Bloomberg plans to launch a contest where 600 European cities will have a chance to become Groundbreakers in local government.
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Michael Bloomberg / Getty
Having amassed a personal fortune of several billion dollars and run one of the world’s largest and most challenging cities for the past 12 years, you would think that Michael Bloomberg would be looking to be taking it easy for a while. However that is far from the case.
Among the number of projects that Bloomberg intends to take up once leaves his role as mayor of New York City, he will be dipping slightly into his considerable personal fortune, pulling out a mere $12 million, or more accurately €9 million, that he will be putting up for grabs between no less than 600 medium to large sized European cities spread out across 40 countries.
The criteria to be eligible to take part in the competition are that the city must house 100, 000 or more residents. Outright winners will pick up a €5 million prize while four runner-up cities will each receive a consolation prize of €1 million. Winners of the awards will be announced next fall.
The prizewinning cities will have to prove to Bloomberg and members of his private foundation funded campaign that winners of the European Mayor’s challenge have introduced novel plans to improve urban life, through solving problems or making local and city government more efficient as well as more friendly towards its inhabitants.
The European version of the competition is closely modeled on the Bloomberg Philanthropies contest that awarded prizes totaling $9 million to five U.S. cities this year.
In announcing the European version of his competition Bloomberg stated that he had become a big believer in the power of cities to shape the future going on to predict that the contest would succeed in spotlighting bold ideas which can take root in Europe and spread around the world.
In the recently completed U.S. version of the Mayors Challenge, the $5 million top prize went to Providence, Rhode Island, who instigated an innovative project aimed to improve poor children’s vocabulary, pending their appearance approval, through fitting them with recording devices, that was capable of counting the number of words that their children hear, subsequently providing material to help parents coach their children to increase their vocabulary.
The four other cities that won prizes of $1 million apiece were Houston, Philadelphia, Chicago and Santa Monica.
Michael Bloomberg has made it an open secret that the principal focus of his activities after he leaves the post of mayor of New York will be largely philanthropic including promoting government innovation among its principal priorities. The Bloomberg foundation already supports a number of environmental, education, health and arts projects, donating a total of $370 million to these causes among others in 2012.
Michael Bloomberg was born and raised in the Brighton neighborhood of Boston. Bloomberg attended Johns Hopkins University, from where he graduated in 1964 with a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering, going on to study at the. Harvard Business School where he gained a Master of Business Administration degree.
Bloomberg embarked on his professional career at the Wall Street investment bank and securities brokerage Salomon Brothers after graduating. In 1973, Bloomberg was appointed to the role of general partner, where he headed the equity trading department. In 1981, Salomon Brothers were taken over and Bloomberg was laid off , and handed a generous $10 million severance package, was enough to allow him to form Bloomberg communication which he grew over the next twenty years to a multibillion-dollar media corporation, before stepping down to become Mayor of New York City.