Melinda French Gates to step down as co-chair of Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, to pursue own philanthropy

Melinda French Gates to step down as co-chair of Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, to pursue own philanthropy

First Published May 13, 2024, 10:14 PM IST

Melinda French Gates, the former spouse of Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, on Monday declared her forthcoming resignation as co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, slated for next month.

In a statement to X, Melinda Gates emphasized the current significance of safeguarding and advancing women’s rights globally, deeming it a “critical moment.” This announcement closely follows the third anniversary of the Gates’ divorce.

She noted that her resignation, coupled with the terms of their divorce agreement reached in May 2021, will furnish her with an additional $12.5 billion to devote to her endeavors benefiting women and families.

Bill Gates in a separate statement said, “I am sorry to see Melinda leave, but I am sure she will have a huge impact in her future philanthropic work.”

The Gates Foundation has concentrated its efforts on global anti-poverty and health initiatives, with a particular emphasis on combating malaria in Africa and making substantial investments in the Indian subcontinent and South Asia.

Additionally, Melinda French Gates has been deeply involved in advancing gender equality worldwide. In 2015, she established Pivotal Ventures, an independent organization distinct from the Gates Foundation. Pivotal Ventures is dedicated to eliminating barriers to access and opportunity for minorities and women in the United States.

Here is Melinda French Gates’ full statement:

After careful thought and reflection, I have decided to resign from my role as co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. My last day of work at the foundation will be June 7th.

This is not a decision I came to lightly. I am immensely proud of the foundation that Bill and I built together and of the extraordinary work it is doing to address inequities around the world. I care deeply about the foundation team, our partners around the world, and everyone who is touched by its work.

I am taking this step with full confidence that the foundation is in strong shape, with its extremely capable CEO Mark Suzman, the Executive Leadership Team, and an experienced board of trustees in place to ensure all its important work continues. The time is right for me to move forward into the next chapter of my philanthropy.

This is a critical moment for women and girls in the U.S. and around the world — and those fighting to protect and advance equality are in urgent need of support. Under the terms of my agreement with Bill, in leaving the foundation, I will have an additional $12.5 billion to commit to my work on behalf of women and families. I’ll be sharing more about what that will look like in the near future.

Last Updated May 13, 2024, 10:14 PM IST

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