Celebrities Volunteering and Giving Back—Bill Gates
“If you show people the problems and you show people the solutions,they will be moved to act”
At Davos—an annual meeting in Switzerland for World Economic Forum—Bill Gates showed up with tubers of cassava. “I don’t know what Swiss customs will say about it,” said Mr. Gates, “I’ll put it in a nice plastic bag or something.” To the meeting where top class people were expecting some caviar with wine, Bill Gates presented cassava and pitched his charity work. Ever since 1994, when he first established Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and even after he had left Microsoft, Gates continued his work in philanthropy. According to Infographic, Bill Gates has given $28 billion to various charities since 2007, which accounts for almost 48% of his net-worth. Say what you will about Bill Gates, but you cannot deny that he has made some impressive, if not phenomenal, impact on our society with his charity works.
1. Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
- Number of employees: approximately 980
- Asset trust endowment: $33.5 billion
- Grant making areas: Global Development Program, Global Health Program, United States Program
- Locations – Seattle, Washington / Washington, D.C / Delhi, India / Beijing, China / London, United Kingdom
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is the largest transparently operated private foundation in the world. Its primary aims are to improve people’s health and give them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. In the United States, it seeks to ensure that all people–especailly those with the fewest resources–have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and life. “We want to give it back to society in theway that it will have the most positive impact,” said Mr. Gates. In building a foundation, he studied the philanthropy work of Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller. In fact, he consulted Rockefeller several times to model their giving. In 1994, he sold some of his Microsoft stock to create William H. Gates Foundation, which in 2000 was combined with other family foundations into one–Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Based in Seattle, Washington, the foundation is led by CEO Jeff Raikes and Co-chair William H. Gates Sr., under the direction of Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett.
In 2006, Warren Buffett–the most successful investor of the 20th century–announced he would donate 85% of his $44 billion fortune to charity, naming the Bill & Melinda Gate Foundation as the main recipients. He had previously announced to make such a donation in his will, famously saying that he wanted to leave his children enough money so they could do something, but not so much that they could do nothing, and inviting comparisons to Andrew Carnegie, who liked to say that “the man who dies rich dies disgraced.” He also added that watching Bill and Melinda Gates donate so much of their wealth during their lifetimes inspired him to kickstart the process of distributing his own wealth. “I urge people to unbotton their wallet, pull out a check, reach into their purse, whatever it takes,” Buffett, 91, said last year in a YouTube video. “You will find that when you give a dollar and something of yourself, a lot more than a dollar comes out the other end.”
3. Global Health & Development Program
The Gates Foundation has been a major influence upon global health, donating over $800 million to the annual budget of the United Nations World Health Organization and United States Agency for International Development. Currently, president of the Global Health Program is Trevor Mundel and for the Global Development Program, Chris Elias is in charge. These programs focus on areas with the potential for high-impact, sustainable solutions that can reach hundreds of millions of people. Their major works include supporting agricultural development, providing financial services for the poor, reducing the burden of water-borne diseases and raising awareness of these issues. One of their current accomplishment is the rice research. Between 2007 and 2010, this foundation had offered 19.9 million to the International Rice Research Center. The aid was intended to support the increasing demand the world has placed on rice. The foundation claimed, “To keep up with worldwide demand, the production of rice will have to increase by about 70 percent in the next two decades”
4. United States Program
Under the president Allan Golston, the United States Program has made grants for education within U.S. The foundation introduced a U.S. libraries the initiative with a goal of “ensuring that if you can get to a public library, you can reach the Internet.” Public libraries nationwide were provided with grants for installing computers and training technical support. Also, in a belief that more than one in five students should be able to read and grasp the content, Bill and Melinda Gates invested more than $250 million to create new small schools, which reduced student-to-teacher ratios and divided up large high schools through the schools-within-a-school model. The foundation also provides university scholars program in which about 10 members of each undergraduate class and one member in each class in each of the professional schools can get full scholarships.