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Biggest projects of generous philanthropists Bill and Melinda Gates



Bill and Melinda GatesTed S.

  • Bill and Melinda Gates have been named the most
    generous philanthropists in the US.
  • The philanthropists have donated more than $36 billion
    to charitable causes, including $4.8 billion last
  • Through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the
    couple has focused on global health, education, and

Bill and Melinda Gates were recently
named the most generous philanthropists
in the United States,
based on an
annual list by The Chronicle of Philanthropy

Annual rankings by The Chronicle of Philanthropy take into
account US philanthropists’ total donations in the previous
year. Of the $4.78 billion that Bill and Melinda Gates
donated in 2017, most went to projects run by the Bill and
Melinda Gates Foundation.

The billionaire couple has been leading in philanthropy for
many years.

Since its launch in 2000, their foundation has spent more
than $36 billion to fund work in global health, emergency relief,
education, poverty, and more. 

The philanthropists
have pledged about $2 billion
to help defeat malaria alone.
Their foundation most recently partnered with mosquito
engineering company Oxitec to develop a male mosquito that would
kill off future generations of malaria-transmitting bugs. The
Gates Foundation wants to eliminate malaria “within
a generation
,” tackling a disease that has recently been on a
fatal rise after decades of decline.

Bill and Melinda Gates are also working to end Ebola and polio;
donated more than $50 million
in 2014 to help fight the Ebola
virus outbreak in West Africa, and they pledged
$38 million
to a Japanese pharmaceutical company that is
working on creating a low-cost polio vaccine.

One of the foundation’s most significant partnerships is with the
GAVI Alliance, a group of scientists, government leaders,
businesses, and philanthropists working to improve access to
vaccines in the poorest countries in the world. The Gates
Foundation has committed at least $2.5 billion to the GAVI
Alliance since 1999.

Melinda Gates, who helmed the foundation virtually on her own for
the first six years of operation, has worked to raise awareness
of “time
,” the idea that hours of unpaid work like household
chores rob women of their potential. Gates wrote in the
foundation’s 2016 annual
 that women around the world spend an average of
twice as many hours doing unpaid work each day, and girls in many
countries fall behind in their education as a result.

Gates has led
several other efforts
to advance opportunities for women
around the world, including the expansion of contraception
availability around the world. In a
Time magazine op-ed
, Melinda Gates wrote that she and her
husband are also investing in Mama Cash — the
oldest international women’s fund in the world — as well as
networks like Prospera, which supports
grassroots women’s groups and funds in more than 170

Education is at the forefront of the Gates Foundation’s giving as
well. The Gates
Millennium Scholars Program
was established in 1999 to
provide financial support to students of color pursuing
undergraduate degrees. Roughly $1.6 billion has gone toward the
program, and about 1,000 new scholars are selected each year.

The Gates Foundation also partnered with the Nigeria-based
 in 2016 to spend $100 million on
eliminating malnutrition in Nigeria
, which is Africa’s
biggest economy.

In the foundation’s 2018 annual
, Bill and Melinda Gates wrote that they believe the
world is getting better despite the presence of violence, natural
disasters, and political division.

“We don’t compare different people’s suffering. All
suffering is a terrible tragedy. We do, however, assess our
ability to help prevent different kinds of suffering,” Melinda
Gates wrote. “When we studied the global health landscape, we
realized that our resources could have a disproportionate impact.
We knew we could help save literally millions of lives. So that’s
what we’ve tried to do.”

In 2010, the Gates’s tried to inspire philanthropy among
other wealthy executives by launching the
Giving Pledge
, which encourages billionaires to donate at
least half of their wealth to charitable causes during their
lifetime or in their will. A
2018 report from financial research company
 predicts the pledge may be worth as much as
$600 billion by 2022.

Last year, the
wealthiest Americans
donated $14.7 billion to their alma
maters, foundations, and various charities, more than doubling
how much they gave away in 2016, according to Forbes. The recent list of 25
most generous philanthropists notably did not include Amazon CEO
Jeff Bezos, the
richest person in modern history
. Bezos
has been largely quiet
about his philanthropic goals, though
he tweeted
in June
that he intends to announce two areas of focus
sometime this summer.

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