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Bloomberg And Allen Boost Their Health Giving

Filed by KOSU News in Health.
March 22, 2012

A couple of really rich guys have decided to give even more money to health causes they care about deeply.

New York Mayor, media magnate and public health zealot Michael Bloomberg said he will give $220 million to fight smoking in the developing world. Bloomberg’s charitable foundation has targeted tobacco use.

And the latest chunk of money, which is part of a four-year commitment, will bring Bloomberg Philanthropies’ support of anti-smoking efforts around the globe to more than $600 million.

“It is a scourge, all over the world,” Bloomberg said in a press conference, according to Bloomberg News. “Smoking kills the user, but it also can kill the people who are innocent and just happen to be in the neighborhood, if you will.”

Scores of countries have used Bloomberg’s money to help curb smoking. And more than 1 billion people live in countries that have put anti-tobacco policies in place since 2007, according to Bloomberg Philanthropies.

The new pledge came at the 15th World Conference on Tobacco and Health, where Bloomberg also doled out awards (named after him) to recognize various countries’ efforts to reduce tobacco use. Uruguay’s health ministry got one for graphic warnings on cigarette packs. Egypt’s finance ministry got one for raising tobacco taxes.

Separately, Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft along with another guy who’s pretty big in health philanthropy, said he’ll give $300 million over four years to the Allen Institute for Brain Science. All told, he’s now in for around $500 million.

“As someone who has been touched by the impact of a neurodegenerative disease — my mother has Alzheimer’s — there’s both a fascination in basic research and the hope that we can move things forward,” Allen said during a news conference, according to Mother Nature Network’s John Platt.

The institute is trying to figure out how the human brain works — and how it malfunctions. Allen’s latest pledge will support a decade-long project that would double the size of the institute’s research staff. [Copyright 2012 National Public Radio]

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