LETTER FROM THE CEO
Globally, 2020 began as one of the healthiest years on record. Decades of work to strengthen primary care infrastructure, combat the spread of infectious diseases, and improve nutritional outcomes had helped to provide more people than ever before with the opportunity to lead healthy and productive lives.
By mid-year, COVID-19 had upended much of that progress around the world. What started as an acute health crisis quickly permeated all facets of life, with far-reaching social and economic consequences. Hard-earned gains in all spheres of development—not just global health, but also economic growth, education, and poverty alleviation—stalled or regressed.
On the backdrop of that turmoil, the murders of Black people in the United States, including George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, sparked a global movement to confront injustice and inequality. The spate of hate-based attacks against Asians throughout the year only heightened the urgency of that cause.
For many, 2020 will forever be linked with trauma and hardship. The number of lives lost and pain endured was staggering. But that will not be the year’s only legacy.
It was also a year when we collectively adapted to the unfamiliar and found new ways to carry out our important work, even amidst the most trying of circumstances. A year when the institutions we built, nurtured, and resourced together with our partners for moments like this rose to the challenge. And a year when unprecedented collaboration between scientists around the world produced the fastest vaccine turnaround time in history.
Our close partnerships with you—the tireless advocates and dedicated professionals across the public, private, and philanthropic sectors—were indispensable to each of those successes. Those partnerships will continue to be integral as we work together to bring the pandemic under control and rebuild a more equitable and resilient world. As we strive to do so, we remain committed to transparency, accountability, and responsible stewardship of the financial resources generously entrusted to us.
To that end, I am pleased to share with you the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s 2020 Annual Report. Our complete audited financial statements are available on gatesfoundation.org and provide a clear and comprehensive picture of our ongoing efforts to carry out that stewardship.
This commitment is essential to achieve the impact we seek. Through judicious use of our resources, we can ensure that as much of it as possible goes toward reducing poverty, disease, and inequality.
It is an honor to join forces in that endeavor with our outstanding friends, partners, and grantees across the United States and around the world. To all of you, I extend my deepest thanks.
Chief Executive Officer
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation