Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation: Wikis


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Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Founders Bill & Melinda Gates
Type Non-operating private foundation
(IRS exemption status): 501(c)(3)[1]
Founded 1994[2]
Headquarters Seattle, Washington
Staff Bill Gates, co-founder and co-chair
Melinda Gates, co-founder and co-chair
William H. Gates, Sr., co-chair
Jeff Raikes, CEO
Area served Global
Focus Education, Healthcare, Ending poverty
Method Donations and Grants
Endowment US$26.1 billion[3]
Employees 733[4]

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (B&MGF or the Gates Foundation) is the largest transparently operated[5] private foundation in the world, founded by Bill and Melinda Gates. The foundation is "driven by the interests and passions of the Gates family".[6] The primary aims of the foundation are, globally, to enhance healthcare and reduce extreme poverty, and in America, to expand educational opportunities and access to information technology. The foundation, based in Seattle, Washington, is controlled by its three trustees: Bill Gates, Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett. Other principal officers include Co-Chair William H. Gates, Sr. and Chief Executive Officer Jeff Raikes. It has an endowment of US$33.5 billion as of December 31, 2009.[4] The scale of the foundation and the way it seeks to apply business techniques to giving makes it one of the leaders in the philanthrocapitalism revolution in global philanthropy[7], though the foundation itself notes that the philanthropic role has limitations.[6] In 2007 its founders were ranked as the second most generous philanthropists in America.[8]



In 1994, the foundation was formed as the William H. Gates Foundation with an initial stock gift of US$94 million. In 1999, the foundation was renamed the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. After a merger with the Gates Learning Foundation in 2000, Gates gave an additional US$126 million.[2][9] During the foundation's following years, funding grew to US$2 billion. On June 15, 2006, Gates announced his plans to transition out of a day-to-day role with Microsoft, effective July 31, 2008,[10] to allow him to devote more time to working with the foundation.

Bill and Melinda Gates, along with the musician Bono, were named by Time as Persons of the Year 2005 for their charitable work. In the case of Bill and Melinda Gates, the work referenced was that of this foundation.


The Warren Buffett donation

On June 25, 2006, Warren Buffett (then the world's richest person, estimated worth of US$62 billion as of April 16, 2008) pledged to give the foundation approximately 10 million Berkshire Hathaway Class B shares spread over multiple years through annual contributions, worth approximately US$30 billion in 2006.[11] Buffett set conditions so that these contributions do not simply increase the foundation's endowment, but effectively work as a matching contribution, doubling the Foundation's annual giving: "Buffett's gift came with three conditions for the Gates foundation: Bill or Melinda Gates must be alive and active in its administration; it must continue to qualify as a charity; and each year it must give away an amount equal to the previous year's Berkshire gift, plus another 5 percent of net assets. Buffett gave the foundation two years to abide by the third requirement."[12] The Gates Foundation received 5% (500,000) of the shares in July 2006 and will receive 5% of the remaining earmarked shares in the July of each following year (475,000 in 2007, 451,250 in 2008).[13][14]


To maintain its status as a charitable foundation, it must donate at least 5% of its assets each year.[15] Thus the donations from the foundation each year would amount to over US$1.5 billion at a minimum.

The Foundation has been organized, as of April 2006, into four divisions, including core operations (public relations, finance and administration, human resources, etc.), under Chief Operating Officer Cheryl Scott, and three grant-making programs:

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will give hundreds of millions of dollars in the next few years to programs aimed at encouraging saving by the world's poor, the Wall Street Journal reported,[16] presumably under a new grant-making program.

On the 18 December 2008, the Clinton Foundation released a list of all contributors. It included the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which gave between US$10–25 million.[17]

Global Health Program

The President of the Global Health Program is Tachi Yamada. The Gates Foundation has quickly become a major influence upon global health; the approximately US$800 million that the foundation gives every year for global health approaches the annual budget of the United Nations World Health Organization (193 nations) and is comparable to the funds given to fight infectious disease by the United States Agency for International Development.[18] The Foundation currently provides 17% (US$86 million in 2006) of the world budget for the attempted eradication of poliomyelitis (polio).[19]

The Global Health Program's other significant grants include:

The Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization
The foundation gave The Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization a donation of US$750 million on January 25, 2005.[20][21]
Children's Vaccine Program
The Children's Vaccine Program, run by the Program for Appropriate Technology in Health (PATH), received a donation of US$27 million to help vaccinate against Japanese encephalitis on December 9, 2003.[22]
University of Washington Department of Global Health
The foundation provided approximately US$30 million for the foundation of the new Department of Global Health at the University of Washington in Seattle. The donation promoted three of the Foundation's target areas: education, Pacific Northwest and global health. The foundation also lead a study to increase access to high education globally.
HIV Research
The foundation has donated a grand total of US$287 million to various HIV/AIDS researchers. The money was split between sixteen different research teams across the world, on the condition that they share their findings with one another.[23]
Aeras Global TB Vaccine Foundation
The foundation gave the Aeras Global TB Vaccine Foundation more than US$280 million to develop and license an improved vaccine against tuberculosis for use in high burden countries.[24][25]
Visceral Leishmaniasis Research
The foundation awarded the Hebrew University of Jerusalem Kuvin Center for the Study of Infectious and Tropical Diseases a $5 million grant in 2009 for research into visceral leishmaniasis, an emerging parasitic disease in Ethiopia where it is frequently associated with HIV/AIDS, and a leading cause of adult illness and death. The project is a collaborative effort with Addis Ababa University and will gather data for analysis to identify the weak links in the transmission cycle and devise methods for control of the disease.[26]
The foundation has also given The Institute for OneWorld Health a donation of nearly US$10 million to support the organization's work on a drug for visceral leishmaniasis.

Global Development Program

President Sylvia Mathews leads the Global Development Program, which combats extreme poverty through grants such as the following:

Financial Services for the Poor

Financial Access Initiative
A $5 million grant allows Financial Access Initiative to do field research and answer important questions about micro finance and financial access in impoverished countries around the world.
Pro Mujer
A $3.1 million grant to Pro Mujer, a leading microfinance network in Latin America, and a pioneer at combining financial services with healthcare for the poorest women entrepreneurs. The five-year grant will be used to research new opportunities for serving the very poorest segment of the Latin American microfinance market.
Grameen Foundation
A $1.5 million grant allows Grameen Foundation to make more microloans, to support Grameen's goal of helping five million additional families and successfully freeing 50 percent of those families from poverty within five years.[27]

Agricultural Development

Rice Research
Between November 2007 and October 2010, the gates foundation will offer $19.9 million to the International Rice Research Institution. The aid is intended to support the increasing demand the world has placed on rice. The Bill and Melinda Gates foundation claims “To keep up with worldwide demand, the production of rice will have to increase by about 70 percent in the next two decades.”[28] Yielding higher grade crops will ensure local farmers get the best return out of their crop annually and be able to offer greater quantities.

The IRRI maintains that with the improvement of rice yields, not only will people reap the benefits of a more nutritious crop, advances in crop research will help sustain local economies. Rice that cost less to produce and yield greater amount makes the final product less expensive for consumers.[29]

Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA)
The Gates Foundation has partnered with the Rockefeller Foundation to enhance agricultural science and small-farm productivity in Africa, building on the Green Revolution which the Rockefeller Foundation spurred in the 1940s and 1960s. The Gates Foundation has made an initial $100 million investment in this effort, to which the Rockefeller foundation has contributed $50 million. Critics allege that the foundation has a preference to make grants which benefit multinational agribusiness, such as Monsanto,[30] which do not take into account many local needs in Africa[31].

Global Special Initiatives

The Foundation's Special Initiatives include responses to catastrophes as well as learning grants, which are used to experiment with new areas of giving. Currently, the Foundation is exploring water, hygiene and sanitation as a new focus within Global Development.

Indian Ocean Earthquake
The foundation made total grant donations of US$3 million to various charities to help with the aid effort for victims of the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake. These charities include:
Kashmir Earthquake
The foundation made a donation of US$500,000 for the 2005 Kashmir earthquake.[32]
Water, Hygiene and Sanitation
The Foundation is giving the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development US$1.2 million over three years to find new, sustainable ways to make water, sanitation and hygiene services safer and more affordable.

United States Program

Under President Allan Golston, the United States Program has made grants such as the following:

U.S. Libraries

In 1997, the foundation introduced a U.S. Libraries initiative with a goal of "ensuring that if you can get to a public library, you can reach the Internet." The foundation has given grants, installed computers and software, and provided training and technical support in partnership with public libraries nationwide.

