Bill and Melinda Gates said on May 3 that they are divorcing but would keep working together at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, one of the largest charitable foundations in the world.
In identical tweets, the Microsoft co-founder and his wife said they had made the decision to end their marriage of 27 years.
“We have raised three incredible children and built a foundation that works all over the world to enable all people to lead healthy, productive lives,” they said in a statement. “We ask for space and privacy for our family as we begin to navigate this new life.”
The foundation has spent over $53.8 billion in domains including Gender Equality, Global Health Program, Global Policy and Advocacy, Global Development Program, among others.
According to the Gates Foundation official website, it focuses on improving people's health and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty in developing countries. In the United States, it seeks to ensure that all people—especially those with the fewest resources—have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and life.
Headquartered in Seattle, Washington, the foundation is led by CEO Mark Suzman, under the direction of Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett.
The foundation has over 1600 employees and funds grants in 135 countries. The total grants payments since inception (through Q4 2019): $54.8 billion which includes grant payments made by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and previous foundations of the Gates family (William H. Gates Foundation, Gates Library Foundation, and Gates Learning Foundation) from 1994 onward.
Annually, the foundation also receives an instalment of the gift pledged by Warren Buffett.
"One day, we read a newspaper article about millions of children in poor countries who die from diseases, such as diarrhea and pneumonia, that were easily treated in wealthier countries. That blew our minds. As new parents it hit us especially hard. If there’s anything worse than the death of a child, we said to each other, then surely, it’s the preventable death of a child. We sent the article to Bill Sr. with a note: “Dad, maybe we can do something about this.” Those eight words changed the rest of our lives," the separated couple telling their story.
The foundation, last year, had pledged to make a contribution of $250 million to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. Part of the contribution will go towards funding a delivery operation for COVID-19 drugs and vaccines.
The Gates Foundation’s total contribution towards fighting the pandemic to $1.75 billion, and much of it has gone towards the production and procurement of crucial medical supplies, Suzman claimed in a statement.[Inputs from AP]