Philanthropic couple Bill and Melinda Gates are ending their 27-year marriage. The two announced their decision jointly via their separate Twitter accounts. “After a great deal of thought and a lot of work on our relationship, we have made the decision to end our marriage,” said the joint statement.
Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to Continue
The couple formed the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which oversees the charitable ventures that the couple channeled their money into.
“We continue to share a belief in that mission and will continue our work together at the foundation, but we no longer believe we can grow together as a couple in this next phase of our lives,” they said. Despite the breakup, Bill and Melinda Gates confirmed they will continue to work together.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is the world’s largest charitable one of its kind. The organization aims to fight poverty, disease, and inequity by giving away billions of dollars annually in direct grants.
For the ongoing pandemic, the BMGF earmarked more than $1.75 billion. This includes initiatives to manufacture 100 million doses of vaccines for poorer countries.
In addition, Melinda Gates also created Pivotal Ventures in 2015, an investment company. It works to help advance social progress in the US.
William “Bill” Gates III
Gates, 65, seems intent on winding down on his ventures. Last year, he announced he is leaving the boards of both Berkshire Hathaway and Microsoft.
In particular, Microsoft is the hugely successful software company he started in 1975. According to Factset, gates’ personal stake in Microsoft is worth an estimated $26 billion.
From the late 70s to the 90s, Gates turned Microsoft into one of the most dominant companies in the world. In fact, Microsoft Windows accounted for over 90% of the operating system market share back in 1995.
By 2000, he gave up his role as CEO to colleague Steve Ballmer. Then, he began scaling down his involvement in the day-to-day operations of the company. In 2014, he relinquished his role as chairman and contented himself as a regular board member.
Melinda French Gates
Meanwhile, Melinda Gates grew up in Dallas and earned a master’s in business administration at Duke University. She joined Microsoft and worked on developing multimedia products, including Encarta.
Four months after starting at Microsoft, she met Bill at a New York dinner event. Months later, Bill asked her on a date when he chanced upon her at the Microsoft parking lot.
For the Foundation, Melinda Gates plays a high-profile public role often on par with Bill. In particular, she represents the organization both in remote places and in high society events.
The Giving Pledge
Forbes lists Gates as the world’s fourth wealthiest person with a net worth of $130.5 billion. The only people richer than him are Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, French luxury goods tycoon Bernard Arnault, and Tesla CEO Elon Musk. In addition, a personal investment firm, Cascade Investment LLC, handles the Gates family wealth.
Along with Warren Buffett, Bill started the Giving Pledge in 2010 to encourage billionaires like themselves to donate money. Outside of contributing, the Giving Pledge also gives donors the choice on how to spend their money. Currently, the Giving Pledge lists 200 active donors from 25 countries.
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Did you expect Bill and Melinda Gates to separate after 27 years of marriage? Do you support the plan that the two will still work together at the foundation they built?
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