- Assets: $41,310,207,525 (2013)
- Grants Received: $4,115,412,226 (2013)
- Grants Awarded: $3,392,343,410 (2013)
The Seattle-based Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) was created in January 2000 by Microsoft founder/multi-billionaire Bill Gates and his wife. It took form through the merger of the Gates Learning Foundation, which worked to expand access to technology through public libraries, and the William H. Gates Foundation (named after Bill's father), whose focus was on improving global health.
BMGF currently possesses assets exceeding $41 billion, making it the largest charitable organization in the world. Its self-identified mission is to help “reduce inequality” via three primary philanthropic programs:
(1) The United States Program directs its grant-making toward organizations that seek to help “all people,… especially those with the fewest resources,” gain “the opportunity to receive a high-quality education.” The K-12 division of this program aims to “ensure that all students graduate from high school prepared to succeed in college,” and the Post-Secondary Success division strives to “dramatically increase” the number of young people who obtain college degrees or certificates “with labor-market value.” Moreover, BMGF is the largest private funder of the Common Core State Standards Intiative which was adopted in 2009.
The United States Program also includes a Washington State project dedicated to helping “vulnerable families” in that state deal with the persistent “problems of social inequity and poverty” that they face.
(2) The Global Health Program (GHP) invests in “proven approaches” to reducing the number of children who die each year, particularly in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa, as a result of “physical and mental impairments due to poor nutrition during [the] critical 1,000-day period from the onset of their mother’s pregnancy to their second birthday.” These approaches include “immediate and exclusive breastfeeding, complementary feeding, and food fortification and supplementation.” In addition, GHP funds various efforts to “develop innovative tools, technologies, and treatments” that effectively help women and newborns in “low-income settings” around the world to “survive and stay healthy during childbirth and beyond.”
Further, GHP's Infectious Diseases initiative includes: (a) a Malaria project that has committed nearly $2 billion in grants to fight this mosquito-borne malady which continues to kill hundreds of thousands of people – mostly young children in Sub-Saharan Africa – each year; (b) an HIV project that has awarded more than $3 billion to organizations around the world – particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa – that work to develop preventive measures and treatments for this deadly affliction; and (c) a Vaccine-Delivery project that seeks to help impoverished countries acquire immunizations for diseases like measles and polio, and for potentially life-threatening conditions like pneumonia.
(3) The Global Development Program serves as an umbrella for the following BMGF initiatives:
- The Financial Services for the Poor (FSP) initiative notes that while most low-income households worldwide “operate almost entirely in the cash economy,” “research has shown that the most effective way to significantly expand poor people’s access to formal financial services is through digital means.” Thus FSP aims to “play a catalytic role in broadening the reach of robust, open, and low-cost digital payment systems, particularly in poor and rural areas.”
- The Agricultural Development initiative has disseminated more than $2 billion in BMGF funds to help farming families across the globe – but primarily in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia – to “increase production in a sustainable way,” so as to help mitigate the “growing impact of climate change.” This objective is founded on the premise that the greenhouse gas emissions associated with human industrial activity (like farming) contribute heavily to potentially catastrophic global warming.
- The Family Planning initiative seeks to “bring access to high-quality contraceptive information, services, and supplies to … women and girls in the poorest countries.” As of December 2013, BMGF had awarded at least $71 million in grants to the Planned Parenthood abortion mill and its affiliates in the United States and around the world. In addition, the Gates Foundation has partnered with entities like the United Nations Population Fund, which has helped to administer China’s highly controversial “one child policy.”
In June 2014, Melinda Gates said in a statement that BMGF would no longer be funding abortion services in the future. “Around the world,” she explained, “there is a deep, broad, and powerful consensus [that we] should provide all women the information and tools to time and space their pregnancies in a safe and healthy way that works for them.... The question of abortion should be dealt with separately. But … the emotional and personal debate about abortion is threatening to get in the way of the lifesaving consensus regarding basic family planning.... [Therefore] the Gates Foundation has decided not to fund abortion.” BMGF rescinded this decision the following year, however, in response to a report which stated that “the global community risks falling short of its goal to reach an additional 120 million women and girls with access to contraceptives and family planning services” in the near future. Thus the Foundation pledged to give an additional $120 million to the “Family Planning 2020” initiative, which counts both Planned Parenthood and Marie Stopes International, two of the world's largest abortion providers, as its partners.
While BMGF's philanthropy is by no means targeted exclusively toward the political left, among its more noteworthy grantees are the Aspen Institute, the Carter Center, the Council on Foundations, Global Justice, the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy, the National Council of La Raza, Physicians for Human Rights, Planned Parenthood, the Progressive Policy Institute, the Tides Center and the Tides Foundation, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, the United Nations Foundation, the United States Student Association, the Urban League, the World Resources Institute, and World Vision International.
To view a list of additional noteworthy grantees of BMGF, click here.
In April 2014, twenty Palestinian non-governmental organizations issued an open letter condemning BMGF for holding a $170 million stake in G4S, a private security company that helps the state of Israel administer prisons that hold Palestinian inmates who, according to the Arab narrative, are incarcerated without trial and subjected to torture. In response to this letter, the Gates Foundation sold a majority of its shares in G4S the following month.
BMGF is a strong supporter of comprehensive immigration reform initiatives that would grant amnesty and provide a path-to-citizenship for millions of illegal aliens currently residing in the United States. Bill Gates himself was a co-founder of the pro-reform organization FWD.us. The publication Inside Philanthropy reports that BMGF has: (a) awarded millions of dollars to TheDream.Us, which seeks to help illegals gain DREAM Act benefits; (b) supported “immigrant rights” in the Pacific Northwest; (c) backed “immigrant integration” programs in Florida; and (d) funded Migration Policy Institute research on “undocumented youth and education.”
For additional information on BMGF, click here.
(Information on grantees and monetary amounts courtesy of The Foundation Center, GuideStar, ActivistCash, the Capital Research Center and Undue Influence)