CEO of Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Resigns

Photo: Sue Desmond-Hellmann gives a speech at the 2012 Most Powerful Women Summit. Source: Krista Kennell / Shutterstock

Sue Desmond-Hellmann, CEO of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is stepping down after serving more than five years in the leadership role. According to a press release published on the foundation’s website, Desmond-Hellmann made the decision after concluding that she could not adequately fulfill the demands of the job while taking care of her own health and the needs of her family.

“This was without doubt the toughest decision of my career,” Desmond-Hellmann said. “But I felt I could no longer be the CEO the foundation needs and deserves at this vital time.”

Both Bill and Melinda Gates released statements praising Desmond-Hellmann for her contributions.

“Sue brought an incredible set of attributes to the foundation: scientific expertise, tested leadership skills, a passion for building a strong internal culture, and, above all, a dedication to the mission of making the world a healthier, more equal place,” Melinda Gates said. “Whether we were sitting in a conference room in Seattle or spending time with farmers in southern Africa, I was always grateful for her perspective and her partnership. Our foundation is better for the fact that Sue walked through its doors five years ago, and I wish Sue and her family all the best.”

“Sue’s commitment to innovation and continuous improvement at the foundation will be just a part of her enduring legacy,” Bill Gates said. “Her extraordinary leadership over the past five and a half years has seen both the launch of the Gates Medical Research Institute and the expansion of our work to examine poverty and economic mobility in the United States, among many other achievements. I want to personally thank Sue for her dedication, and to wish her the very best as she steps away to focus on health and family.”

Mark Suzman, the foundation’s president of Global Policy & Advocacy and chief strategy officer, has been appointed the new CEO.

“It is an incredible honor and privilege to lead the Gates Foundation,” Suzman said. “I’m deeply grateful to Bill and Melinda for their faith in me and to Sue for her dedicated leadership and strong mentorship over the past five years. As we look ahead, I’m humbled and excited by the opportunity to advance our important mission to help ensure everyone in the U.S. and around the world has the chance to lead a healthy and productive life.”


Chinese Business Magnate to Donate $961M Bonus to Charity

Photo: Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun launches the company’s own chipset Surge S1 and Mi 5c smartphone on Feb 28, 2017 in Beijing, China.
Source: zhangjin_net /

One of China’s most successful entrepreneurs has pledged to donate his entire bonus to charity—a sum that totals nearly $1 billion.

Lei Jun is the founder and CEO of Xiaomi, one of China’s leading smartphone manufacturers. On Wednesday, Xiaomi said in a regulatory filing that Lei would be given more than 636.6 million shares as a reward for “his contributions to the company.” According to CNN, that equates to roughly 7.54 billion Hong Kong dollars, or about $961 million.

In the filing, Xiaomi announced that Lei intends to donate all of the shares (after deducting taxes) to charitable causes. However, the company did not name any specific recipients.

While $961 million may sound like a lot of money, it’s relatively little compared to Lei’s overall net worth. According to real-time wealth estimates from Bloomberg and Forbes, the 49-year-old is worth approximately $11 billion.

Xiaomi, which Lei founded in 2010, was once considered the world’s most valuable startup. After just three years, it was worth more than LG, Motorola, and Sony combined. By 2018, it became the fourth largest phone manufacturer in the world.

Early critics called it a cheap replica of the iPhone. But as CNN reports, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Xiaomi’s range of smartphones priced under $200 has made it the most popular phone manufacturer in India.

But dominating the Indian market is far easier than dominating the U.S. market. If Xiaomi wants to take on that challenge, it will have to compete with leading manufacturers Apple and Samsung.

Adding to that challenge is the fact that Xiaomi’s stock has taken a dip due to concerns about the U.S.-China trade war. The company is unlikely to infiltrate the American market until those issues are resolved.


How to Make a Call to Action

call to action
IMG: via Shutterstock

Every nonprofit organization should have a call to action. That is, they have a place where they tell people what they want them to do. It’s an objective to complete, and provides users with focus, a measurable goal, and direction.

To create an effective call to action, there must first be a groundwork set up. A specific must be identified and the organization must offer up a solution. There should be a benefit involved for those that choose to join with the organization. What will they get out of it? If an organization has the resources, it might offer small incentives, such as a bumper sticker or a button with donations.

Giving users options for a few distinct actions will also provide direction. It’s a good idea for organizations to provide some starting points to guide the user around the site or cause. Common actions might include donating money, becoming a member of the organization, or volunteering for an event.

Calls to action should use active, strong verbs that clearly communicate what the organization wants users to do. Examples include donate, purchase, volunteer, join, fight, or register. These words should create a sense of urgency—this is a problem that needs to be addressed now! To accomplish this further, calls to action often have deadlines for goals.

Website users should be able to see calls to action easily. It should be central on the page, not hidden at the bottom or off to the side. Utilizing “white space,” or blank space around the call to action can make it stand out more and keeps it from being lost in a busy page. Font size and color can also be used for emphasis.

Perhaps the most important part of a call to action is that it’s not just found on one page. It is on every page. For example, the Human Rights Campaign includes a basic banner at the top of every page on their website. The banner includes their logo, their mission (“Working for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Equal Rights”), and buttons to become a member, receive a newsletter, and get involved via social media.

Another great example of an effective call to action can be found on the NYCHA PlanNYCHA website.  It was created by NYCHA leadership, including the NYCHA board, in order to get a very specific message out to the public. The site is dedicated to the cause of helping to preserve public housing, and no where is that message more clear than in John Rhea, NYCHA’s CEO’s, message.

“Together we have accomplished so much to enhance our communities and support NYCHA’s families. Our progress is significant, but our work is ongoing. As we move forward we will need the unwavering and broad-based support of multiple stakeholders to ensure that the transformative vision outlined in Plan NYCHA is realized,” John Rhea writes. “Join us as we embark on this collaborative journey toward a stronger, more efficient and customer-focused New York City Housing Authority.”

A clear, detailed, and driven message provided as part of a collaborative framework.  Other organizations could well take advantage of this example.



Volunteer Fairs

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One great way for companies to get employees more involved in philanthropy is to run volunteer fairs. By doing so, employees are given the chance to meet with representatives from multiple non-profit organizations in the community, find out about volunteer opportunities, and connect with one or more that they’d like to help.

More and more these days, it seems like companies are encouraging personal philanthropic behavior, so for these employers, volunteer fairs bring the opportunities right to their doorstep. When an employer takes care to say to employees, “We care, and we want to support your philanthropic endeavors.”

Volunteer fairs are also often seen at high schools and college campuses, as students become more independent and open up their worldview to include others that might not be as fortunate as them. Lots of students have service hours to complete, too, so offering a volunteer fair at a school makes that much more accessible.

But once students enter the real world, it can be easy to become disconnected from the philanthropic world. We fall into the routine of work and sometimes forget that those organizations are still out there, still needing our help. That’s why volunteer fairs put on by employers are such a great idea.

Moody’s Corporation, for example, has hosted volunteer fairs for nine years at its headquarters, two years in its London offices, and one year for its San Francisco offices. The company, run by CEO Raymond McDaniel, showcases eight to ten nonprofits during lunch hours. This gives employees a chance to meet with different groups, learn about their causes, and find out about volunteer opportunities.

Volunteer fairs are also great for nonprofits because it gives them a chance to advertise themselves for free, find new and excited volunteers, and reach out to local community members.