Annual Letters from Bill & Melinda Gates
Annual Letter 2020
This year's Annual Letter marks the 20th anniversary of the foundation. In that spirit, Bill and Melinda reflect on two decades of impactful work, all the people who make that work possible, and how they are as optimistic as ever about the power of innovation to drive progress.
Annual Letter 2019
In this year’s letter we explore nine surprises that have inspired us to act.
Annual Letter 2018
This is our 10th Annual Letter, and we’re marking the occasion by answering 10 tough questions that people ask us. We will answer them as forthrightly as we can, and we hope that when you’re finished reading, you’ll be just as optimistic as we are.
Annual Letter 2017
Our 2017 annual letter is addressed to our dear friend Warren Buffett, who in 2006 donated the bulk of his fortune to our foundation to fight disease and reduce inequity. A few months ago, Warren asked us to reflect on what impact his gift has had on the world. This is our answer to him.
Annual Letter 2016
IF YOU COULD HAVE ONE SUPERPOWER, WHAT WOULD IT BE? We were asked that question recently by some high school students in Kentucky.... Trying to keep up with our foundation work and our three children’s schedules, we gave responses that will be immediately familiar to other parents. “More time!” “More energy!”
Annual Letter 2015
Forty years ago, Bill and his childhood friend Paul Allen bet that software and personal computers would change the way people around the world worked and played. This bet wasn't exactly a wager. It was an opportunity to make computers personal and empower people through the magic of software. Some people thought they were nuts. But the bet turned out well.
Annual Letter 2014
"By almost any measure, the world is better than it has ever been. People are living longer, healthier lives. Many nations that were aid recipients are now self-sufficient. You might think that such striking progress would be widely celebrated, but in fact, Melinda and I are struck by how many people think the world is getting worse. The belief that the world can’t solve extreme poverty and disease isn’t just mistaken. It is harmful. That’s why in this year’s letter we take apart some of the myths that slow down the work. The next time you hear these myths, we hope you will do the same."
Annual Letter 2013
Over the holidays I read The Most Powerful Idea in the World, a brilliant chronicle by William Rosen of the many innovations it took to harness steam power. Among the most important were a new way to measure the energy output of engines and a micrometer dubbed the "Lord Chancellor," able to gauge tiny distances.
Annual Letter 2012
Throughout my careers in software and philanthropy—and in each of my annual letters—a recurring theme has been that innovation is the key to improving the world. When innovators work on urgent problems and deliver solutions to people in need, the results can be magical.
Annual Letter 2011
As I sit down to work on my third annual letter, governments in every corner of the world are facing tough decisions about how to reduce spending. Although foreign aid accounts for less than 1 percent of governments’ total budgets, it is one place being considered for cuts. As a result, health and agricultural assistance that saves lives and puts poor countries on a track for self-sufficiency is at risk.
Annual Letter 2010
This is my second annual letter. The focus of this year’s letter is innovation and how it can make the difference between a bleak future and a bright one.
Annual Letter 2009
This is the first annual letter I plan to write about my work at the Gates Foundation. In this letter I want to share in a frank way what our goals are and where progress is being made and where it is not. Soon after Warren Buffett made his incredible gift, which doubled the resources of the foundation, he encouraged me to follow his lead by writing an annual letter. I won’t be quoting Mae West or trying to match his humor, but I will try to be equally candid.