Michael Bloomberg is not afraid to step outside his comfort zone, and it has propelled his success for decades. His fortunes were already pretty good in the early 80s when he got a $10 million partnership settlement after his then-employer, Salomon Brothers, was acquired. But they skyrocketed in 1981 when he cofounded Bloomberg L.P., a company that has evolved from delivering financial data to one that also provides software aimed at analytics and equity trading. The firm also has a very successful news agency, Bloomberg News, and a global television network, Bloomberg TV. There are also several websites, radio stations, subscription newsletters, and two magazines that all carry the Bloomberg moniker. Overall, Bloomberg’s company has over 176 locations worldwide and employs more than 20,000 people. After conquering the business world in no uncertain terms, Bloomberg decided to branch into politics and did so with the same gusto he’d applied to Bloomberg L.P. He was elected the 108th mayor of New York City in 2001. However, he’s still only the city’s third Jewish mayor. He also held that office for a very respectable three consecutive terms. While in office he steadfastly pursued a socially liberal yet fiscally conservative agenda that included establishing charter schools, rebuilding city infrastructure, especially after the 9/11 attacks, and initiating gun control measures and environmental protections. But after what anyone would say was a very successful run as New York City mayor, Bloomberg overshot a little when he decided to begin a bid for the presidency in 2020. He’d launched his campaign in late 2019, but by early 2020 he folded it after having won only 61 delegates.
Why They Made the Worthy 100: He may not have won the Oval Office, but Bloomberg is another billionaire who has signed the Giving Pledge designed by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. He also remains the second largest philanthropist in the U.S. as of 2021 (behind Bill and Melinda Gates). He’s donated between $5 and $20 million every year to the Carnegie Corporation and donated or pledged $767 million to a variety of causes in 2018 which he then bumped up to more than $1 billion in 2019. During the COVID-19 pandemic, he cofounded a $75 million fund aimed at supporting other nonprofits to address the impact of the pandemic in New York City. He also donated $6 million to the World Central Kitchen to help feed New Yorkers and then embarked on a series of non-financial aid, including a partnership with Johns Hopkins University to train COVID-19 contact tracers for school and public health facilities as well as leading New York’s contact tracing efforts in general. Bloomberg is also a vocal environmentalist who implemented measures to fight climate change while he was in office as Mayor of New York and after. In 2015 during the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris, Bloomberg accepted a leadership position for a new global task force designed to help industry and financial markets understand the long-term impact of climate change. That quickly seemed a necessary measure as then-President Trump announced the U.S. would be pulling out of the Paris climate accords. That only prompted Bloomberg to put together his own coalition of U.S. cities, states, universities, and businesses that all pledged support for environmental causes through “America’s Pledge.” All in all, Bloomberg may not have contributed as many dollars to philanthropic causes (yet) as some others in the billionaire set have, but he’s certainly been a driving force behind many of the civil and environmental changes.