Bill Gates, entrepreneur and founder of Microsoft, the software giant, subsequently became one of the wealthiest men in the world. Gates is known as one of the greatest entrepreneurs of all time. Gates is best known for growing his company Microsoft into one of the biggest technology companies in the world.
The year 2000 was a significant milestone for Mr. Gates, as he left his position as CEO of Microsoft to focus on philanthropy. He would, however, remain as chairman of the board of directors and became chief software architect. On March 13, 2020, Microsoft announced Gates would be leaving his board positions at Berkshire Hathaway and Microsoft to dedicate even more time to his philanthropic work.
Now that Gates has dedicated his life to philanthropy, many people wonder just how much money Gates has donated throughout the years. In this article, we will look at how much money Bill Gates has donated through his foundation.
Bill Gates and Microsoft
Prior to becoming one of the most well-known innovators, Bill was an average American boy from the Pacific North West. Gates was born in Seattle, Washington, on October 28, 1955, as William Henry Gates III. The middle child in a middle-class household with an older and younger sister, Bill excelled in school from a young age.
He was extremely close to his mother, Mary. She devoted her time to raising her children and working with charities and on civil affairs; and also served on several corporate boards, including International Business Machines (IBM) and the United Way. Mary would often have Bill in tow while she volunteered. This would expose her young son to the importance of helping others and giving back to those in need. Knowingly or not, Mary also opened Bill’s eyes to the business world and the many types of business models to choose from.
As a youngster, Gates devoured books and would spend countless hours reading over reference materials like encyclopedias. His love of computers and programming led him to create his first game. The game was Tik-Tac-Toe that could be played against a computer. Scoring 1590 on the SAT, he enrolled in Harvard. Gates would never earn his degree during this time, however, as he dropped out two years later to pursue Microsoft with business partner Paul Allen.
Melinda French was introduced to the co-founder of Microsoft not long after she began working there in 1987 as a product manager. In 1994, Bill and Melinda married before welcoming their first of three children in 1996. After nine years, Melinda eventually left her position at Microsoft but continued working with Bill in philanthropy.
Bill Gates and Philanthropy
While Gates is well-known in the tech industry, he and his ex-wife are also prominent figures in initiatives for global health. The pair claims a newspaper article about how millions of children in less developed nations died from preventable diseases motivated them to take further action. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which focuses on global health, education, access to digital knowledge through public libraries, and support for at-risk families, was established in 1994. After 27 years of marriage, the couple divorced in 2021, three months after declaring their separation.
Bill &Melinda Gates Foundation was officially launched in 2000, merging the William H. Gates Foundation and the Gates Learning Foundation to further their belief that everyone should have the opportunity to live a healthy and productive life. That same year, the United Nations adopted the Millennium Development Goals and committed to measurable benchmarks for achieving said goals, sparking a joint effort and ambitious vision for bettering people’s lives.
Every year, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation invests billions of dollars in programs to fight infectious illnesses and alleviate poverty. The foundation is the most prominent private organization of its kind.
How Much Does Bill Gates Donate?
With a $50 billion endowment, The Gates Foundation is the largest organization of its kind. According to the nonprofit’s website, the pair donated more than $36 billion of their wealth to the foundation between 1994 and 2018. Warren Buffett, who gave the foundation a lifetime gift of over $30 billion in 2006, is another significant donor of the foundation. Parenting with Buffet, Bill and Melinda started the Giving Pledge campaign in 2010 to inspire other wealthy people to devote the bulk of their money to charitable organizations.
Since its foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has given more than $60 billion to projects that aim to end disease, combat global poverty, and end unfairness. Some highlights of the Foundation giving include:
- In 2020, the Foundation donated over $6.5 billion to various charities
- In 2021, the Foundation’s total charitable contributions reached a staggering $6.7 billion, its most significant contribution in a single year.
- Grant payments totaled $65.6 billion since its establishment
- $53.3 billion Foundation Trust Endowment
- The Gates Foundation increased its annual investment from $1 billion to $6 billion during the past 20 years.
It appears that while the couple has divorced, they are not letting their split derail them from working together. They continue to donate in the areas of public education, global poverty, equality, and injustice. In 2021, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation put a plan in place to invest $2.1 billion over five years in women’s leadership and economic development and improve women’s health and family planning.
In a 2022 post on his blog GatesNotes, he stated, “As I look to the future, my aim is to contribute all of my fortune to the foundation, other than what I spend on myself and my family. I will drop off the list of the richest persons in the world eventually.” Gates also noted the global Covid-19 pandemic was a major hit to the Foundation’s efforts to help those living in extreme poverty, despite an additional $2 billion donated. Still, despite this, he remains hopeful that continued progress will be made to assist those living in extreme poverty. Gates stated, “The great crises of our time require all of us to do more.”