Melinda French Gates

Co-chair, Board Member

Melinda French Gates is a philanthropist, businesswoman, and global advocate for women and girls. As co-chair of the foundation, she shapes and approves the organization’s strategies and overall direction, reviews results, and works with grantees and partners to further the foundation’s goal of improving equity in the United States and around the world.

Through her work at the foundation over more than two decades, Melinda has seen firsthand that empowering women and girls can transform the health and prosperity of families, communities, and societies. Her work has led her to focus increasingly on gender equity as a lever for change. In 2015, Melinda founded Pivotal Ventures, a company working to accelerate the pace of social progress in the United States.

Our role is to take risks that, if they pay off, could give millions of people the chance to make the most of their lives.
Melinda French Gates
Co-chair and Trustee

Melinda is the author of the bestselling book The Moment of Lift, in which she introduces readers to the inspiring women she has met during her work and travels around the world and shares her own journey to becoming an advocate for women and girls.

The second of four children, Melinda grew up in Dallas, Texas. She earned a bachelor’s degree in computer science and economics and an MBA, both from Duke University. She spent the first decade of her career developing multimedia products at Microsoft before leaving the company to focus on her family and philanthropic work.

She has three children—Jenn, Rory, and Phoebe—and lives in Seattle, Washington.

See articles by Melinda French Gates

Portrait of Bunmi Grace Babalola, owner of a Patent and Proprietary Medicine Vendor (PPMV) drug store, in Alimosho, Lagos State, Nigeria, on May 23, 2023.

The capital women need, for the future we all need

Melinda French Gates pens the foreword to a new paper that addresses the need to expand access to affordable credit for women entrepreneurs in the Global South.
By Melinda French Gates Co-chair, Board Member, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
A community health volunteer, Mesaid, conducts meets with an expectant mother, Chizi, in Mariakani, Kenya.

Melinda French Gates on how leaders can boost women’s economic power

The case for doing so has never been stronger, argues the philanthropist.
By Melinda French Gates Co-chair, Board Member, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Prema Devi uses BioPrime AgriSolutions pest controller and Kamal Kisan pesticide spray on her farm in Gauripur village, Uttar Pradesh, India.

Climate and Development Finance: A transition framework for all

Melinda French Gates pens the foreword to a new white paper detailing steps to accelerate climate resilient development and create greater opportunities for citizens in low-income countries.
By Melinda French Gates Co-chair, Board Member, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

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