Thursday, May 14, 2015

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio...

...has a problem and I think I can help.

From an article in yesterday's New York Times, "Public Schools Fund, Under de Blasio, Is Struggling to Lure Wealthy Donors" (my emphasis):

The Fund for Public Schools, the nonprofit organization that former Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and his schools chancellors built into a fund-raising juggernaut, has struggled to attract donations under Mayor Bill de Blasio.

The fund, which raised an average of $29 million a year over the last decade, has raised just $18 million this fiscal year, which ends June 30, fund officials said.

Allow me to be of assistance.

Apparently, there's a resident of de Blasio's own fine city by the name of Stephen Schwarzman; he was just in the paper for donating $150 million to his alma mater, Yale. I can't believe Mayor de Blasio has never heard of him!

According to Wikipedia, this Schwarzman guy is a self-made billionaire. Before graduating from Yale and Harvard Business School, he had a typical, middle-class upbringing in suburban Philadelphia where he attended public schools. And Schwarzman's (current) wife, the daughter of a fireman, grew up on Long Island. Since neither he nor his wife were "to the manner born," they should certainly understand the value of public education. And even though they live in a Park Avenue apartment worth over $30 million, I'm sure the Schwarzmans haven't forgotten their humble roots.

What's more, this obscure Wall Street financier is no stranger to philanthropy. Besides that $150 million gift to Yale this week (doesn't Mayor de Blasio read the New York Times?), Mr. Schwarzman contributed $100 million toward the expansion of the New York Public Library in 2008. And just two years ago, in 2013, Schwarzman announced a $100 million personal gift to establish and endow a scholarship program in China.

My advice to Mayor de Blasio would be to have someone on his staff find this guy's phone number and give him a call. With Schwarzman's money and track record of giving, I bet he'd be thrilled to write a check for $11 million to make up that shortfall. (He could probably find the dough behind the cushions of one of his couches.)

Mayor de Blasio, you can thank me for uncovering this guy next time I'm in the Big Apple. You can also answer a question for me: Why are the New York public schools so dependent on the whims and largesse of wealthy individuals? I guess I'm just a country bumpkin from the Midwest, but I always thought public services were supposed to be funded by taxes.

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