Preceded by
Rudy Giuliani
Mayor of New York City
Succeeded by
Bill de Blasio