The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation started with the intention of providing free internet access to public libraries in the US. As their objectives of foundation grew, the foundation’s reach also ascended, until it achieved its current position as the inimitable private institution in global public health.
The Gates Foundation set a datum for private philanthropy in the 21st century, with 1,600 staff members directing $5 billion in annual grants to 135 countries around the globe.
On Monday, when the world learned that the foundation’s co-chairs filed for divorce in Washington state. The coupon had been married for 27 years. Grant recipients and staff members alike pondered what would happen and whether it might affect the foundation’s goals.
Bill and Melinda Gates may be splitting up, but their foundation isn’t going anywhere. This wouldn’t bring any change in their roles as co-chairs and trustees and they will still set the agenda for the organization that bears their names.
The staff was inspirited by an email on Monday by Gates Foundation’s chief executive, Mark Suzman, according to which Bill and Melinda Gates remained committed to the organization.
Suzman added that it was “obviously a difficult time of personal change for” the couple. Bill and Melinda asked me explicitly to express their deep gratitude for everything you do every day, particularly during the Covid-19 crisis, as well as for your support and understanding in this difficult time.”
According to Megan Tompkins-Stange, a professor of public policy and scholar of philanthropy at the University of Michigan, an irrevocable endowment of $50 billion is in a charitable trust of the foundation which cannot be divided up as a marital asset.
The United States intrigued Bill Gates almost from the moment he came on the scene as a founder of Microsoft, the prototypical computer genius turned entrepreneur.
With Melinda on his side, Bill transformed his image through the work they jointly pursued with the foundation, becoming best known for his munificence rather than being ferocious in business.
Melinda Gates is an owner of a growing profile, both through her work for the foundation as well as her firm, Pivotal Ventures, which she has used since 2015 to invest in causes related to women’s economic empowerment.
A petition was filed by Melinda Gates for divorce on Monday in Superior Court in King County, Washington, calling the marriage “irretrievably broken”. She asked the court to dissolve their marriage. Melinda signed the form in Bellevue, Washington, and Bill Gates signed his part in Palm Desert, California.