Melinda French Gates will likely focus on gender and equality issues, while remaining committed to global health and development causes, after withdrawing her commitment to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, experts say.
French Gates will no longer donate the majority of her wealth to the foundation she co-founded, and will instead spread her donations among various initiatives, according to The Wall Street Journalciting people familiar with the matter.
It’s not “really news,” says Jeannie Infante Sager, director of the Women’s Philanthropy Institute at Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. “She published her individual letter Giving Pledge in November, and she has long had her own approach to philanthropy.”
In addition to helping found the Gates Foundation in 2000 and co-founding the Giving Pledge in 2010, Melinda Gates, 57, also launched Pivotal Ventures in 2015, an investment and incubation company whose mission is to advance social progress in the United States.
Through Pivotal Ventures, Gates has been a major gender and equality funder for some time, says Melissa Berman, president and CEO of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, which manages more than $200 million in funding. annual donations.
Four philanthropic efforts in which Pivotal Ventures and Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors are involved, Berman says, include Grantmakers for Girls of Color, which focuses on barriers faced by girls of color; Collective Future Fund with a mission to end gender-based domestic violence; Promise Venture Studio, focused on early childhood development; and The Care Fund, in support of healthcare providers.
“She shared a deep commitment to gender and equity issues,” Berman says, “It’s great to have someone so important to work in these areas.”
Although Gates will likely focus on gender equality issues in the future, she will address the intersectionality of class, race and other gender equality issues, Sager said.
In her individual letter Giving Pledge, Gates says she will dedicate “my time, energy and effort to the work of alleviating poverty and advancing equality – for women and girls and other marginalized groups – in the United States and around the world.
“This aligns with what our research shows about many female philanthropists,” Sager says. “They don’t just write a check, they are participatory, giving all their time, talent, testimonials, connections (network) and trust.”
“Women philanthropists want to encourage greater philanthropy and use philanthropy to advance social change. I’m excited to see how Gates, as a role model, will amplify and harness the power of women’s philanthropy in the United States, but also on the global stage,” adds Sager.
Bill and Melinda Gates announced last May that they would be divorcing after 27 years of marriage. It was finalized in August. The Gates Foundation recently added CEO Mark Suzman and three outside board members to a new board to strengthen its governance.
Gates has an estimated net worth of US$6 billion, according to Forbes. She did not immediately respond to a request for comment sent to her company, Pivotal Ventures.