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PHILANTHROPY: Gates To Donate Fortune To Combat Disease
Microsoft founder Bill Gates, the world's wealthiest person, plans to donate
the bulk of his $105 billion fortune to help rid the planet of diseases such
as AIDS and malaria, the London Times
His father, William Gates Sr., said that in the next three months, the
William H. Gates Foundation will announce "a number of newly funded programs
which will go a long way toward its ultimate aim of becoming the largest
private charity on earth." With funds of more than $10 billion, it currently
ranks 5th among the world's largest philanthropic foundations but would
"dwarf" the others with the addition of Gates' personal fortune.
Gates Sr., who manages the foundation, said his son and daughter-in-law
Melinda plan to donate earnings from Microsoft to the foundation within
their lifetimes, leaving their two children with $10 million apiece.
Gates and his wife became interested in global health after a 1995 visit to
South Africa and India. His father said the couple "found themselves
increasingly shocked by the level of disease and poverty that they found in
In May, the Gates Foundation donated $25 million to the International AIDS
Vaccine Initiative, the largest single donation ever given to an
AIDS-related cause (see UN Wire's 4 May </unwire/archives/UNWIRE990504.cfm>
"Melinda and I want our children -- and all children -- to grow up in a
world without AIDS," Gates said (Rhodes/Chittenden, London Times, 1 Aug).
(Back to Contents)
Elizabeth Bell MPH
Behavioral Interventions and Research Branch
Division of STD Prevention
National Center for HIV, STD and TB Prevention
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Ensuring universal access to education, health, nutrition, family planning,
safe water and sanitation services would cost about $40 billion per year,
less than the amount Europeans spend annually on cigarettes.
-- A figure cited by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan in an address to the
Economic and Social Council meeting in Geneva.