Melinda French Gates Resigns From Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Elisabeth Franz/Reuters

Melinda French Gates is co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.


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Melinda French Gates, one of the world’s leading philanthropists, announced Monday that she will step down as co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, a role she has led since 2000.

The foundation has made nearly $78 billion in grant payments in the nearly 25 years since its inception.

French Gates “after considerable reflection, based on how she wants to spend the next chapter of her philanthropy,” Mark Sussman, the foundation’s CEO, wrote in a statement Monday. “Melinda has new ideas about the role she wants to play in improving the lives of women and families in the U.S. and around the world. And she wants to use this next chapter to focus specifically on changing that trajectory after years of seeing women’s rights rolled back in the U.S. and around the world.”

French Gates said she will receive an additional $12.5 billion for her philanthropic work as part of her separation agreement from ex-husband Bill Gates.

“This is not a decision I have taken lightly,” he said in a statement Published in X. “I am extremely proud of the foundation that Bill and I created together and the extraordinary work it is doing to address inequities around the world.”

French Gates said he plans to leave the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation on June 7 and will share more about his future philanthropic plans in the near future.

The organization will change its name to the Gates Foundation, and Bill Gates will remain the sole chairman, Sussman said.

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“I’m sorry to see Melinda leave, but I’m sure she will have a huge impact on her future philanthropic work,” Bill Gates wrote in a separate statement on Monday. Published in X.

“Looking forward, I remain fully committed to the work of the Foundation in all of our strategies and to realizing opportunities to continue to improve the lives of millions around the world,” he wrote.

The expulsion of the French Gates had been telegraphed for years. Bill Gates and French Gates Divorce announced In May 2021. At the time they said they would allow a trial period of sorts until 2023 to determine whether they could continue working with each other to oversee their massive charity.

Sussman announced in July 2021 contingency plan “To ensure the continuity of the foundation’s work.”

“If after two years they decide that they cannot continue to serve as co-chairs, French Gates will resign his co-chair and trustee position,” Sussman said.

Gates will remain in control and, essentially, French will buy Gates from the ground up, Sussman said at the time. French Gates will receive “personal resources” from Gates for his own philanthropic work – which will be “quite separate from the foundation’s donation.”

In January 2022, the foundation announced Four new members to its board of trustees Help strengthen the trust’s administration after divorce. This is the first time in its two-decade history that the Gates Foundation has included an outsider on its foundation board. After the deaths of Bill Gates Sr. and Warren Buffett in 2020, the charity has no trustees other than Bill and Melinda French Gates. Resignation in June 2021 after 15 years on the board.

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“I want to assure you that our work serves millions of people and the thousands of partners we work with can continue to trust the foundation,” Sussman said. In a post on the foundation’s website Monday afternoon. “Today’s foundation is stronger than ever.”

“I know we all want the best for Melinda in her next chapter,” he added, noting that French Gates “will not be taking any of the foundation’s work with her when she leaves.”

The mission of the $75.2 billion Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is to improve health in developing countries, improve educational opportunities, and reduce poverty by providing grants and support to a variety of initiatives and organizations around the world.

French Gates founded Pivotal Ventures in 2015, a solo philanthropy focused on breaking down barriers for minorities and women in the United States. In 2019.

Both Microsoft co-founder and French Gates have pledged to donate a large portion of their wealth to charity. As well as other philanthropic endeavors.

A Interview with CNN’s Fareed Zakaria In January, Gates and partners like Buffett gave about $100 billion to the foundation. With plans to spend $9 billion a year, Gates expects to give away all of his money in about 20 years.

This story has been updated with additional developments and context.

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