Michael Bloomberg cites his 12-year tenure as New York’s mayor for his appreciation of “government’s ability to be a force for good and a catalyst for global change.”
Now his Bloomberg Philanthropies is leveraging its resources to push those changes forward, he writes in his foundation’s annual letter.
The foundation believes in “big, bold ideas,” chief executive Patricia Harris writes in an accompanying letter.
“We’re entrepreneurial at heart and apply the best lessons from business and government to the management of our global philanthropic work,” Harris writes.
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In his letter, Bloomberg gives pride of place to his successful effort as mayor to ban smoking in bars, restaurants and all indoor workplaces as an example of government’s being a force for good.
Other cities around the world have adopted similar measures. Bloomberg Philanthropies is striving to accelerate the anti-tobacco movement by focusing on government advocacy, he says.
The foundation’s advocacy is also pushing governments to confront the challenge of climate change. It supports the C40 Cities Climate Leadership group, a global forum to strategize on ways to address climate change.
It has also partnered with the Sierra Club to get communities in the U.S. to replace coal power plants with cleaner energy sources.
Critical as such advocacy is, Bloomberg writes, philanthropy can also give government leaders, who understandably have to pick and choose their fights, the backbone to join the toughest battles by showing them that these can be won.