Who We Are



a tradition of giving (1997 - 1999)

Bill Gates and Melinda French were raised knowing it’s important to give back to the community.

“Both the Gates and French families instilled the values of volunteerism and civic engagement. Our families believed that if life happens to bless you, you should use those gifts as well and as wisely as you can.”


The Article That Started It All

Bill and Melinda Gates read an article like this one about millions of children in poor countries who die from diseases eliminated long ago in the U.S. They send it to Bill Sr. with

a note: “Dad, maybe we can do something about this.”

Gates Library Foundation Launch

Building on the belief that drove their professional careers at Microsoft—that the power of personal computing could provide a link to knowledge and productivity for

everyone, everywhere—Bill and Melinda Gates launch the Gates Library Foundation with $200 million to help all U.S. public libraries offer free Internet access. Patty Stonesifer leads the new foundation.

Bill's First Trip to India

Bill takes his first trip to India for the foundation, administering oral polio vaccines to kids. In an interview afterward, he talks about the potential of a world without



Global Health Interest Takes Root

The family’s interest in global health takes root with a gift of $100 million to the Bill and Melinda Gates Children’s Vaccine

Program at Seattle-based PATH (Program for Appropriate Technology in Health).


Partner with Global Alliance for Vaccines & Immunizations

Our foundation joins the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations (GAVI) along with global health organizations, policymakers, researchers, and donor

countries. GAVI brings together these groups to increase access to vaccinations. In the years to come, GAVI will provide millions of lifesaving vaccines to children in more than 70 developing countries.

New Senior Advisor

Noted epidemiologist Dr. William H. Foege is hired as a senior advisor for the foundation. The co-chairs work with Foege

and with health expert Dr. Gordon Perkin to craft and guide our global health work.

Establishment of the Gates Millennium Scholars Program

The Gates Millennium Scholars Program is established with the goal of increasing the number of minority students who graduate with advanced degrees in science and other


building our foundation (2000 - 2009)

Our first projects, like bringing the Internet to public libraries, sprang from our founders’ Microsoft experience. But in the 1990s, Bill and Melinda learned about millions of children who needed simple medical treatments. With an expanded focus, we sought out and supported groups who were saving lives around the world.


Launch of Sound Families

Sound Families is launched, a $40 million, eight-year commitment to address family homelessness in the Puget Sound area in Washington State with the goal of creating

1,500 new housing units, provided with services that increase family stability.

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Formed

The William H. Gates Foundation merges with the Gates Learning Foundation to form the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation: our foundation. The new foundation is led by

CEO Patty Stonesifer.

The United Nations Sets Eradication Goals

The United Nations sets forth eight Millennium Development Goals that include eradicating extreme poverty, reducing child deaths, and fighting disease. Our foundation and other supporters hope to work together to complete the goals by 2015.


Washington D.C. Regional Office Opens

Our foundation opens a regional office in Washington, D.C. to help us create and maintain strong partnerships with government-funded programs.


Launch HIV/AIDS Prevention Branch in India

We launch a branch office devoted to HIV/AIDS prevention initiative in India.

Our Original Libraries Work is Complete

The foundation’s original libraries work is complete. The U.S. libraries program invested $240 million to connect 99% of all

U.S. public libraries to the Internet with computers and training.


$258 Million in Grants: Anti-Malaria Work

Our foundation continues its anti-malaria work, announcing grants totaling $258 million to develop a malaria vaccine, new drugs, and innovative mosquito


Our Library Work Goes Global

Our library work goes global as we begin bringing computers and Internet access to libraries in Chile, Mexico, Botswana, Lithuania, Latvia, Romania, Ukraine, Poland,

Bulgaria, and Vietnam.


Launch Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa

With the Rockefeller Foundation, we launch Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). Led by Kofi Annan, AGRA is an Africa-based organization working to revitalize

agriculture and help small farmers overcome poverty and hunger.

Warren Buffett Pledges over $30 Billion to the Foundation

In this letter to Bill and Melinda about their work “improving the lives of millions of fellow humans who have not been as lucky as the three of us,” Warren Buffett

pledges a lifetime gift worth more than $30 billion to “carry on this work.” The 2006 gift doubles the foundation’s spending.

We Restructure the Foundation's Three Priorities

To deepen our efforts to give everyone the chance to live a healthy, productive life, we restructure the foundation with three priorities: global health, global development, and work in the U.S.


Launch of Grand Challenges Explorations

We launch Grand Challenges Explorations, committing $100 million to encourage scientists worldwide to find bold new approaches to fight our greatest health challenges.

Opening of Beijing Office

Our foundation opens a Beijing office to focus on global health issues in Asia.

Partner With Rotary International

With an initial $200 million investment, we begin a partnership with Rotary International, one of the most important groups working to wipe out polio. In the

announcement Bill says, “Eradicating polio will be one of the most significant public health accomplishments in history.”


Bill Leaves Microsoft to Work Full-Time at the Foundation

A year of transitions. Bill leaves Microsoft to work full-time at the foundation as co-chair; Jeff Raikes, formerly of Microsoft, is named as our new CEO; and we break ground

for our new Seattle campus.


Investment of $290 Million in Four Communities Across U.S.

We announce an investment of $290 million in four communities across the U.S., supporting bold, ambitious plans to transform the way schools recruit, develop,

reward, and keep teachers.

Launch of the Living Proof Project

In October, Bill and Melinda give a speech in Washington, D.C., titled “Why We are Impatient Optimists.” This speech launches the Living Proof project, which shows how U.S.

investments in global health are saving lives.

our work continues (2010 - 2013)

Today, we work with thousands of partners in Africa, India, Europe, South America, and here in the United States. We are guided by the Gates family’s deeply held belief: that all lives have equal value. Our goal is to find solutions for people with the most urgent needs, wherever they live.


The Giving Pledge

Bill and Melinda Gates join Warren Buffett in “The Giving Pledge,” an effort to encourage America’s wealthiest families to donate the majority of their wealth to

philanthropic causes and charities.

Launch of Next Generation Learning Challenges

We join education groups to launch Next Generation Learning Challenges with a $20 million donation that will bring the best online lectures in the world to students


Opening of London Office

We open a London office to work closely with European and African partners and grantees (people who receive grants).

Declaration of the Decade of Vaccines

Our foundation declares the Decade of Vaccines. We pledge $10 billion over the next 10 years to help research, develop, and deliver vaccines for the world’s poorest countries.


GAVI Pledging Conference

Global partners, donor governments, and our foundation pledge $4.3 billion to support the GAVI Alliance, working to develop and distribute vaccines to the poorest countries.

World Headquarters Opens in Seattle

Our world headquarters opens on this site. Designed to inspire and create optimism and hope, the campus is a hub for innovation and gatherings of experts from many fields,

perspectives, and countries who are dedicated to improving lives here and around the world.


United Nations High-Level Event to End Polio

At the UN General Assembly meeting, our foundation joins global partners to outline a blueprint to eradicate polio forever. Key partners include heads of state from

Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Pakistan—the last three countries fighting endemic polio.

Presence in India and Africa

Our offices in Addis Ababa, Johannesburg, Abuja, and New Delhi bring local perspectives to our global work.

London Summit on Family Planning

“Helping women gain access to contraceptives saves lives,” says Melinda Gates at the London Summit on Family Planning. She calls for voluntary access to family planning

for 120 million more women in the developing world by 2020.


Global Vaccine Summit

The Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Bill Gates meet at the Global Vaccine Summit. World leaders joined the summit to continue support for the Decade of Vaccines, a commitment

to reach all people with the vaccines they need.

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