Gates, French Gates offer post-divorce philanthropic plans

Dec 1, 2021, 1:19 PM | Updated: 2:28 pm

Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates say they will still work with the Giving Pledge, the campaign they co-founded with Warren Buffett in 2010 to encourage billionaires to donate the majority of their wealth through philanthropy.

But following their divorce earlier this year, the two will do it separately and in their own ways.

In individual letters posted Tuesday by Giving Pledge, Gates and French Gates outlined their differing philosophies to giving.

“I recognize the absurdity of so much wealth being concentrated in the hands of one person, and I believe the only responsible thing to do with a fortune this size is give it away — as thoughtfully and impactfully as possible,” wrote French Gates.

She added that that it is “important to acknowledge that giving away money your family will never need is not an especially noble act.”

French Gates, whose net worth is an estimated $6.2 billion according to Forbes, said she plans to focus on “fighting poverty and advancing equality — for women and girls and other marginalized groups — in the United States and around the world” through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and her own Pivotal Ventures.

She also noted the importance of trusting nonprofit partners.

“Philanthropists are generally more helpful to the world when we’re standing behind a movement rather than trying to lead our own,” she wrote.

For his part, Gates, the Microsoft Corp. co-founder worth more than $138 billion according to Forbes, wrote that he plans to keep the Gates Foundation as his primary outlet for his giving.

“No child should lack access to life-saving medicines or a quality education simply because of where he or she lives, and the foundation was created to address deeply unfair inequities around the globe,” Gates wrote. “The foundation’s mission has grown over time, but it remains focused on expanding opportunity for the world’s poorest people and improving education in the United States.”

The Giving Pledge now includes 226 billionaires from 27 countries who have promised to donate more than half of their wealth to charitable causes.

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Gates, French Gates offer post-divorce philanthropic plans