Former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg has announced his plan to transfer his $12 billion company, Bloomberg LP, to Bloomberg Philanthropies in order to support his charitable giving. Bloomberg who, according to Forbes, has a net worth of around $95 billion, has previously donated extensively to charity, with over $14 billion having been given to arts and culture groups, education, environmental causes, public health programmes, and the development of city governments globally.
In 2020, according to the Bloomberg Foundation’s annual filing, Bloomberg put $822 million dollars into the foundation, which subsequently gave away $497 million in donations to almost 200 organisations, with individual grants ranging from $10,000 to $60 million. However, 60 per cent of the donations were made to just 10 organisations, with John’s Hopkins, the university that Bloomberg himself attended, being the top recipient with multiple gifts totalling $74.5 million.
The Bloomberg Family Foundation is just one part of Michael Bloomberg’s larger philanthropic operation, Bloomberg Philanthropies. In addition to money that flowed out of the foundation, Bloomberg personally gave another $1.1 billion to charities through other avenues last year.
Georgetown University law professor, Brian Galle, noted that ‘what is clear is that the donation signals that the tradition of wealthy philanthropists creating family foundations to handle their giving is a model that is becoming less and less satisfying to America’s super-rich. Instead, he added, more wealthy donors are turning to new charitable structures that allow them to avoid estate taxes.’
Bloomberg is not the first person to make such a move within the philanthropic sector. In 2022, Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard transferred full ownership of his $3 billion company to two entities, Patagonia Purpose Trust, and the environmental causes organisation, Holdfast Collective. The transfer of Bloomberg LP would however represent a far more significant donation as a result of the company’s revenue, which Forbes reported at $12.2 billion in 2022.
Simon Hungin is a freelance writer.