The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is the world's largest charitable foundation. Endowed by Bill Gates, chairman and founder of Microsoft, and his wife, Melinda Gates. It was created in January 2000 through the merger of the Gates Learning Foundation and the William H. Gates Foundation. The foundation is based in Seattle, Washington and is led by William H. Gates, Sr. (Bill Gates' father) and Patty Stonesifer.
The foundation has an endowment of approximately US$27 billion. To maintain its status as a charitable foundation, it must donate at least 5 percent of its assets each year. This amounts to over $1 billion.
The foundation primarily focuses on the following areas:
The Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization
The foundation gave The Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization a donation of US$750 million on 25 January 2005.
Official site: VaccineAlliance.org (http://www.vaccinealliance.org/), Donation press release (http://www.vaccinealliance.org/Media_Center/Press_Releases/pr_newfunds_24Jan2005_en.php?&&)
Related links: News item at vnunet.com (http://www.vnunet.com/news/1160743)
Indian Ocean Earthquake
The foundation made total grant donations of US $3 million to various charities to help with the aid effort for victims of the 2004 Indian Ocean Earthquake. These charities include:
Children's Vaccine Program
The Children's Vaccine Program, run by the Program for Appropriate Technology in Health (PATH), received a donation of US$27 million to help vaccinate Japanese encephalitis on 9 December 2003.
Official site: ChildrensVaccine.org (http://childrensvaccine.org), Donation press release (http://childrensvaccine.org/html/rel-031209.htm)
Gates Millennium Scholars
Administered by the United Negro College Fund the foundation donated $1 billion US for minority student scholarships
Official site: www.gmsp.org
Access to Learning Award
Each year an award of up to US$1 million is given to a public library or similar organization outside the United States that has an innovative program offering the public free access to information technology.
Official site: Part of CLIR.org (http://www.clir.org/fellowships/gates/gates.html)
Gates Cambridge Scholarships
Donated US$210 million In October 2000 to help people outside of the United Kingdom study at the University of Cambridge. Approximately 100 students every year are funded.
Official site: Part of the Cambridge University site (http://www.gates.scholarships.cam.ac.uk/)
- Official website (http://www.gatesfoundation.org/)
- Foundation Fact Sheet (http://www.gatesfoundation.org/MediaCenter/FactSheet/default.htm)
- World's Largest Charitable Foundation (http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/index.asp?id=55248)