Most recently, the foundation gave a $12.2-million grant to the Southeastern Library Network (SOLINET) to assist libraries in Louisiana and Mississippi on the Gulf Coast, many of which were damaged or destroyed by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.


Smaller Schools
Smaller high schools have shown to be more advantageous than large overpopulated schools. The Gates foundation claims one in five students is unable to read and grasp the contents of what they just read and African American and Latino students are graduating with the skills of a middle school student.[33] These are the resulting affects within many American high schools where the ratio between student and teacher far exceeds the limit. The Bill and Melinda Gates foundation has invested more than $250 million in grants to create new small schools and to transform large high schools through the schools-within-a-school model.[33] This model will divide large over populated schools and create smaller institutions within them encouraging closer relationships between student and teacher.
Carnegie Mellon University
The Foundation gave US$20 million to the Carnegie Mellon School of Computer Science for a new Computer Science building which will be named the Gates Center for Computer Science.[34]
D.C. Achievers Scholarships
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation announced March 22, 2007 a $122 million initiative to send hundreds of the District of Columbia's poorest students to college.[35]
Gates Cambridge Scholarships
Donated US$210 million in October 2000 to help outstanding graduate students outside of the United Kingdom study at the University of Cambridge. Approximately 100 new students every year are funded.[36]
Gates Millennium Scholars
Administered by the United Negro College Fund the foundation donated US$1.5 billion for scholarships to high achieving minority students.[37]
NewSchools Venture Fund
The Foundation contributed US$30 million to help NewSchools to manage more charter schools, which aim to prepare students in historically underserved areas for college and careers.
Strong American Schools
On April 25, 2007, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation joined forces with the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation pledging a joint $60 million to create Strong American Schools, a nonprofit project responsible for running ED in 08, an initiative and information campaign aimed at encouraging 2008 presidential contenders to include education in their campaign policies.[38]
The Texas High School Project

The project was set out to increase and improve high school graduation rates across Texas. The Bill and Melinda gates foundation has committed US$84.6 million to the project, beginning in 2003. The THSP focuses its efforts on high-need schools and districts statewide, with an emphasis on urban areas and the Texas-Mexico border.[39]

University Scholars Program
Donated US$20 million in 1998 to endow a scholarship program at Melinda Gates' alma mater, Duke University.[40] The program provides full scholarships to about 10 members of each undergraduate class and one member in each class in each of the professional schools (Schools of Medicine, Business, Law, Divinity, Environment, and Nursing), as well as to students in the Graduate School pursuing doctoral degrees in any discipline. Graduate and professional school scholars serve as mentors to the undergraduate scholars, who are chosen on the basis of financial need and potential for interdisciplinary academic interests. Scholars are chosen each spring from new applicants to Duke University's undergraduate, graduate, and professional school programs. The program features seminars to bring these scholars together for interdisciplinary discussions and an annual spring symposium organized by the scholars.
Washington State Achievers Scholarship
The Washington State Achievers program encourages schools to create cultures of high academic achievement while providing scholarship support to select college-bound students.
William H. Gates Public Service Law Program
This program awards five full scholarships annually to the University of Washington School of Law. Scholars commit to working in relatively low-paying public service legal positions for at least the first five years following graduation.[41]

Pacific Northwest

Discovery Institute
Donated US$1 million in 2000 to the Discovery Institute and pledged US$9.35 million over 10 years in 2003, including US$50,000 of Bruce Chapman's US$141,000 annual salary. According to a Gates Foundation grant maker, this grant is "exclusive to the Cascadia project" on regional transportation, and it may not be used for the Institute's other activities, including promotion of intelligent design[citation needed].
Rainier Scholars
Donated US$1 million
Computer History Museum
Donated US$15 million to the museum in October, 2005.[42]


In October 2006 the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation was split into two entities: the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Trust, which manages the endowment assets and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which "... conducts all operations and grantmaking work, and it is the entity from which all grants are made."[43][44] Also announced was the decision to "... spend all of [the Trust's] resources within 50 years after Bill's and Melinda's deaths."[45][46][47][48] This would close the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Trust and effectively end the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. In the same announcement it was reiterated that Warren Buffett "... has stipulated that the proceeds from the Berkshire Hathaway shares he still owns at death are to be used for philanthropic purposes within 10 years after his estate has been settled."[45]

