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Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

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Business Studies

One day, we read a newspaper article about millions of children in poor countries who die from diseases ... that were easily treated in wealthier countries. That blew our minds. As new parents, it hit us especially hard. If there’s anything worse than the death of a child, we said to each other, then surely, it’s the preventable death of a child. We sent the article to Bill Sr. with a note: “Dad, maybe we can do something about this.” Those eight words changed the rest of our lives."

- Bill & Melinda Gates (gatesfoundation.org)

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is one of the largest non-profit organisations in the world. The foundation works globally to improve living standards for underprivileged communities in partnership with NGOs, institutions, and research facilities. How did the Bill and Melinda Gated Foundation start? How is the foundation organised? What is it doing well, and what criticism has it received?

A non-profit organisation is an organisation that works for purposes other than making a profit. Non-profit organisations tend to pursue social objectives.

In 1994, Bill and Melinda Gates founded the William H. Gates foundation which concentrated on two main problems: global health and community needs in the Pacific Northwest. Bill Gates's father, William, looked after the activities of this foundation. After three years, the Gates Library Foundation was established and aimed to enhance internet access to public libraries for less-well-off families in North America. It was later renamed the Gates Learning Foundation to cover the broader educational aspect.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation was formed in 2000, a merger of the two foundations. Its initial concerns were global health, libraries, and education in the Pacific Northwest. The foundation was founded because Bill & Melinda believed every individual, irrespective of their circumstances, should have a good life.

Our mission is to create a world where every person has the opportunity to live a healthy, productive life.”

- gatesfoundation.org

The foundation aims to develop science and education to provide a solution to complicated global issues and help people improve their lives.

Later in 2006, the foundation was restructured to include global development, global health, and a division was established in the USA. Also, an investor and philanthropist Warren Buffett of Berkshire Hathaway (stock value of $31billion) announced a lifelong pledge to the foundation. At this point, the foundation modified its structure and created a trust called ‘The Bill & Melinda Foundation Trust’ for managing and investing endowment assets. In 2008, Bill Gates resigned from his position at Microsoft to dedicate his time and efforts to the foundation.

The divisions of the foundation

The global development division attempts to eradicate severe poverty and hunger. With the help of partnerships and grants linked to its schemes in the agriculture sector, the programme creates opportunities for farmers in the developing world and facilitates research on producing micro-nutrient enriched rice and flour.

The programme also strives to boost financial services to the needy with the help of a funded project that assesses the efficiency of loans and insurance, education, and financial planning in poor countries. This division is also devoted to global libraries, in order to support public libraries and organisations which work to increase access to IT. This initiative provided access to 99% of US public libraries and the foundation invested around $240 million in this.

The USA division is committed to reducing inequities and increasing opportunities for low-income earners and vulnerable people in the country. The programme’s education project focuses on lowering school dropout rates. This programme also supports projects for at-risk youngsters and and aims to reduce homelessness in the region.

Together the global development and global health divisions strive to tackle high mortality rates from preventive diseases in developing countries. Projects include agricultural initiatives, sanitation, polio, nutrition, vaccinations, maternal and child health, and emergency response. The global health programme is concerned with HIV/AIDS, pneumonia, malaria, tuberculosis, etc. The foundation provides funding to projects for increasing access to prevailing vaccines and medications for regular diseases and facilitates research for the new, reasonable and practical solutions to these health problems. The Grand Challenge initiative of this division provides funding for potential scientific discoveries to prevent, treat and cure diseases in third world countries.

Table 1 below shows the fundings in the above-mentioned programmes along with some others.

Total direct grantee support

$5.822 billion

Program Area

Funding

Global Development

$1,893,000,000

Global Health

$1,792,000,000

U.S. Program

$642,000,000

Global Growth & Opportunity

$620,000,000

Global Policy and Advocacy

$523,000,000

Gender Equality

$94,000,000

Non-Program Areas

Funding

Other Charitable Programs

$258,000,000

Table 1. Programs and grants of the foundation (gatesfoundation.org)

Awards

2006: Prince of Asturias Award for its international cooperation.

2007: Indira Gandhi's prize for peace was given by the president of India Pratibha Devi Singh Patil.

2015: India’s third highest civilian honour Padma Bhushan was awarded for philanthropic activities in India.

2016: President Barack Obama awarded The Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Criticism

While the Bill and Melinda Foundation is appreciated for its efforts to improve global issues and concerns, it has also been criticised for some of its policies:

Education programme

A few critics have expressed concerns that the foundation leads the conversation on education or pushes its viewpoint via news coverage. The foundation has been accused by parents, researchers, and professionals for steering the conversation on educational reforms.

Global health

Critics have suggested that Bill’s perspective on global health and agriculture advocates for the interests of big pharmaceutical companies and agribusinesses (such as Biomatics capital partners in which Gates has invested) above the interests of developing countries.

Both inside and outside critics imply that there is a lot of difference in Gates' personal views and the views of the foundation. Critics also point out that the Gates Foundation grants are usually given depending on social relations and ideological adherences rather than on technical capabilities and competence.

Goalkeeper award

In 2019, the foundation gave the global goalkeeper award to the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. This was broadly criticised by human rights activists and academics around the world. There was a petition signed by more than 100,000 people asking the foundation to withdraw the award. Critics said that Modi, who is a Hindu nationalist, has an extensive record of human rights abuses, and that the foundation should not affirm this when it has a mission statement which emphasises equal value to every human being.

Despite a lot of criticism of the foundation, it continues to play a part in making the world a better place for people globally. It continues to strive for ways to ease the lives of people and provide support.

