Bloomberg Philanthropies: Grants for Higher Education

OVERVIEW: Bloomberg Philanthropies was started by Michael Bloomberg, the founder of media and financial company Bloomberg LP, former New York City mayor, and one of the richest men in the world. The foundation funds public health, environment, education, government innovation, and arts & culture. Bloomberg's education program focuses on education reform advocacy, leadership building, and increasing low-income high school students' chances of getting into top-tier colleges.

IP TAKE: In addition to its education focus, much of Bloomberg's higher education invests in universities whose work directly ties to one of its other giving priorities. Grants are by invitation only, but Bloomberg seeks new projects and ideas.

PROFILE: Bloomberg Philanthropies was started by Michael Bloomberg, the founder of media and financial company Bloomberg LP, former New York City mayor, and one of the richest men in the world. Bloomberg earned degrees from Harvard Business School and Johns Hopkins University. His foundation “focuses on five key areas for creating lasting change: public health, environment, education, government innovation, and arts & culture.”

The Education program breaks down into three key areas. Policy grants work to “strengthen America’s educational system by supporting effective policies aimed at improving student outcomes.” College Access and Success grants aim to “aim to directly help students apply to, enroll in and graduate from top institutions by providing support and guidance.” Career and Technical Education grants “help students obtain credentials or certifications and work experience during high school in order to secure jobs after graduation.” Therefore, Bloomberg’s education program largely invests in college readiness and technical education, rather than supporting university research.

Colleges and universities sometimes receive grants across Bloomberg’s other focus areas. In Government Innovation, for example, New York University received a grant of more than $850,000 to support an urban planning course at the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service and Public Policy. The foundation also supports Arts & Culture in part through giving to the University of Maryland’s DeVos Institute of Arts Management, which “provides training, consultation, and implementation support for arts managers and their boards.” Furthermore, the foundation also supports Bloomberg’s alma maters, Harvard and Johns Hopkins. At the former, Bloomberg Philanthropies has supported the Harvard Kennedy School Government Performance Lab and the Johns Hopkins, which received a record $1.8 billion in 2018.

Bloomberg Philanthropies’ grants are large, in the hundreds of thousands are even millions of dollars. It does not have a searchable grants database, but does publish its Annual Reports online.

Bloomberg prefers to work with established partners and does not accept unsolicited proposals, but it does invite interested grantseekers to submit a letter of inquiry through its Online Form.

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