The plan to close the Foundation Trust is in contrast to most large charitable foundations that have no set closure date. This is intended to lower administrative costs over the years of the Foundation Trust's life and ensure that the Foundation Trust not fall into a situation where the vast majority of its expenditures are on administrative costs, including salaries, with only token amounts contributed to charitable causes.[46]


Creative capitalism

On January 31, 2008 at the World Economic Forum Bill Gates introduced the idea of a new form of capitalism that is based upon recognition. This idea attempts to harness the power of capitalism by balancing the scales of capital and philanthropy. Gates says, "The challenge is to design a system where market incentives, including profits and recognition, drive the change."[49] In cases where companies are unable to profit from donations or acts of charity, Gates maintains that corporations should receive some form of recognition in order to balance their "loss". Therefore recognition itself becomes a form of capital. Adam Smith asserts that the greatest gain to any person is witnessing the well being of others. Gates manipulates the ideas of Smith by adding, "Creative Capitalism takes this interest in the fortunes of others and ties it to our interest in our own fortunes—in ways that help advance both."[49]


The foundation invests the assets that it has not yet distributed, with the exclusive goal of maximizing the return on investment. As a result, its investments include companies that have been criticized for worsening poverty in the same developing countries where the Foundation is attempting to relieve poverty. These include companies that pollute heavily and pharmaceutical companies that do not sell into the developing world.[50] In response to press criticism, the foundation announced in 2007 a review of its investments to assess social responsibility.[51] It subsequently cancelled the review and stood by its policy of investing for maximum return, while using voting rights to influence company practices.[52]

Mixed reviews

AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria are three of the world’s largest killers. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has donated millions of dollars to help sufferers of these diseases. It seems however that the funding from the foundation has failed to reach the particular needs of societal health that parallel the problems of these major infectious diseases. A Los Angeles Times investigation highlights three major problems with the foundation's allocation of aid. First, "by pouring most contributions into the fight against such high-profile killers as AIDS, Gates guarantees have increased the demand for specially trained, higher-paid clinicians, diverting staff from basic care."[53] This form of "brain drain", pulls away trained staff from children and those suffering from other common killers. Second, "the focus on a few diseases has shortchanged basic needs such as nutrition and transportation…."[53] Food is often taken with medications; if an individual is suffering from starvation it may be impossible to stomach the medication meant to help them. The availability of medication to people may be limited or out of reach because those in need may not be able to afford the cost of transportation. Finally, "Gates-funded vaccination programs have instructed caregivers to ignore – even discourage patients from discussing – ailments that the vaccinations cannot prevent."[53] With such concentrated focus on the vaccinations that are made available, talk of any other ailments may congest patient outpost and vaccination lines. Additionally, hindering people the chance to discuss other ailments is problematic, because a trip to a vaccination line may be the only contact that person will have with healthcare personal for many months if not years.


The Gates Millennium Scholars fund, according to its official website's frequently asked questions section, only provides scholarships to African American, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian, Pacific Islander American or Hispanic American applicants.[54] An op-ed by Ernest W. Lefever, published in the Los Angeles Times on November 1, 1999, criticized the program for its exclusion of Caucasians, saying that the scholarships will "further inflame racial tensions, delay the achievement of a colorblind society and subvert the cherished virtue of reward by merit."[55]

Diversion of health care resources

In a January/February 2007 Foreign Affairs article, Laurie Garrett claims that many charitable organizations, among whom the Gates Foundation is prominent, harm global health by diverting resources from other important local health care services.[56] For example, by paying relatively high salaries at AIDS clinics, the foundation diverts medical professionals from other parts of developing nations' health care systems; the health care systems' ability to provide care diminishes (except in the area the foundation funds) and the charities may do more harm than good. Similar findings were reported in a December 2007 Los Angeles Times investigation.[57]