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation - Key takeaways

  • In 1994, Bill and Melinda Gates founded the William H. Gates foundation which concentrated on two main problems: global health and community needs in the Pacific Northwest.

  • A non-profit organisation is an organisation that works for purposes other than making a profit and in which the income is not distributed to its members.

  • The Gates Library Foundation aimed to improve internet access to public libraries.

  • The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation was formed in 2000 when the two foundations merged.

  • The foundation was restructured to include global development, global health, and a division in the USA.

  • The global development division attempts to eradicate severe poverty and hunger, boost financial services, and increase access to IT in public libraries.

  • The USA division is committed to reducing inequities and increase opportunities for low-income and vulnerable people in the country.

  • The global health programme is concerned with gastric diseases, HIV/AIDS, pneumonia, malaria, tuberculosis, vaccinations, and research for new treatments of diseases.

  • The foundation was awarded the Prince of Asturias award, Indira Gandhi prize for peace, Padma Bhushan, and The Presidential Medal of Freedom.

  • Criticism of the foundation is that Gate’s educational reforms may marginalise professionals and researchers; Gate advocates for the interests of big pharmaceutical companies and agribusinesses; the foundation was criticised for giving an award to Indian prime minister Modi, who is an alleged human rights abuser.


Sources:

Yaleschoolofbusinesshealth, https://vol12.cases.som.yale.edu/medical-supply-solutions-tanzania/partnership-part-1/bill-and-melinda-gates-foundation

Guinnesworldrecord, https://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/business-solutions/case-studies/bill-melinda-gates-foundation

BillandMelindagatesfoundation,

https://d3pxppq3195xue.cloudfront.net/media/files/NBBJ_GATES_CASE_STUDY_web_.pdf

Britannica, https://www.britannica.com/topic/Gates-Foundation

Fundsforngos,https://www.fundsforngos.org/foundation-funds-for-ngos/gates-foundation-one-of-the-biggest-donor-for-the-ngos/

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation was founded in 2000.

It supports people to live a healthy and productive life. It works in global development and attempts to eradicate severe poverty and hunger. The US division is committed to reducing inequities and increasing opportunities for low-income and vulnerable people in the country. Lastly, the global health divisions strive to tackle high mortality rates from preventive diseases in developing countries.  

It supports WHO, the Global Fund for AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, PATH, and US Fund for UNICEF.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation was a founding partner of Gavi which was an alliance created in 2000 to enhance the access of immunization in poor countries. The foundation has made donations of approximately $4 billion to Gavi, which is presently a major player to distribute Coronavirus vaccines in developing countries. The foundation has also distributed over $7.8 billion which includes $2 billion to combat HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, $1.9 billion for immunization projects.

Yes.

Final Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Quiz

Question

Who are the founders of the Bill and Melinda foundation?

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Answer

Bill Gates and Melinda Gates.

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When was Bill and Melinda's foundation founded?

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Answer

It was founded in 2000.

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Question

The Bill and Melinda foundation merged with which foundation?


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Answer

William H. Gates foundation

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Question

Why was the Bill and Melinda foundation founded?


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Answer

Bill and Melinda were concerned that millions of children are dying in poor and developing countries from diseases, such as diarrhea and pneumonia, that were easily treated in wealthier countries. Bill & Melinda believed every individual, irrespective of their circumstances should live a good life.

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Question

What were the initial concerns of the foundation?


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Answer

Its initial main concerns were global health, libraries, education as well as the Pacific Northwest.

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What is the mission of the foundation?


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Answer

"Our mission is to create a world where every person has the opportunity to live a healthy, productive life."

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What are the divisions of the foundation?


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Answer

Global development, Global health, US program, Global Growth & opportunity, Global Policy and Advocacy, and Gender Equality.

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What does the global development division do?


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The global development division attempts to eradicate severe poverty and hunger. The global development amongst other areas includes agricultural initiatives, sanitation, polio, nutrition, vaccinations, maternal and child heath, and response to emergencies.

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Question

Does the foundation provide financial support to people as well?


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Answer

The foundation strives to boost financial services to the needy with the help of the funded project that assesses the efficiency of loans & insurance, education, and financial planning in poor countries.

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How is the foundation helping in the field of research?


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The Grand challenge initiative of the global health division provides funding for potential scientific discoveries to prevent, treat and cure diseases in third-world countries.

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What are the awards given to the foundation?


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Answer

Prince of Asturias award, Indira Gandhi prize for peace, Padma Bhushan, and The Presidential Medal of Freedom.

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Question

Why is the foundation criticized for its global health approach?


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Answer

Critics propose that Bill’s perspective for global health and agriculture advocates the interest of big pharmaceutical companies and agribusinesses (such as Biomatics capital partners in which Gates investing) above the interest and benefit of third world countries. Also, Gates foundation grants are usually given depending on the social relations and ideological adherences instead of the technical capabilities and competence.

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How does the USA division work?


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The USA division is committed to reducing inequities and increasing opportunities for the low-income and vulnerable people in the country.

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What are the concerns for the educational program of the foundation?


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Answer

Few critics worry that the foundation leads the conversation on education or pushes its viewpoint via news coverage. The foundation is being accused by parents, researchers, and professionals for steering the conversation on educational reforms.

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Question

Why is the 2019 goalkeeper award of the foundation being criticized?


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Answer

In 2019, the foundation gave the global goalkeeper award to the Indian prime minister Narendra Modi. This was broadly criticised by human rights activitists and academics around the world. Critics asserted that Modi who is a Hindu nationalist has an extensive record of human rights abuse, and the foundation should not rejoice this when it has a mission statement that emphasizes equal value to every human being.

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