New Gates Foundation Initiative Will Address Poverty

In his endless quest to donate his money almost as fast as he makes it, Bill Gates has announced another philanthropic project. This time, he is taking on systemic poverty.

On Thursday, May 3rd, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation announced that between now and 2022, they intend to spend $158 million on a variety of initiatives, from data collection and research to funding activism and lobbying.

The foundation’s work will be guided by the U.S. Partnership on Mobility from Poverty, which is housed within the liberal-leaning think tank the Urban Institute. The organization has spent the past two years crafting plans to address systemic inequality in actionable ways. Their solutions involve both businesses and governments.

The money from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (to date, the largest private charity organization in the world) will help turn ideas and plans into practicable projects.

“Poverty is like education, where there’s not enough philanthropic resources to take on responsibility, but if you can show how to have a lot more impact, then the policies will benefit from that,” Bill Gates told the Associated Press earlier this year.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, whose original goals were to improve the quality of education in the U.S. and the world, has expanded its focus to help underserved students outside the classroom as well. This will surely result in a more impactful outcome, given that poverty and education are closely related. It is, after all, hard to do homework if the lights are shut off. But poverty also goes beyond basic survival necessities. In today’s technological age, having access to a computer with internet access is an absolute must.

Over the course of the next few months, it will be exciting to see the difference that this donation will make in the lives of children.

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The Fight Against Malaria in Africa

Malaria continues to be a huge problem in Africa, as well as other places across the world where access to medical help and information are not always readily available. Though some progress has been made in treating and cutting down the number of cases, malaria has yet to be eradicated.

However, many organizations around the world are fighting hard to provide African communities with the information and support they need.

The Isdell:Flowers Cross Border Malaria Elimination Initiative

The Isdell:Flowers Initiative is the brainchild of the J.C. Flowers Foundation, the philanthropic arm of financial services giant J.C. Flowers & Co. The Initiative focuses on an area called the “last mile,” the cross-border region that includes Namibia, Angola, Zambia, and Zimbabwe where the population is mobile and difficult to reach. Because people living in this area travel a lot, they often spread malaria without meaning to, and they don’t have the education or resources to take precautionary steps.

That’s where the Isdell:Flowers Initiative comes in. Their work focuses on things like net distribution (to prevent malaria-infected mosquito bites), training villagers to treat and prevent the disease, and providing the equipment for rapid testing. The Initiative also performs extensive research and data analysis.

The Global Health Group

Launched in 2007, the Global Health Group’s Malaria Elimination Initiative pursues “achievable and evidence-based elimination goals.” By partnering with researchers, implementers, and advocates, Group Health conducts research and develops new tools to help eliminate malaria. To date they’ve published important reports and peer-reviewed papers; organized relief efforts in both Asia and Africa; partnered to provide sustainable, domestic financing and resource mobilization; and greatly influenced policy-makers with organizations like the Malaria Elimination Group, an international scientific community that serves as an advisory board to 35 countries fighting malaria.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

The Gates Foundation has its fingers a lot of philanthropic pies, and the fight against malaria is no exception. Noting that malaria occurs in 100 countries across the world and exists as both a social and economic burden, the Gates Foundation oversees programs that help address malaria as a treatable and preventable disease. Their multi-year malaria strategy, Accelerate to Zero, was adopted in 2013 and continues to coordinate with partners in taking steps to eradicate malaria. Because the Foundation is well funded and uniquely positioned across the world, they are able to support initiatives and take risks in a way other, smaller organizations can’t.

Organizations The Power of Giving

The Greatest Philanthropic Contributions of 2014

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2014 was a great year in the world of philanthropy. Organizations and individual philanthropists gave generously over the last 12 months, and it was inspiring to see such bigheartedness. Here, we highlight some of the greatest philanthropic contributions of 2014 in the areas of education, health, the arts, and other charitable foundations.

Health – One of the biggest charitable donations within the health sector in 2014 came from Henry R. Kravis and his wife Marie-Josée, whose contribution of $100 million to the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center allowed for the formation of a new, cutting edge molecular oncology center. Another significant philanthropic contribution came from Gert Boyle, who donated $100 million to the Oregon Health and Science University, a nationally prominent research university.

Education – In 2014, Hong Kong real estate developer Ronnie Chan donated $175 million to Harvard University in what became one of the largest philanthropic donations from a single donor of the year. Additionally, Chan’s brother Gerald matched Ronnie’s donation, generously offering another $175 million to the Ivy League institution. San Diego-based philanthropist Conrad Prebys gave not once but twice to San Diego State University in 2014, in another showing of generosity towards higher education.

Warren Buffett
Warren Buffett gave the largest donation of 2014.   Image: Flickr CC via Fortune Live Media

The Arts – In early 2014 news broke that the Denver Art Museum would receive 22 impressionist landscapes from collector and philanthropist Frederic C. Hamilton. The generous donation is estimated by art experts to be worth as much as $100 million, and was one of the largest philanthropic contributions to the arts this year. Another major donation to the arts in 2014 came from Jerry Perenchio, who pledged an astounding $500,000,000 worth of artworks to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Charitable Foundations – According to Market Watch, the single largest charitable donation from one person in 2014 came from none other than Warren Buffett. Buffett reportedly donated $2.1 billion to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which supports initiatives in education, world health, and community giving in the Pacific Northwest.


