What We Do

Global Programs: An Overview of Changes



In early 2012, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation implemented a new approach to our Global Programs—one which promises to build on existing strengths while adopting new ways of working that will create a more collaborative model for working with partners. Given what we have learned from our work over the years—and in response to feedback from our partners—we decided to make changes to create a more integrated organization. We seek to advance the capabilities of our global program staff, to build productive collaborations, and to create predictable, streamlined processes for making and managing our grants. We believe this will increase our impact.

What Drives Our Work

Our program strategies remain integral to all that we do. Our new approach to the Global Programs is guided by three key principles:


  • Global impact: Our mission remains to help all people lead healthy, productive lives.
  • Commitment to partners: We want to provide the most effective support for our partners, to ensure quality interactions, clear and consistent communications, and feedback.
  • Foundation values: We are guided by our values of optimism, collaboration, rigor, and innovation.

Summary of Changes within the Global Programs

Our global work used to be managed by several distinct programs and multiple distinct regional presences. To integrate our work more effectively, we’ve realigned the teams that make up the Global Programs.


Work that focuses primarily on research and development objectives and advances early discovery and product development now resides within Global Health, while work that focuses primarily on delivery-related objectives is housed within Global Development. Global Health and Global Development will be integrated more closely to ensure that all our work is part of a coherent whole. Supported by multi-disciplinary groups that draw upon the foundation’s best resources, including programmatic, functional, and country expertise, these teams are responsible for driving end-to-end impact: from discovery through delivery.


  • We created a single Global Policy and Advocacy division to bring together several policy, advocacy, and in-country teams. This Global Policy and Advocacy team is modeled after our Global Communications team, created in 2010 to maximize use of our brand and voice.
  • We brought our country-based staff under Global Policy and Advocacy to ensure we get the most out of our presence in key geographies. Our country-based staff provides needed expertise to achieve results in a particular geography. They understand on-the-ground implementation, which will help them build strong relationships with local governments, partners, and grantees. In addition to our Seattle headquarters and Washington D.C. office, we currently have an office based in London, country offices in China and India, and representatives in Ethiopia and South Africa.
  • We created new functional teams with expertise in key subjects that cut across all our programmatic areas of focus. Some examples of these functional teams include translational science, vaccine clinical development, integrated development, and integrated delivery.


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