Bill Gates

Co-chair and Trustee

Along with Co-chair Melinda Gates, Bill Gates shapes and approves foundation strategies, advocates for the foundation’s issues, and helps set the organization’s overall direction. He and Melinda work together with grantees and partners to further the foundation’s goal of improving equity in the United States and around the world.

Bill co-founded Microsoft Corporation in 1975 with Paul Allen and led the company to become the worldwide leader in business and personal software and services. In 2008, Bill transitioned to focus full-time on the foundation’s work. He is also the founder of Breakthrough Energy, which works to address climate change by supporting the next generation of entrepreneurs, big thinkers, and clean technologies.

If we are going to change people’s lives, we need another level of innovation. Not just technology innovation – system innovation.

In 2010, Bill, Melinda, and Warren Buffett founded the Giving Pledge, an effort to encourage the world’s wealthiest families and individuals to publicly commit more than half of their wealth to philanthropic causes and charitable organizations during their lifetime or in their will.

Bill grew up in Seattle with two sisters. His late father, William H. Gates Sr., was an attorney and civic leader who served as a leader of the foundation from its inception in 1994 to his passing in 2020. His late mother, Mary Gates, was a schoolteacher, University of Washington regent, and chair of United Way International. Bill and Melinda have three children.

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