Bill and Melinda Gates

Bill Gates (born in 1955), the co-founder of Microsoft and the richest person in the world (according to the 2013 Bloomberg Billionaires List) is still the company’s chairman but he is working full time for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation which he founded with his wife Melinda in 1997. Similarly as Warren Buffett, the Gates pledged to give away virtually all their fortune to charity. In 2010, Gates, Buffett and Mack Zuckerberg signed what came to be known as the Gates-Buffett Giving Pledge by which they bound to donate at least 50 percent of their money to charity and called other wealthy individuals to join their pledge.

The Birth of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Inspired by philanthropic projects of Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller, Bill Gates founded his own charitable organisation called the William H. Gates Foundation in 1994. Two more charity organisations were created by the Gates family in the following years but in 2000, Bill and his wife Melinda decided to join all three into what became the today’s Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. It is said to be influenced greatly by the Rockefeller Foundation because just like the latter, the Gates Foundation is focused on global issues that receive little or no attention by the governments and other charity organisations.

Bill and Melinda Gates Philanthropic Work

By donating billions of dollars to various charity and philanthropic projects worldwide, Bill and Melinda Gates are among America’s most generous philanthropists. By giving away more than $28 billion, they are second only after Warren Buffett who is also closely involved with their Foundation as he promised to give most of his fortune to the Gates. In return for his generosity – besides promising to give over 80 percent of his wealth to the Gates Foundation, he also gave the Gates 10 million Class B shares of Berkshire Hathaway – they offered him a seat in the board of directors. Buffett accepted but he said he doesn’t plan to be active in the Foundation’s investments.

Bill and Melinda Gates actively support a number of projects aimed into relieving poverty, improving healthcare and advancing education through their Foundation. By the mid-2013, the Gates Foundation raised over $38 billion which were donated to various programmes, while undistributed assets are invested with an aim to increase the return of investment. All the Foundation’s resources are scheduled to be distributed within 20 years after its founders’ deaths, while the shares of Berkshire Hathaway that were donated by Buffett are to be spent for philanthropic projects within 10 years after his death.