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Rising to $1 billion

Bloomberg School exceeds $1B for University's Rising to the Challenge Campaign

Jiou Wang

The Bloomberg School’s still-surging Rising to the Challenge fundraising campaign marked a major milestone in early February, surpassing $1 billion in gifts and grants. Since the Campaign began in January 2010, the Bloomberg School has established 48 professorships (including 8 Bloomberg Distinguished Professorships shared with other divisions), received millions in new student financial aid and launched 3 new research centers—all thanks to private funding from thousands of individuals, corporations and foundations.

The School’s Centennial inspired donors to establish or enhance 29 endowed scholarships and 30 Centennial Scholars $10,000 term scholarships. The Centennial culminated in September 2016 with the announcement of the Bloomberg Philanthropies’ transformative $300 million investment in the Bloomberg American Health Initiative.

The campaign has already made an impact on the School and the health of populations around the globe, and is still going strong toward its June 2018 conclusion. Donors to the School are supporting the success of the University’s campaign, which in March 2016 announced its goal would be increased from $4.5 billion to $5 billion.

Science to prevent disease

Philanthropy has armed the School’s researchers to fight major infectious diseases such as dengue, the world’s most prevalent mosquito-borne virus. Early gifts are seeing results: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation support of Dr. Anna Durbin’s work with dengue resulted in a landmark NIH clinical trial of a new vaccine that protected 100 percent of human volunteers.

Annual gifts of all sizes have made a difference through the Faculty Innovation Fund, which provides seed money for initial proof-of-concept research.  An award from the Fund helped Dr. Jiou Wang’s team earn more substantial grant funding that led to a pathbreaking discovery of a molecular trigger for ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease). With NIH and other federal funding in jeopardy, we must continue to increase private funding to empower more ingenious researchers like these.

Scholarships for future public health leaders

Individual donors have an enormous impact on public health by supporting future leaders through endowed scholarships. One early campaign gift from Bill and Nancy Yang created an MPH scholarship that has yielded outstanding dividends for human health on three continents, including a Vietnamese pharmacist investigating whether a common cholesterol-lowering drug may also prevent heart disease and cancer. More than 100 scholarships have been established thus far, yet with a student body of 2,200, the need remains great, particularly for PhD and DrPH students.

Centers and professorships super-charge innovation

Gifted faculty and academic centers comprise the intellectual core of world-class universities. Generous campaign donors have enhanced the Bloomberg School’s impact by establishing the Lerner Center for Public Health Promotion, Moore Center for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse and Wendy Klag Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities.  Newly endowed professorships provide the means to recruit or retain leading faculty like Bloomberg Professor of Disease Prevention Joanna Cohen, who is fighting the global spread of tobacco, and Chris Beyrer, the inaugural Desmond M. Tutu Professor in Public Health and Human Rights.

Whether through annual gifts that sustain the School’s core funding or through the life-changing commitment of an endowed scholarship, our donors give of themselves in the name of public health. As enrollments and traditional funding sources fluctuate, and as we anticipate the transition to a new dean, we must not lose momentum. Please join us in supporting the Bloomberg School’s mission to equip students and faculty to protect health and save lives—millions at a time.