Over the course of his long and fruitful career, Mike Bloomberg has played many roles: software engineer, business executive, politician, and public servant. Many Americans outside of New York only know him as the former mayor and presidential candidate with a hefty bank account or are merely familiar with the news service that bears his name. But before he was a public figure or billionaire, he was a forward-thinker, managing to successfully use information technology in financial markets before the PC boom. Since building his company from start-up to success, he has amassed a personal fortune, but now the elder statesman is committed to giving back as much as possible.
Bloomberg’s name may evoke thoughts of New York City, but before he ran the world’s financial capital, he grew up a native Bostonian. After high school, Bloomberg attended Baltimore’s largest private research school, The Johns Hopkins University. As his legend entails, he funded his education through private loans and part-time work, earning a B.A. in Electrical Engineering while parking cars in his spare time. He returned to the Boston area to attend Harvard Business School before directing his attention toward Wall Street. Nearly fifty years later, Bloomberg is focused squarely on philanthropy, and his undergraduate alma mater is one of the largest beneficiaries.
By 2019, Bloomberg’s financial commitments to Johns Hopkins had surpassed $3 billion, making him the most generous benefactor to an American university ever. The business magnate’s intention with such a grand investment is to create permanent “need-blind admission” for potential students, allowing many more low-and-middle-income students to attend the school without incurring devastating student loan debt. Additionally, the institution built a brand-new department, the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, as well as funding the Bloomberg-Kimmel Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy.
Many would hesitate to describe Bloomberg as a benevolent billionaire, but he is making a strong case through his philanthropy. His generosity has extended to other schools, including Harvard, and he is a vocal advocate for environmental issues on the global level. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, he partnered with his alma maters to kickstart contact testing and training, and the former mayor contributed greatly to non-profits in New York City to keep them afloat. Although Bloomberg’s days in public service have officially ended, he is certainly still dedicated to making the best of his bounty.