Who We Are

Foundation FAQ

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Q. Does the foundation accept donations?
A.
From time to time, people generously offer to contribute money to the foundation. We prefer that people give directly to our grantee organizations rather than to the foundation if they want to help advance the causes we’re passionate about. Because our financial resources, while significant, represent a small fraction of what’s needed to address these challenges, we work in partnership with governments, the private sector, and other donors and organizations to achieve the greatest possible impact.

To be responsive to those who still wish to give to the foundation, we have adopted these guidelines  for accepting donations from individuals. To be clear, the foundation does not and will not solicit donations. Our goal is not fundraising. Our goal is simply to honor the intentions of generous people.

Q. Is my organization eligible to receive funding through the foundation?
A.
See our Grant Opportunities.

Q. Do Bill, Melinda, and Warren get tax breaks for their donations to the foundation?
A.
Many individuals enjoy tax benefits as a result of making charitable contributions. The amount of tax savings received depends on both the size of the charitable contributions and the person's annual income.

Bill, Melinda, and Warren have been exceptionally generous in making contributions to the foundation, donating sums much larger than their annual incomes. As a result, the tax savings they receive from these contributions represent a very small percentage of the contributions.

From 1994 to 2006, Bill and Melinda gave the foundation more than $26 billion. Those donations resulted in a tax savings of less than 8.3 percent of the contributions they made over that time.

In 2006, Warren made the first payment on his historic gift to the foundation and claimed no tax benefit from this contribution.

Q. I received an email notification that I won a prize or lottery from Bill Gates or the foundation. Is this true?
A.
No. More information about scam emails is available here.

Q. How do I find more information about working for the foundation?
A. To learn more about employment opportunities with the foundation and how to apply, visit our Jobs section.

Q. What volunteer opportunities are associated with the foundation?
A.
Many interested volunteers contact us with offers to help. However, the foundation is a funding organization and we believe it is the organizations to which we give grants (and many others like them) that have the greatest need for volunteers. To learn more, please visit our Volunteering page.

Q. Why did you make that investment in XX company?
A. Throughout the year, we often receive questions about why a specific investment was made. Because we want to maintain a focus on the programmatic work, we do not comment on individual investment holdings. We do publish a listing of our investments  once a year with the filing of our tax return.

Q. What is the foundation doing about climate change?
A.
The foundation believes that climate change is a major issue facing all of us, particularly poor people in developing countries, and we applaud the work that others are doing to help find solutions in this area. While we do not fund efforts specifically aimed at reducing carbon emissions, many of our global health and development grants directly address problems that climate change creates or exacerbates. For example, our Agricultural Development  initiative works to help small farmers who live on less than $1 per day adapt to increased drought and flooding through the development of drought and flood resistant crops, improved irrigation efficiency, and other means.

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