Melinda French Gates Resigns from Gates Foundation, Commits $12.5B to Women

Melinda French Gates will resign from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation on June 7, 2024, to focus on her own philanthropy. She will receive $12.5 billion from Bill Gates to support her future work on women's rights and family welfare.

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Aqsa Younas Rana
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Melinda French Gates Resigns from Gates Foundation, Commits $12.5B to Women

Melinda French Gates Resigns from Gates Foundation, Commits $12.5B to Women

Melinda French Gates, co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, has announced her resignation from the organization, effective June 7, 2024. The decision comes after considerable reflection on how she wants to spend the next chapter of her philanthropy, focusing on improving the lives of women and families in the U.S. and around the world.

Why this matters: This significant shift in the philanthropic landscape has far-reaching implications for global efforts to address gender inequity and promote women's rights. Thecommitment of $12.5 billion to this cause will likely have a substantial impact on the lives of millions of women and families worldwide.

In a statement, French Gates said, "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." She added, "The time is right for me to move forward into the next chapter of my philanthropy."

As part of her agreement with Bill Gates, French Gates will receive $12.5 billion, which she has committed to using for future work focused on women and families. Bill Gates will personally supply these funds, not from the foundation's endowment. French Gates wants to use this next chapter to alter the trajectory of women's rights, particularly in light of the recent rollback of women's rights globally.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, established in 2000, has grown into one of the largest philanthropic organizations in the world. With an endowment of $75.2 billion as of December 2023, the foundation has made significant contributions, saving and improving tens of millions of lives in partnership with a network of thousands of partners. The organization plans to have an unprecedented annual payout of $9 billion in 2024.

Following French Gates' resignation, the foundation will be renamed the Gates Foundation to honor Bill Gates Sr.'s legacy and Melinda's contributions. Bill Gates will become the sole chair of the foundation. CEO Mark Suzman reassured that the foundation's work will continue, stating, "Melinda cares deeply about the foundation and is extremely proud of all of you and the work you do every day to help millions of people live better lives."

Experts in the philanthropic sector have weighed in on French Gates' departure. Latanya Mapp, president and CEO of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, said that the move is not a surprise and that French Gates has already cemented a gender equity lens within the foundation's programs. However, Linsey McGoey, a professor of sociology at the University of Essex, raised questions about the concentration of power within the foundation and whether it should be more widely distributed.

The resignation of Melinda French Gates from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation marks a significant shift in the philanthropic landscape. As she embarks on a new chapter focused on advancing the rights and opportunities of women and families, the impact of her work is poised to be transformative. With $12.5 billion committed to this cause, French Gates joins the ranks of other prominent philanthropists, such as MacKenzie Scott, in dedicating substantial resources to drive social change.

Key Takeaways

  • Melinda French Gates to resign from Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation on June 7, 2024.
  • She'll receive $12.5 billion from Bill Gates to focus on women's rights and families.
  • Foundation to be renamed Gates Foundation, with Bill Gates as sole chair.
  • French Gates aims to alter the trajectory of women's rights globally.
  • Her new philanthropic effort will have a significant impact on millions of women and families.