So, what is the Gates Foundation all about? Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to reduce inequities and improve lives around the world. In developing countries, it focuses on improving health, reducing extreme poverty, and increasing access to technology in public libraries. In the United States, the foundation seeks to ensure that all people have access to a great education and to technology in public libraries. In its local region, it focuses on improving the lives of low-income families. Based in Seattle, the foundation is led by CEO Patty Stonesifer and Co-chairs William H. Gates Sr., Bill Gates, and Melinda French Gates. (from www.gatesfoundation.org)
What has the Gates Foundation done? The foundation donated $1 Billion to the United Negro College Fund for minority scholarships. The foundation's grants have provided funds for, AIDS prevention, diseases that strike mainly in the Third World, and other causes. The Foundation currently provides 90% of the world budget for the attempted eradication of poliomyelitis (polio), the World Health Organization having "moved on" to other diseases. In June 1999, Gates and his wife donated US$5 billion to the foundation. They have donated more than US$100 million to help children suffering from AIDS. On January 26, 2005, it was announced that the Foundation had made a further contribution of US$750 million to the international Vaccine Fund to help fight diseases such as diphtheria, whooping cough, measles, poliomyelitis and yellow fever. As of 2006, the foundation has an endowment of approximately US$26.9 billion. To maintain its status as a charitable foundation, it must donate at least 5% of its assets each year. Thus the donations from the foundation each year would amount to over $1 billion at a minimum. (from www.wikipedia.org)
Bill Gates takes philanthropy very seriously. He looks for the best human return on his investment in order to make a real difference in the world. It is hard work to sort through all the requests to find the ones that are effective and can really improve the lives of the most people. Gates is not interested in having his name plastered on libraries and museums that mostly rich people enjoy. He wants the money to benefit the poor people in real demonstrable ways.
The world is a better place because of Bill Gates, and he will make sure in his remaining years that his real legacy is that of a humanitarian. Bono from U2 is one of his best friends and has influenced and inspired him greatly. The world is a better place for both of them. Hats off to you both!