Bill and Melinda Gates' post-divorce donations top $3B
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, founded in 2010, has an endowment of more than $50 billion
Since Bill and Melinda Gates announced their high-profile divorce, the pair has donated over $3 billion to philanthropic causes through their foundation even as she prepares to take a more solo approach to philanthropy.
MELINDA FRENCH GATES NO LONGER PLEDGES BULK OF HER WEALTH TO GATES FOUNDATION
Last June, the foundation announced a $2.1 billion commitment over five years to advance women's economic empowerment, strengthen women and girls' health and family planning and accelerate women's leadership. Three months later, the pair said they would commit $922 million over five years to ensure women and children across the globe have the nutrition they need to live healthy and productive lives.
Most recently, the foundation announced a $150 million donation in January to the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations to support the organization's five-year plan to better prepare for, prevent and equitably respond to future epidemics and pandemics.
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While Bill and Melinda jointly committed $15 billion last summer to support their foundation's efforts to address inequity, sources recently told the Wall Street Journal that Melinda will give the bulk of her wealth to other philanthropic ventures going forward.
"I recognize the absurdity of so much wealth being concentrated in the hands of one person, and I believe the only responsible thing to do with a fortune this size is give it away — as thoughtfully and impactfully as possible," French Gates wrote in her latest Giving Pledge letter.
Though the Journal's sources noted she could still give funds to the foundation, French Gates emphasized in the letter that she would commit the majority of her time, energy and efforts to fighting poverty and advancing equality for women, girls and marginalized groups around the globe.
"I think philanthropy is most effective when it prioritizes flexibility over ideology — and why in my work at the foundation and Pivotal Ventures I’ll continue to seek out new partners, ideas and perspectives," French Gates explained.
"My approach to philanthropy has always been data-driven, and I think it’s important for philanthropists to set ambitious goals and measure our progress against those goals. I’ve learned, however, that it’s equally important to place trust in the people and organizations we partner with and let them define success on their own terms. Philanthropists are generally more helpful to the world when we’re standing behind a movement rather than trying to lead our own."
In 2019, French Gates announced a $1 billion commitment over 10 years to help Pivotal Ventures promote gender equality. The organization, which launched in 2015, is focused on increasing the number of women working in technology and running for public office, strengthening paid family and medical leave policies, developing solutions for American caregivers and increasing young people's access to mental health services and support.
"The ultimate measure of my success will be whether their ability to unlock progress continues long after I’m gone," the letter concluded.
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Bill Gates said in his own Giving Pledge letter that the foundation would remain his "top philanthropic priority" going forward. His giving over the years has also primarily gone toward mitigation of climate change and tackling Alzheimer's disease.
While the Gates currently serve as co-chairs of the foundation, Melinda has said she could resign in 2023 if she and Bill decide they can no longer work together. The foundation recently added four members to its board of trustees following the Gates' divorce and Buffett's resignation over the summer. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, one of the world's largest philanthropic organizations with an endowment of more than $50 billion, declined to comment.
Melinda has a net worth of approximately $6.2 billion, while Bill has a net worth of approximately $133.8 billion, according to Forbes.