See also

Notes and references

  1. ^ FoundationCenter.orgBill & Melinda Gates Foundation, accessed 2009-06-20
  2. ^ a b
  3. ^ Endowment value as of February 28, 2009."Latest Market Values of Big Endowments at 112 Nonprofit Groups". The Chronicle of Philanthropy: p. 8. 2009-06-04. 
  4. ^ a b Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. "Fact Sheet". Retrieved 2008-11-29. 
  5. ^ On May 11, 2006 The Economist reported that the Stichting INGKA Foundation is technically the world's largest private foundation while also alleging that the foundation's primary purposes are tax avoidance and anti-takeover protection for the home furnishings retail group IKEA.[1]
  6. ^ a b Guiding Principles
  7. ^
  8. ^ The 50 most generous Americans
  9. ^
  10. ^ "Microsoft Announces Plans for July 2008 Transition for Bill Gates". Microsoft PressPass. 2006-06-15. 
  11. ^ "Warren Buffett gives away his fortune". Fortune (Time Warner via 2008-03-05. Retrieved 2007-12-10. 
  12. ^ [2] [3] [4]
  13. ^ FORTUNE Magazine: How Buffett's giveaway will work - June 25, 2006
  14. ^
  15. ^ Private Family Foundations
  16. ^ Latin America
  17. ^ Contributor Information to the William J. Clinton Foundation
  18. ^ Gates Foundation out to break the cycle of disease, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, December 8, 2003
  19. ^
  20. ^ GAVI Alliance (2005-01-24). "Gates Foundation, Norway Contribute $1 Billion to Increase Child Immunization in Developing Countries". Press release. Retrieved 2007-10-24. 
  21. ^ Thomson, Iain (2005-01-25). "Bill Gates gives $750m to help African children". Retrieved 2007-10-24. 
  22. ^ Program for Appropriate Technology in Health (2003-12-09). "Children's Vaccine Program Receives Grant From Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to Combat Japanese Encephalitis". Press release. Retrieved 2007-10-24. 
  23. ^ "Gates gives $287m to HIV research". BBC News. 2006-07-20. Retrieved 2007-10-24. 
  24. ^ Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Announcement (2004-02-12). "Gates Foundation Commits $82.9 Million to Develop New Tuberculosis Vaccines". 
  25. ^ Nightingale, Katherine (2007-09-19). "Gates foundation gives US$280 million to fight TB". 
  26. ^ $5m for disease control in Ethiopia in Israel 21c Innovation News Service Retrieved 2009-12-30
  27. ^ Grameen Foundation (2006-08-29). "Gates Foundation Awards $1.5 Million to Grameen Foundation". Press release. Retrieved 2007-10-26. 
  28. ^
  29. ^
  30. ^ Ending Africa's Hunger The Nation, September 2 2009
  31. ^ AGRA Watch, a program of Community Alliance for Global Justice that monitors the Gates Foundation.
  32. ^ Pakistan Earthquake Homeless Number May Surpass Tsunami
  33. ^ a b Tom Vander Ark, The Case for Smaller Schools; Vol 59, No. 5 January 2002, pg 55-59
  34. ^ [5],
  35. ^ Bill Gates Gives $122M for D.C. Scholarships.. March 23, 2007.
  36. ^
  37. ^ [6],
  38. ^ Billionaires Start $60 Million Schools Effort
  39. ^
  40. ^ scholarship program, Duke University
  41. ^ Gates Public Service Law | UW School of Law - Public Service
  42. ^ "Gates cheers on computer museum". BBC News. 2005-10-17. Retrieved 2007-10-24. 
  43. ^ Gates Foundation Announces That It Doesn't Plan to Operate Forever
  44. ^ About the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Trust
  45. ^ a b Announcements - Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  46. ^ a b The Chronicle, 11/29/2006: Gates Foundation Announces That It Doesn't Plan to Operate Forever
  47. ^ Gates foundation to spend all assets within 50 years of trustees' deaths
  48. ^ Gates Foundation Sets Its Lifespan
  49. ^ a b
  50. ^ Dark cloud over good works of Gates Foundation, Los Angeles Times, January 7, 2006
  51. ^ Gates Foundation to review investments, The Seattle Times, January 10, 2007
  52. ^ [Gates Foundation to maintain its investment plan], The Austin Statesman, January 14, 2007
  53. ^ a b c LA Times, Unintended Victims of Gates Foundation Generosity
  54. ^ See "What are the eligibility criteria for the GMS program?"
  55. ^ Times Archives: Bill Gates' 'Diversity' Subverts Merit
  56. ^ The Challenge of Global Health Foreign Affairs, January/February 2007
  57. ^ Piller, Charles; Smith, Doug (2007-12-16). "Unintended victims of Gates Foundation generosity". Los Angeles Times.,0,6256166,full.story?coll=la-home-center. 
  58. ^ Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
  59. ^

External links


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