Michael Bloomberg will be the featured speaker at an April 6 N.Y.U. event focusing on the financial challenges faced by nonprofit organizations in this economic climate.
It should be interesting for a number of reasons, the foremost being that Bloomberg gives away more money to charity than pretty much anyone.
He’s also profited handsomely, in political terms, from his philanthropy, and has come under criticism for leveraging his vast wealth—a carrot-and-carrot approach, more or less—to discourage dissent among people associated with nonprofits and cultural institutions. Most recently, his donations helped him muster support for extending term limits. In 2004, Bloomberg and Deputy Mayor Patti Harris were criticized for leaning heavily on cultural institutions to prevent their board members from contributing the mayor's political opponent, Gifford Miller.
Here’s the announcement from N.Y.U.:
NYU WAGNER PRESENTS ‘NONPROFITS IN NYC: FACING THE CHALLENGES,’ WITH MAYOR MICHAEL R. BLOOMBERG – MONDAY, APRIL 6
The Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at New York University and its dean, Ellen Schall, will present a one-hour public forum Monday, April 6, 2009 – starting at 2 p.m. — with Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg entitled “Nonprofits In NYC: Facing the Challenges.”
The discussion will focus on the serious implications of the global economic slump for nonprofits in New York City, as well as the Bloomberg administration’s initiatives – to be announced at the event — to provide immediate assistance. Mayor Bloomberg will deliver the event’s keynote address.
Doors open at 1:30 p.m. at Eisner & Lubin Auditorium, NYU’s Kimmel Center, 60 Washington Square South, 4th Floor. The program will begin promptly at 2 p.m.
UPDATE: The following are facts: 1) Michael Bloomberg gives a ton of money to good causes and 2) his philanthropy has, by and large, been an unmitigated boon to him in terms of public and institutional goodwill.
This much is logical, and obvious, and doesn't strike me as anything that can or ought to be held against the mayor politically.
As for the aformentioned complaints that the administration has, in the past, attempted to leverage Bloomberg's giving to squelch political dissent, the criticism is what it is. But, as an interested reader asks me to note, the mayor's largesse toward nonprofit groups hasn't meant that he always gets his way with them.
Specifically, the reader points out, three groups the mayor has contributed money to—Citizens Union, Common Cause and the N.A.A.C.P.—opposed the extension of term limits. The exact amount of money the mayor gave them is unknown, since Bloomberg and his people do not discuss that publicly.