Bill Gates

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Date of Birth: 28th October, 1955 in the USA

Nationality: USA; residence: Medina, Washington (USA)

Place of Residence: Xanadu 2.0, Medina, Washington

Net Worth: US$ 96.5 billion

Industry: until 2008 technology (Microsoft), since then investment fund (Cascade Investment LLC).

Source of Wealth: Microsoft, Self Made

Education: Harvard dropout

Career:

Social Media: 

Personal Website: Gates Notes 


Political Position: Center-Libertarian/Center 

In His Own Words:

This is a family foundation driven by the interests and passions of the Gates family (“Guiding Principle #1” of the BMGF)

Rich governments are not fighting some of the world’s most deadly diseases because rich countries don’t have them. The private sector is not developing vaccines and medicines for these diseases, because developing countries can’t buy them. (2005 speech at 2005 World Health Assembly)

The work of the foundation reflects the essential optimism that Melinda and I feel about the future, and our belief that a combination of scientific innovation and great partnerships with leaders who work on behalf of the world’s poorest people can dramatically improve the human condition.(2010 “Testimony Before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations“)

Interactions: 

Electioneering: N/A

Lobbying & Advocacy:

Post-Microsoft (for which Gates lobbied extensively, especially to stave off anti-trust legislation), Gates advocates vigorously for his foundation’s goals. He and his wife have been invited three times to speak at the World Health Assembly, the gathering of the world’s ministers for health, which caused a coalition of global health NGOs, in 2014, to issue a protest letter stating that “[i]t is unacceptable that the WHO, supposedly governed by sovereign nation-states, should countenance that at its annual global conference, the keynote address would be delivered thrice in ten years by individuals from the same private organization, and from the same family”.

Opinion Shaping:

Bill Gates is spending large amounts on advocacy and media-relations in order to raise awareness and to strengthen support for his agenda.

Philanthropy:

One can see Bill Gates as the unofficial minister of global health. His great leap into philanthropy with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), in 1999, incited other donors to follow suit, and his foundation is a financial octopus whose grant-making arms reach into almost all corners of the global health universe. The volume of the BMGF’s expenditure has become larger than that of the World Health Organization (WHO), and whereas most of the WHO Director-General’s money is non-discretionary, Bill Gates can set his priorities freely.

Through the massive funding of biomedical scientific research, the BMGF and its chairman have acquired expertise-based legitimacy within the field. Via large-scale grants to other organizations and the WHO itself, the BMGF is able to shape the global health agenda, by demanding matching grants and representation on governing boards.

As a grant-making institution, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), which declared 1,376 employees in 2016, is primarily channeling money to other actors, particularly scientific research and international health delivery organizations. It is involved in a great variety of initiatives, but three major funding programs have been maintained over time, and they characterize the BMGF’s priorities:

  1. The BMGF’s first super-sized donation, US$ 750 million, in 1999, went to the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI), a public-private partnership (PPP) launched in 2000 to improve children’s immunization against infectious diseases in developing countries. Up until 2016, the BMGF has committed US$ 2.5 billion to GAVI, making it the largest contributor for many years.
  2. At the 2003 World Economic Forum, Bill Gates announced the so-called “Grand Challenges in Global Health”, a program that funds innovative science addressing pre-defined research questions. Initially equipped with US$ 200 million, it later received additional US$ 250 million; another “Grand Challenges Explorations” program started in 2007 (US$ 100 million), and in 2014, the BMGF announced a further round of “Grand Challenges” (with no specified funding envelope), which involves several partner governments.
  3. With huge grants to individual organizations, the BMGF invests in initiatives that combat specific diseases, mainly malaria, HIV/AIDS, polio, and tuberculosis.

Furthermore, he has also made some personal donations, such as  $20 million to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

in 1999 and also pledging to give at least fifty percent of his wealth to charitable causes with Giving Pledge in 2010.

“In November 2017, Gates said he would give $50 million to the Dementia Discovery Fund, a venture capital that seeks treatment for Alzheimer’s disease. He also pledged an additional $50 million to start-up ventures working in Alzheimer’s research.[111]

Bill and Melinda Gates have said that they intend to leave their three children $10 million each as their inheritance. With only $30 million kept in the family, they appear to be on a course to give away about 99.96 percent of their wealth.[112] On August 25, 2018, Gates distributed $600,000 through his Melinda and Gates Foundation via UNICEF which is helping flood-affected victims in Kerala, India” (Wikipedia).

Controversy: 

Further Readings: