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Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation: Glimpse of the power-couple’s philanthropic work in India

Bill Gates and his wife Melinda announced that they were divorcing after 27 years of marriage. Here’s a quick look at their philanthropic work in India.

May 05, 2021 / 06:30 PM IST

The announcement of Bill and Melinda Gates' divorce has shaken up the philanthropic world as their Seattle-based Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is the most influential private foundation in the world, with an endowment worth nearly $50 billion.

While it is too early to know how the divorce will affect the Gates foundation and the wider philanthropic community, the couple has insisted that they would continue their joint philanthropic work.

Read: Bill and Melinda Gates announce they are getting divorced

"We continue to share a belief in that mission and will continue our work together at the foundation, but we no longer believe we can grow together as a couple in this next phase of our lives," Bill and Melinda announced in a joint statement.

Take a look at their Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation's work in India:


Launched in 2000, the nonprofit Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation ranks as the largest private philanthropic foundation in the United States and one of the world's biggest, with net assets of $43.3 billion at the end of 2019, according to the latest full-year financials shown on its website.


From 1994 through 2018, the couple gifted more than $36 billion to the Seattle-based foundation, the website said.


Also read: Bill and Melinda Gates' divorce evokes comparison with that of Jeff Bezos, MacKenzie Scott


According to the foundation’s website, they have been working in India for over a decade, with a focus on the country’s most vulnerable communities.


In recognition of their philanthropic activities in India, Bill and Melinda Gates jointly received India's third highest civilian honour Padma Bhushan in 2015.

The foundation began working in India in 2003 with the launch of Avahan, an HIV prevention program that is estimated to have prevented 6,00,000 new infections.

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"We also joined with other partners to support the Indian government in eliminating polio. This coordinated effort, which involved mobilizing 2.3 million volunteer vaccinators to reach 170 million children with repeated doses of the oral polio vaccine, led to India being declared polio-free in 2014," the Gates Foundation says on its website.

The foundation focus on issues like reproductive, maternal, newborn, and child health and nutrition; sanitation; agricultural development; gender equality, and digital financial inclusion in India.

According to the website, the foundation has invested more in India than in any other country besides the United States.

Also read: Melinda Ann French: From tech executive to philanthropic champion

The Gates Foundation operates in India as a branch office of a foreign organization, with the permission of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA).

The charity, which seeks to improve conditions for India’s most vulnerable people, has mainly focused on improving the quality and coverage of services in priority states, particularly Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.

Besides, the foundation has also partnered with centre and state governments to support programs in sanitation, agricultural development, gender equality, and digital financial inclusion in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Maharashtra, according to the website.
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