Bloomberg top living philanthropist of 2008

By A. James Memmott

January 31, 2009 at 9:33am

New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, a billionaire, made progress last year on his effort to give away most of his fortune in his lifetime.

Bloomberg’s $235 million in gifts to 1,200 not-for-profit organizations made him the top living U.S. donor in 2008, according to The Chronicle of Philanthropy’s annual survey.

“As the economy took a turn from bad to worse, I felt it was the right time - the essential time - for someone like me, someone who’s been so fortunate in my own life, to step up and give back even more,” Bloomberg, the founder of Bloomberg L.P., a financial information company, said. “I don’t think of it only as a responsibility, but as a privilege.”

Michael R. Bloomberg
Michael R. Bloomberg

According to the Chronicle, the recipients included Johns Hopkins Medicine to help in support of a children’s hospital and the Robin Hood Foundation, the New York City anti-poverty effort. Bloomberg also gave to Stand Up to Cancer, a California group.

Bloomberg did not reveal the amounts he gave to each group.

This was the sixth year since 1998, when he gave away $45 million, that Bloomberg has been on the list. In 2007, he donated $205 million.

Bloomberg has established The Bloomberg Family Foundation, and he once said that he would devote himself to philanthropy when he finished his second term as mayor at the end of this year.

However, Bloomberg now intends to run for a third time, having successfully lobbied for City Council legislation that set aside a term-limit ordinance.

While Bloomberg led the list of Americans who have made good on their pledges, if bequests and uncompleted pledges by living donors are taken into account, Bloomberg is ninth on the Chronicle’s list.

The late Leona M. Helmsley led the list, with her $5.2 billion bequest to the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust.

The foundation, which already has a value of approximately $2.9 billion, was established in March 2003 for the care and welfare of dogs.

At one time, the foundation’s mission statement also called for money to be spent on medical care for indigent people, but Helmsley eliminated that goal in 2004, the Chronicle reported.

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  • #1.   green ball 04.14.2010

    I heard a radio comment, prox April 10,2010, about Bloomberg family trust actually giving away large sums of money to individuals with new ideas, such as involving energy projects. Obviously I have energy projects in need of funding. Please confirm or deny such news.

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