A bitter divorce can open a window for change at the Gates Foundation


Philanthropic organization can see new members, change of focus; could also affect India

Years of sharpness are believed to have led to the split between Bill and Melinda Gates.

When the world woke to the shocking news that Bill and Melinda Gates would end their 27-year marriage, reassurances were given that their $ 50 billion philanthropic foundation would remain intact. Now there is evidence that this may not be entirely true.

The foundation is a major stakeholder in the global public health arena and has spent approximately $ 50 billion over two decades.

Clever separation

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At the time of the divorce announcement, the gates said it was a mutual decision and sought privacy. As a result, however, there were media reports about the years of sharpness that had ultimately led to the split.

Similar news: Bill Gates, Melinda on divorce, will work together on formation

It is now believed that Melinda was unhappy about Bill’s alleged connections with Jeffrey Epstein, a financier and convicted sex offender. She was also reportedly upset about his alleged conduct towards Microsoft employees, including an extramarital affair.

There have also been complaints about the behavior of Michael Larson, the money manager who runs Cascade Investment and has managed the Gates’ assets for nearly three decades.

Room for change

With so much sharpness in their relationship, doubts have arisen as to how well Bill and Melinda will be able to work together for their philanthropic endeavors. There have been reports that the foundation had to bring in outside directors – part of Gates and Buffett.

It is feared that such a move could change the focus of the foundation. However, according to media reports, this may also be a good step. A larger number of board members could create greater diversity and better democratize the institution.

In a Bloomberg report, Mark Suzman, CEO of the Gates Foundation, was quoted as saying to employees that he wanted to “strengthen the foundation’s long-term sustainability and stability.”

“I am actively discussing with Bill and Melinda the steps they and Warren (Buffet) could take,” he said, according to the report. Billionaire Warren Buffett is also a board member of the Gates Foundation and has contributed $ 27 billion of his own money to the foundation.

The Gates have “confirmed their commitment to the foundation and continue to work together for our mission,” he said.

The India connection

In India, the Gates Foundation works with the center on a variety of projects, including those under the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It also works with community groups, nonprofits, academic institutions, development organizations, and private actors in the philanthropy field.

According to the foundation, the main priorities in health care include maternal and newborn health, nutrition, family planning and the fight against infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, lymphatic filariasis and visceral leishmaniasis.

The extent to which a possible change to the Gates Foundation would affect its operations in India remains to be estimated.

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