Their 27-year marriage may have “broken irreparably,” but Bill and Melinda Gates still question the future direction, scale and governance of the charity they founded together.
Bill and Melinda Gates FoundationThe organization spends more than 5 billion U.S. dollars each year, especially for health and development projects, and quickly moved to eliminate concerns about the possible interference caused by divorce.
It said: “Bill and Melinda will continue to serve as co-chairs and trustees.” “There are no plans to change their roles or organization. They will continue to work together to develop and approve the foundation’s strategy, advocate for foundation issues, and Determine the overall direction of the organization.”
When Melinda Gates File a divorce petition, This project ended for more than 30 years, during which they raised three children, became one of the richest couples in the world, donated more than 55 billion U.S. dollars, and mobilized the government and other wealthy donors to produce Wider impact, including through committed to.
This couple has been walking Response to the coronavirus pandemic, Assisted in the development and support of research plans for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of Covid-19, strengthened the UN-supported Gavi agency (which played an important role in overseeing the distribution of vaccines to low-income countries), and established a system for sharing Covid-19 Covax -19 vaccines.
What are the broader implications for the governance of the foundation?
The foundation’s future donations will depend on the size of their respective destiny’s continued contributions, and the extent of further donations by their long-term friend and trustee Warren Buffett. The 90-year-old investor made a large donation and promised to hand over 85% of his $100 billion remaining assets.
Facts have proved that Gates is very hands-on, while Buffett is not so hands-on, unless he regularly deals with strategic matters, such as limiting the permanent staff of the foundation to 1,600 employees. Some people believe that divorce may trigger changes to establish a larger board of directors that is compatible with other foundations.
The internal memo to employees emphasized “business as usual.” As one employee said: “The foundation is big enough. Even if they start to invest money in other things, it’s still okay.”
Professor Henry Peter, head of the Geneva Charity Center at the University of Geneva, is more cautious.
He was referring to Gates and Buffett, and he said: “The foundation’s ecosystem is actually based on only three trustees.” “Knowing if it will be interesting [the Gates] Without getting married, how will the couple stay ahead. Now may be the right time to study governance. “
He added that the divorce message “is not completely easy to reconcile with the image that the foundation enjoys. We can only hope that Melinda will not leave and establish her own initiative.”
Will Gates’ charitable activities be further dispersed?
Unlike other wealthy couples who later divorced and started philanthropy, Melinda’s influence and the influence of Bill’s late father and some close friends ensured that Gates had more than two decades of experience. Work together in the time to run a foundation named after him.
The couple are still very involved-participating in the weekly Covid-19 conference call and not overseeing the foundation’s latest annual strategic review until last month, which covers its 27 program areas.
Melinda said in a video interview last week: “Do we disagree? Of course, sometimes we do. But what about us… Many years ago, the foundation promised to resolve these differences outside the foundation, Solve, and then come to the foundation with a voice as a leader… That’s what we did, we did it.”
The founders are committed to health and development together, but Bill’s passion is “hard science”, emphasizing technological and scientific breakthroughs, and paying close attention to results. Instead, Melinda emphasized the “humanities” to promote implementation in broader development issues, and pay more and more attention to women’s issues, gender equality and empowerment.
The result is an internal division, with different teams working on the “Bill” project and the “Melinda” project.
What will happen to their activities outside the foundation?
Bill Step down Last year from the Microsoft board of directors, this company made a fortune, sold most of his company stock, and invested in climate change technology. He also made charitable contributions to charities such as Alzheimer’s disease from his late father.
Some people pointed out that Melinda was more willing to criticize government policies, especially under the leadership of former President Donald Trump, and even speculated that she might participate in politics, such as representing the U.S. Senate if she has a seat.
Forbes It is estimated that their common wealth is 130 billion U.S. dollars. According to Washington State law, an undisclosed and undisputed “separation contract” will determine the division of property and assets, including personal investment portfolios held in the following ways: Cascade investment —And their 66,000-square-foot high-tech waterfront house on Lake Washington, once worth $150 million.
Their investments include stakes in luxury hotel group Four Seasons and other groups; Canadian National Railways; waste removal company Republic Services; disinfectant manufacturer Ecolab; beverage group Femsa; and agricultural machinery manufacturer Deere ( Deere).
Bill and Melinda also each oversee their own corporate impact funds-including Gates Ventures, Breakthrough energy companies with Key enterprise -Enable them to invest in social causes. The foundation itself pays its charitable donations, and the controlled assets it controls (worth more than $50 billion in 2019) are held and managed by a separate trust fund.
The youngest of their four children has recently turned 18 and is now a legal adult, which reduces complications in guardianship. Their daughter Jennifer posted on her Instagram account: “This is a challenging time for our family.”
Other reports by Billy Nauman in New York