Skip to main content

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Profile

Last profile update: 03/24/2017
Last grant data update: 03/25/2017

At A Glance

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

(formerly William H. Gates Foundation)

P.O. Box 23350

Seattle, WA United States 98102-0650

Telephone: (206) 709-3100

URL: www.gatesfoundation.org

Type of Grantmaker

Independent foundation

Additional Descriptor

EIN

562618866

BRIDGE Number

7070625376

Background

Established in 1994 in WA as the William H. Gates Foundation - The William H. Gates Foundation, focused on global health, was created in 1994 by Microsoft co-founder William H. "Bill" Gates, III and his wife, Melinda French Gates. Three years later, he and Melinda created the Gates Library Foundation, which worked to bring public access computers with Internet connections to libraries in the United States. Its name changed to the Gates Learning Foundation in 1999 to reflect its focus on ensuring that low-income minority students are prepared for college and have the means to attend. In 2000, to increase efficiency and communication, the two organizations merged into the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. In 2006, Warren Buffett, founder of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., pledged 10 million shares of Berkshire Hathaway B stock (valued at approximately $31 billion) to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Each year, 5 percent of the remaining pledged shares will be transferred to the asset trust, and starting in 2008, the total value of the previous year's gift must be spent. In 2007, the foundation restructured and created a separate organization, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Trust, to oversee the foundation's assets. The trust will include the annual installments of Warren Buffett's gift to the foundation and in turn, will fund the program foundation. Bill and Melinda Gates will be the sole trustees of the asset trust. The original entity, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, conducts the foundation's programmatic and grantmaking activities. Based in Seattle, Washington, the foundation also has offices in Washington, D.C.; Beijing, China; Delhi, India; and London, United Kingdom. The foundation plans to close 50 years after the deaths of its three current trustees - Bill and Melinda Gates, and Warren Buffett. Separately from the foundation, Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett have made a commitment to The Giving Pledge, an effort to invite the wealthiest individuals and families to give the majority of their wealth to philanthropic causes during their lifetime or after their death

Purpose and Activities

Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. In developing countries, it focuses on improving people’s health and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. In the United States, it seeks to ensure that all people—especially those with the fewest resources—have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and life. Grantmaking areas are: 1) Global Development: to help the world’s poorest people lift themselves out of hunger and poverty; 2) Global Health: to harness advances in science and technology to save lives in developing countries; and 3) U.S. Division: to improve U.S. high school and postsecondary education and support vulnerable children and families in Washington State.