When news broke last year that Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates… They were divorcedthe question arose whether their organization would lose quick access to its founders’ large resources.
On Wednesday, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation appeared to answer those doubts by announcing that it would dramatically accelerate its donations in areas including global health, economic development, gender equality and education as its founders continue to pour money into what was already by most measures, the world’s largest charitable foundation.
The foundation said it will increase its grant rate from nearly $6 billion a year before the pandemic to $9 billion a year by 2026. To put that $3 billion increase in context, the Open Society Foundations, which is funded by George Soros and is itself one of the largest Charity in the country, reported Total spending in 2020 1.4 billion dollars.
Mr. Gates and Mrs. French Gates promised last summer to pump an additional $15 billion in funds into the foundation. As part of that commitment, Gates said Wednesday, he gave $20 billion to the foundation this month.
It is likely that there will be more money that came from it. “As I look to the future, my plan is to give all of my wealth to the foundation other than what I spend on myself and my family,” Mr. Gates, who Forbes Estimates He has an estimated fortune of $122 billion, wrote Wednesday on his personal blog, Gates Notes.
Mr. Gates, who is believed to be the fourth richest man in the world even though he and Mrs. French Gates have already donated $39 billion to the foundation since 1994 added, “Giving me this money is not a sacrifice at all. I feel proud to be involved in facing these great challenges.” .
Each year the foundation also receives a gift from investor Warren E. Buffett in the form of stock in his company, Berkshire Hathaway. This year’s gift came last month at $3.1 billion. Finally, Mr. Buffett gave the foundation nearly $36 billion. The foundation estimated that with the new money, its endowments would grow to $70 billion.
Mark Suzman, chief executive of the Gates Foundation, said the foundation would not expand its focus. Instead, it believes the urgency of its current projects — such as fighting polio and malaria worldwide and against learning loss in the United States during the Covid-19 pandemic — justifies increased spending.
Mr. Susman cautioned that increasing spending in an effective manner would not be easy. “At this scale, giving is actually very complicated, and we learned that the hard way,” he said in an interview.
“We are now seriously looking into whether we can and should do more to confront the food security crisis,” he added.
While the foundation has won praise over the years for its pioneering role in global philanthropy, it has also come under scrutiny for its impact. It is one of the largest donors in the World Health Organization, for example, and in poor countries the size of the Foundation’s donations means that, intentional or otherwise, it can end up setting many priorities for critical ministries such as health and education.
Mr. Gates wrote on his blog that the increasing pace of giving was a reaction to many of the challenges facing the world today, including the war in Ukraine, the pandemic, rising inflation, and climate change.
In a statement, Ms. French Gates said: “The Foundation has spent more than two decades building relationships with a wide range of partners with the vision and expertise to accelerate progress for all. This additional spending will support the important work of our partners to promote a just and inclusive recovery and a healthier and more equitable future. “
Under federal tax laws, private foundations are required annually to provide approximately 5 percent of their endowments, which for the Gates Foundation would amount to about $3.5 billion.
The institution has undergone significant changes over the past year. Mr. Buffett Resigned As one of three trustees last summer. Mr. Gates and Mrs. French Gates announced that they had agreed You will leave the institution If they find they can’t work together. In January, the foundation said it was creating a file The new board of directors Among them were Mr. Gates, Mrs. French Gates, Mr. Susman and three outsiders.
“While the motivation may be to turn inward, it is important that we do the opposite,” one of the new board members, Minosh Shafik, director of the London School of Economics, said in a statement on Wednesday. “Strengthening our resolve and increasing contributions is the only way to reverse these trends.”
“The great crises of our time require all of us to do more,” Mr. Gates added.
“Lifelong food lover. Avid beeraholic. Zombie fanatic. Passionate travel practitioner.”