Bloomberg Calls End to Unusual Charity Program

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Michael Bloomberg, the richest New Yorker and the city’s biggest philanthropist, is terminating a program that funneled close to $200 million of his fortune into nonprofit groups through his philanthropic trust, according to the Times. Though the decision has not been made public yet, arts and social-services groups are starting to panic a bit, says the paper, as they have been dependent on this funding to operate smoothly.

Since 2001, the mayor has donated money to a variety of groups throughout the five boroughs via the trust, the Carnegie Corporation of New York. But, as one might imagine, this practice has raised some eyebrows.

“The gifts reflect the often blurred roles Mr. Bloomberg plays in the city as mayor, tycoon and philanthropist,” the Times notes. “And while the donations earned him praise from grateful recipients, who regarded him as an enlightened billionaire, they also drew rebukes from elected leaders who argued that he bought political acquiescence with his checkbook.”

It is unclear how Bloomberg will restructure his philanthropic donations, and neither he nor his aides spoke to the Times. The Carnegie funds have helped to support 600 theaters, dance troupes, museums, and other groups, the paper says.

Bloomberg Is Ending a Charitable Program [NYT]