2010 Payne Lecture Series: Giving Back: Finding the Best Way to Make a Difference

Speaker:

  • Bill Gates

Bill Gates is the Co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, where he shapes and approves foundation strategies, reviews results, advocates for the foundation’s issues and helps set overall direction of the organization. Gates is the founder and chairman of Microsoft Corporation, a worldwide leader in software, services, and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential. In Gates’ last full year with the company, 2007, Microsoft had revenues of $51 billion, employed more than 78,000 people in 105 countries and regions, and invested $7.1 billion in research and development, as part of its commitment to make it easier, more cost-effective and enjoyable for people to use computers.

In July 2008, Gates transitioned out of his day to day role in the company to spend more time on his work with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. In developing countries, the foundation focuses on improving people’s health and lifting them out of hunger and extreme poverty. In the United States, the foundation seeks to ensure that all people, especially those with the fewest resources, have access to opportunities they need to succeed in school and life.

Through the foundation, Gates and his wife Melinda support philanthropic initiatives in the areas of global development, global health, and education, in the hope that in the 21st century, advances in these critical areas will be available for all people. With assets of some $34 billion, the Gates Foundation has made grant commitments of $21 billion since inception. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has committed more than $3.6 billion to organizations working in global health, with a focus on expanding childhood immunization ($1.5 billion), eradicating polio ($355 million), and combating malaria($287 million). In 2010, Gates pledged to spend more than $10 billion to develop and deliver new vaccines over the next decade. The foundation has also committed more than $2 billion to improving educational opportunities.