Billionaire businessman, and former New York City mayor, Michael Bloomberg, on Thursday released his annual letter detailing the priorities for his philanthropic organization – Bloomberg Philanthropies – while slamming Congress and President Trump for their inability to act on them.
Bloomberg weighed running as a candidate in the 2020 election, but decided in March to focus his efforts instead on financing opposition to Trump’s re-election and his charitable goals.
In his letter, he said there was a “leadership vacuum in the White House,” in addition to partisan gridlock in Congress – which was preventing the government from taking action on important issues.
“America and the world face enormous challenges,” he wrote. “And it’s safe to say that at least for the next two years … the federal government will make virtually no progress in meeting them.”
Bloomberg said he hoped to help advance a number of issues at the grassroots level now, rather than waiting another two years for a potential change in leadership at the government level.
Here’s a look at where the influential businessman is focusing his efforts:
Bloomberg’s Beyond Coal campaign aims to close every remaining coal-fired plant by 2030. His Beyond Carbon initiative wants to end America’s reliance on oil and gas dependence “as soon as possible” and transition to a fully clean energy economy.
Bloomberg recently pledged $500 million to his goal of closing every remaining U.S. coal plant – of which there are 241 – over the course of the next decade.
Bloomberg is a big contributor to Everytown for Gun Safety – which was formed about five years ago through the merger of Mayors Against Illegal Guns and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. The initiative advocates for “common-sense” reforms to build safer communities.
He also said his organization is helping cities advance laws to prevent gun violence.
To address the growing opioid crisis in America, Bloomberg Philanthropies will work to expand access to medications that can reverse an overdose and expand access to medically assisted treatment – including for inmates.
“We’ve heard a lot of talk from Washington, but the federal government has not provided adequate funding to address the epidemic or the breadth of services needed to help people who are addicted,” Bloomberg wrote.
Earlier this year, Bloomberg made headlines for a generous $1.8 billion donation to his alma mater Johns Hopkins University – which will help fund the institution’s federal aid program.
Bloomberg Philanthropies leads the American Talent Initiative, which aims to help more students from lower-income families graduate. His CollegePoint program helps those same students wade through the application process – including financial aid opportunities.
In addition to college, Bloomberg is investing in better public schools and apprenticeships.
Bloomberg said another one of his focuses is helping local leaders create innovative projects that can be copied around the country.