The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

* Assets: $33,498,185,159 (2009)
* Grants Received: $1,633,304,452 (2009)
* Grants Awarded: $3,626,100,000 (2009)

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation was created in January 2000 by multi-billionaire Bill Gates and his wife. The Foundation took form through the merger of the Gates Learning Foundation, which worked to expand access to technology through public libraries, and the William H. Gates Foundation (named after Bill’s father), which focused on improving global health. William H. Gates is now the President of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

This Seattle-based Foundation has an endowment of approximately $24 billion, making it the largest charitable organization in the world. Its self-identified mission is to help “reduce inequities” in four primary areas:

a) Its Global Health program works “to close the gap between rich and poor countries by encouraging new research and supporting healthcare organizations that reach people most in need.” Funding in this area encompasses global health technologies and strategies, infectious diseases, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and reproductive health services

b) The Education program seeks “to ensure that all students in the United States graduate from high school ready for college, work, and citizenship.” It makes large grants to black and Hispanic (or “historically underserved”) youth.c) The Global Libraries program, which is subdivided into the U.S. Library Program and International Library Initiatives, strives to provide people in the United States and abroad with free Internet access at public libraries. A major objective is “to increase access to technology for residents in low-income and disadvantaged communities.”

d) The Pacific Northwest program “works with public and private partners to make a positive impact on the lives of vulnerable families and children in Washington state and Greater Portland, Oregon.” Philanthropy in this area is directed toward housing, early learning, and other community service programs.

The Gates Foundation is so enormous that the financial portion of its 990-PF form submitted to the IRS, which lists all of its investments, fills nearly 1,500 pages. While the Foundation’s grantmaking is by no means exclusively targeted toward the political left, among the groups it supports are: the Tides Center; the Tides Foundation; the National Council of La Raza; the Progressive Policy Institute; the Friends of Nelson Mandela; Global Justice; the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy (NCRP); the Council on Foundations; Planned Parenthood; Africare; the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians Economic Development Corporation; Physicians for Human Rights; Population Action International; Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust; the International HIV/AIDS Alliance; the Funders Network on Population, FareStart; Reproductive Health and Rights; EngenderHealth; Pathfinder International; the Gay Men’s Health Crisis; the Low Income Housing Institute; World Neighbors; the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF); the Aspen Institute; the Progressive Policy Institute; the Refugee Womens Alliance; the United States Student Association; Earth Conservation Corps; the United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs; the Funders Concerned About AIDS; Population Services International; the Alan Guttmacher Institute; the United Nations Foundation; the International HIV/AIDS Alliance; Facing the Future: the Center for Global Development; World Vision International; the International Center for Research on Women; Population Communications International; the Organization of Chinese Americans; People and the Planet; the Urban League; the Foundation for Reproductive Health and Family Education (Haiti); the Population Resource Center; the Ethnic Support Council; the World Resources Institute; AVSC International; and the Carter Center.


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