Diversity, equity, and inclusion

We are working toward a future that is more diverse, equitable, and inclusive for all.
Foundation employees share personal stories at the Ignite storytelling session during the Annual Employee Meeting at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in Seattle, Washington, on May 9, 2023.

Our organization was founded on a simple premise—that people everywhere, regardless of identity or circumstances, should have the chance to live a healthy, productive life.

In 2021, we published our DEI Commitment Statement and developed our first diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) strategic framework, which lays out our plans for achieving transformational outcomes through increased diversity of talent, equitable practices, and an inclusive culture. The framework aims for systemic change across four pillars: Leadership Accountability, Talent, Culture, and Partnerships & Voice.

We believe that we simply cannot achieve our desired impact without focusing on DEI internally and with our partners. This begins with taking an earnest look at our shortcomings as well as our accomplishments. In 2022, we released our inaugural DEI progress report.

When we talk about DEI, we mean:

  • Diversity: a broad array of differences in identity, perspective, skill, and style
  • Equity: practices and policies that are just, transparent, and consistent
  • Inclusion: an environment that actively welcomes, connects, and values all while harming none


DEI progress report

2022 DEI Progress Report

Last year, in our inaugural DEI Progress Report, we reported on where we stood at the baseline in holding ourselves accountable for measurable results we committed to in our strategic framework. In this year's report, we provide an update on how we are building on that progress, including recent actions in 2023.

This transformational work requires us to overcome some of our most persistent challenges. The insights presented in the 2022 DEI Progress Report make this clear, but also spotlight some of the ways we are collectively addressing this, and our continued vision for a diverse, equitable, and inclusive organization.

Read the report

2022 DEI Report cover image

Insights from our journey

We are a work in progress, committed to transparency and accountability as we go.  Read some of what we’re learning in these posts.
Our people

DEI and our people

To have the greatest possible impact, we must make DEI a priority internally—starting with the people we hire and how we work to retain them. As our workforce grows, so does our opportunity to evolve into an organization that is more diverse and reflective of our partners and the communities we serve.

This requires us to cultivate a workplace where employees are treated, evaluated, and valued in an equitable way. We have launched several projects that will make our talent management processes more equitable and fair, including a multiyear project that promotes transparency by building a shared understanding of how jobs at the foundation are defined and organized, how appropriate pay ranges are determined by role, and what our total rewards philosophy and strategy will mean across the foundation and our affiliates.

Our growing global workforce at a glance

Global offices*
Nationalities represented among our employees
of employees work outside of the U.S. (252 of 1820 people)
Average annual growth rate in employees based outside the U.S. (2018–2022)
Growth in employees based outside the U.S. (2018–2022)
of employees based in the U.S. come from other countries (231 of 1568 people)
Defined as offices outside the United States. The foundation has two U.S. offices, in Seattle and in Washington, D.C., for a total of nine.

The race/ethnicity of foundation leaders closely reflects the demographics of foundation employees overall*

Side-by-side chart comparison of percentages of Leaders in the United States and All other employees in the United States for the Gates Foundation by ethnic group.

We currently only report race and ethnicity data for the United States. Collection of other demographic characteristics varies by region and may be constrained by local laws. Recently, we have undertaken ethnographic research to explore how to meaningfully expand our data collection relevant to our employees outside of the United States. While we understand that there is room for our data strategy related to workforce demographics to evolve, the data we have already collected is robust enough to provide a baseline picture of our workforce demographics in the United States and to allow us to make some important observations about our global reach.

Underrepresented groups: Employees based in the United States who indicate that they identify as Black or African-American, Hispanic or Latino/Latina/Latinx, Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander, American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian or Asian-American, multiracial, or “other.”

Employee resource groups (ERGs) at the Gates Foundation

Employee resource groups (ERGs) are foundation-supported, employee-run internal communities that are crucial to sparking change in our organization’s culture and advancing our DEI efforts. The first five ERGs were established in 2013. Since then, the number has grown to 13, each providing critical connections, learning opportunities, and perspectives to inform our leaders’ goals and commitments.
Africa Employee Resource Group logo

We work to engage and successfully onboard African talent and include Africans in all aspects of the foundation’s work, especially health and development efforts in sub-Saharan Africa.

Allies for Racial Justice logo

We focus on learning about whiteness in an effort to help dismantle racism and be active allies. We create a space where participants can practice, reflect, and learn from action.

Black Philanthropic Partnership (BPP) logo

We work to support diversity, inclusion, and professional development at the foundation and provide an open forum for learning and dialogue on issues that affect Black communities globally.

Cultural Confluence logo

We support international employees as they adjust to working at the foundation, promote culturally responsive behavior internally and externally, and act as a sounding board for Human Resources.

D.C. Inclusion Council logo

We work to strengthen and amplify the culture of the foundation’s office in Washington, D.C.; foster a sense of belonging and celebrate the diversity of our staff; and support our local community.

Disabilities Advocacy Group

We aim to spark a dialogue about how to support employees with disabilities, chronic health issues, learning differences, and neurodiversity, as well as advocate for disability inclusion within the foundation.

Gates Asians in Philanthropy logo

We are an open forum for employees who are Asian or Pacific Islander and their allies. We build connection and belonging and increase awareness of Asian and Pacific Islander cultures and issues.

Indigenous Communities Engagement Group

We promote inclusive engagement to decolonize philanthropy, including by creating space for Indigenous identities and wisdom in our organization and amplifying Indigenous voices in communities across the globe.

Latinos in Philanthropy logo

We work to foster a sense of belonging and an environment where Latino/Latina employees and allies can engage in courageous dialogue and meaningful activities on issues affecting Latino communities.

Out for Good & Allies logo

We are the ERG for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex staff and their allies. We promote fellowship among foundation employees and promote discussion of issues relevant to our community. 

Women of Color Connect

We aim to create safe spaces to have candid conversations about our unique experiences and identify ways to support women of color colleagues.

Women Connect and Male Allies

We are an ERG for women and their allies at the foundation. We provide opportunities for professional development, engagement, and advocacy for equity and inclusion in our workplace.

Working Parents & Caregivers logo

As employees caring for loved ones, we learn from each other and experts in the community, advocate to improve our experience at the foundation, and foster understanding and dialogue.

More about the foundation

More about the foundation


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