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Michael R. Bloomberg Pledges to Boost Osher Campaign

Photo of Michael BloombergOsher at JHU has a new benefactor: Former New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg.

Bloomberg, a Johns Hopkins University alumnus, has committed to match, dollar-for-dollar, contributions made to Osher’s fundraising campaign through June 30, said Mary Kay Shartle Galotto, director of Osher at JHU.  The donation will be made in memory of his mother, Charlotte, who died in 2011 at age 102.

Bloomberg has contributed more than $1 billion to his alma mater, including a $350 million contribution announced last year to bring innovation to higher education. The Osher commitment stems from his relationship with Shartle Galotto and her husband, who was a friend and roommate with Bloomberg when they were students at Johns Hopkins University. The families have remained close through the years, Shartle Galotto said.

Osher is trying to raise $50,000 by summer 2014. If Osher reaches that goal, the program would be eligible to apply for a $1 million grant from the Bernard Osher Foundation. Winning a $1 million grant would enable Osher at JHU to implement more social and academic activities and hire staff members to support the programming.

The grant application will be stronger if the Osher Foundation can clearly see that members support the program and embrace a culture of philanthropy.

Osher at JHU is trying to do most of its fundraising by securing individual gifts, pledges, corporate gifts and legacy contributions.

Bloomberg’s commitment “should increase the amount of participation because all donations will be matched,” Shartle Galotto said. “He’s doing this in memory of his mother. She was just a lovely, lovely lady, always a really important part of his life.”

The Osher fundraising campaign began in November. The effort got a boost in January with a concert by the Daryl Davis band. Approximately 220 people attended the event, which raised more than $2,000 for the campaign, said Susan Howard, Osher’s program coordinator.

The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at JHU offers education opportunities for retired and semi-retired adults. The program formally was called the Evergreen Society but changed its name in 2007 when the Bernard Osher Foundation approached Johns Hopkins University with an opportunity to become part of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes.

Osher has more than 800 members in Montgomery County. Shartle Galotto said fundraising among members continues to go well.

“These folks are incredibly generous,” Shartle Galotto said.