What just happened? Melinda French Gates is reportedly no longer planning to donate the majority of her wealth to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The bulk of her fortune will now be spread out among several organizations including one she founded in 2015 to help women and families in the US.
Sources familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal that French Gates, whose divorce to Bill Gates was finalized in August 2021, would instead spread her wealth among various philanthropic endeavors.
The couple created the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in 2000, and a decade later, French Gates committed to giving away the majority of her resources in her lifetime. In her most recent Giving Pledge letter, French Gates reaffirmed the commitment, noting that she recognized “the absurdity of so much wealth being concentrated in the hands of one person.”
The only responsible thing to do with a fortune that size, she said, was to give it away as thoughtfully and impactfully as possible. “The ultimate goal of any philanthropist should be to render the need for philanthropy obsolete,” French Gates added.
French Gates in 2015 founded Pivotal Ventures to identify and develop solutions to help women and families in the US. In her 2021 Giving Pledge letter, French Gates said she will continue to seek out new partners, ideas and perspectives both through the Gates Foundation and Pivotal Ventures.
A spokesperson for the Gates Foundation declined to comment when reached by The Wall Street Journal.
Image credit: Chris Ratcliffe, Bloomberg