Bill and Melinda Gates Will Not Be Leaving Children Their Fortune

At a recent TED conference in Vancouver Bill Gates, the world’s richest man, and his wife Melinda opened up about their personal lives. The pair said they would not be leaving all their wealth to their three children. The couple stated they will instead encourage their children to make their own way in the world.

Gates said that instead of just giving them money, they have given their two daughters and son a good education so they can pave their own success rather than rely on their parents’ fortune. Gates said: “We want to strike a balance so they have the freedom to do anything, but not sort of a lot of money showered on them so that they can go out and do nothing.”

Melinda Gates talked about a recent Tanzania trip she took with her eldest daughter Jen, where they stayed with a family in a rural area to learn more about the barriers to education for girls in the country. The couple stated Warren Buffet, who has taken a similar approach with his children, inspires their parenting style.

The Gates have joined the Giving Pledge, which is committed to diverting personal wealth to philanthropy, a pledge Buffet has also made. The couple argued that leaving a huge sum to their children is no good for their families or society.

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Philanthropic Foundations to Watch in 2014

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Bill Gates and Melinda Gates on stage at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Annual Employee Meeting.
IMG: via Facebook

The Chronicle of Philanthropy recently released its “Foundations to Watch in 2014” roundup, an annual summary of the most prominent philanthropic foundations that are likely to lead the pack over the next twelve months. The summary is filled with philanthropic heavyweights, but also notes some changes in leadership at the foremost foundations, and includes one foundation that is working to boost its philanthropic efforts.

At the top of the list is the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which comes as little surprise. The Gates Foundation recently hired a new chief executive, Susan Desmond-Hellmann, who is reportedly the first leader within the foundation to have not come from Microsoft. Bill and Melinda, an unequivocal philanthropic power couple, will continue to raise the bar for charitable giving in 2014.

Right behind them on the list of foundations to watch is the Ford Foundation, which also hired a new chief executive – Darren Walker. Many predict that Walker will advance the Ford Foundation’s work in economic justice and human rights. Ranked next is another familiar foundation, the Bloomberg Family Foundation, which is currently facing extra scrutiny as Michael Bloomberg retires from his position as mayor of New York. With the help of Patricia Harris, who served as his deputy mayor and is now the foundation’s leader, the two will work in tandem to increase and focus philanthropic efforts, with particular attention paid public health issues.

Also on the list are the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, the Barr Foundation, and the James Irvine Foundation. The efforts of these foundations will support a range of causes, including the arts, education, environmental issues, and advancing youth through STEM fields. Rounding out the summary is the Schultz Family Foundation, created by Starbucks founder Howard Schultz and his wife Sheri. Soon to be running their family foundation is Daniel Pitasky, formerly of the Gates Foundation, who will help the couple amplify their charitable efforts. In the past, the Schultz Family Foundation has supported the Robin Hood Foundation, and YouthCare, a Seattle nonprofit that helps homeless youth.

Keep a lookout for the work these foundations will do to advance philanthropic their efforts in 2014.


Melinda Gates Uses Her Power for Good

Melinda Gates

The list of the world’s most powerful women by Forbes has listed Melinda Gates at position number 3. Melinda Gates is the co-founder and chair of The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the largest grant giving foundation in the United States.

The Foundation has existed for 13 years and holds $34 billion in assets.  Goals they have set for the foundation this year are to eradicate polio within five years and distribute safe birth control to 120 million women in Africa and Asia.  She has given several TED talks on how to improve philanthropy and the important role that access to birth control plays in the empowerment of women.

Melinda and Bill have told their stakeholders that part of their mission will include investing in projects that fail. This is because they are willing to take the risk that governments and other organizations are not able to.  The Foundation specializes in immunizations, agricultural development, sanitation and other global health issues.

To read Melinda Gates’ entire profile, click here.


Another Philanthropic Gates: William Henry Gates Sr.

william henry gates sr.
IMG: via

Bill Gates’ father has long been working for philanthropic causes from being the Co-Chair of the World Justice Project to sitting on the board of Planned Parenthood.  He is also the author of a book entitled “Showing Up for Life: Thoughts on the Gifts of a Lifetime.”

Gates is a graduate of the University of Washington, and worked as a lawyer until 1998 at the law firm he co-founded.  Shidler & King later became known as Preston Gates & Ellis LLP.  It finally merged into what is now called K&L Gates.

He is currently on the Board of Regents for the University of Washington and is a co-chair for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Bill Gates Sr. guides the foundation and serves as an advocate for the foundation’s key issues. He first answered his son’s request for help in using his resources to improve reproductive and child health in the developing world by directing the William H. Gates Foundation, which was established in 1994. It merged with the Gates Learning Foundation to create the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in 2000.

Gates has volunteered with organizations such as the Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce and King County United Way.  He even formed a non-profit organization called Technology Alliance to further technology jobs in the northwest.  In efforts to shape and assist education, he worked with the Public School Levy Campaign.

To view the full William Henry Gates Sr. Profile, click here.