When all is said and done, Michael Bloomberg is expected to have spent over $100 million to get elected mayor of New York City for a third time. His opponent, Bill Thompson, spent less than $10 million. And still, the race came down to just a 5-point differential.
So while there must be those out there thinking that if Bloomberg only won by 5 points then he really did need to spend the equivalent of the GDP of Anguilla on his campaign, there are many others who wonder if in the end this was a good use of the multi-billionaire's money.
There's no denying that Bloomberg is one of the country's, if not the world's, greatest philanthropists. In fact, according to the New York Times Bloomberg is the greatest individual living donor in the United States, giving away $235 million in 2008 alone.
Two hundred and thirty million dollars. That's a lot of money. But so is $100 million.
After seeing how futilely that money seems to have been spent, how in the end the election was decided on merit and not money, it's hard not to imagine the possibilities of what one could do with that cash.
So we're putting out the call to readers, charities, organizations, schools -- everyone, asking for your ideas on how that money could have been better spent. Everything under the sun is acceptable, from from wells in Africa to sandwiches for every New Yorker to more cute pandas in zoos.
To take part, just hit the PARTICIPATE button below and add an image or video of what you think Bloomberg should have spent that money on. Please divide $100,000,000 by the cost of whatever it is to find out how many or how much he could have purchased or donated.
While you're at it, if you want to go ahead and click-through to some of the charities listed, they'd love to have your support. After all, it is the giving season!
500,000 laptops for children in the developing world. (Source: One Laptop Per Child)
Lease four pandas from China for 25 years.
416,667 cleft palate correction surgeries. (Source: Operation Smile)
Two $5 Foot Long sandwiches from Subway for every New Yorker (and drinks).
20,000 freshwater wells that provide 250+ people with clean drinking water each. (Source: Charity:Water)
Roughly make up for the MTA budget shortfall.
shimmymehta:$100M could have facilitated 20,000 Angelwish Giving Sprees (like this one with Kyra Sedgwick) where schoolchildren all around the country could learn about giving back by spending Mayor Bloomberg's money on granting holiday wishes to children living with HIV/AIDS.