Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

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About the Foundation

Mission: On its website states that "There are two simple values that lie at the core of the foundation’s work: All lives—no matter where they are being led—have equal value; To whom much has been given, much is expected. Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to reduce inequities and improve lives around the world." [1]

Program areas: In developing countries, it focuses on improving health, reducing extreme poverty, and increasing access to technology in public libraries. In the United States, the foundation seeks to ensure that all people have access to a great education and to technology in public libraries. In its local region, it focuses on improving the lives of low-income families.

Facts and Figures


  • Number of employees: approximately 980
  • Asset trust endowment: $33.5 billion
  • Total grant commitments since inception: $26.19 billion
  • Total 2010 grant payments: $2.6 billion

Funding from 1994-Present:[2]

  • Global Development: $3,613,000,000
  • Global Health: $15,271,000,000
  • United States: $6,236,000,000
  • Charitable Sector Support: $71,000,000
  • Employee Matching Gifts & Sponsorships: $21,000,000
  • Family Interest Grants: $982,000,000
  • Total: 26,194,000,000


Support for the American Legislative Exchange Council

In November 2011, the Gates Foundation made a $376,635 grant to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which it claims was "to educate and engage its membership on more efficient state budget approaches to drive greater student outcomes, as well as educate them on beneficial ways to recruit, retain, evaluate and compensate effective teaching based upon merit and achievement."[3] In April 2012, during a public campaign by public interest groups targeting ALEC supporters and urging them to cut ties with ALEC, during which the Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC) specifically targeted the foundation, Gates spokesman Chris Williams told the Capitol Hill publication Roll Call, that it does not plan to make future grants to the conservative nonprofit and specifically noted that the foundation was never a dues-paying member of ALEC.[4] Williams also told BuzzFeed that the foundation does not plan to withdraw that grant "for now. . . . We have already paid out a significant portion of it," he said.[5]

About ALEC
ALEC is a corporate bill mill. It is not just a lobby or a front group; it is much more powerful than that. Through ALEC, corporations hand state legislators their wishlists to benefit their bottom line. Corporations fund almost all of ALEC's operations. They pay for a seat on ALEC task forces where corporate lobbyists and special interest reps vote with elected officials to approve “model” bills. Learn more at the Center for Media and Democracy's, and check out breaking news on our site.

Investment in Monsanto, BP and Other Controversial Corporations

Concerns have been raised about the decision of the Gates to invest in Monsanto. [6] Reportedly, the shares are valued at $23 million. Monsanto has been involved in numerous controversial agri-business activities, including genetic engineering of seeds and efforts to use a "terminator" gene to control germination.[7]

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is also a major investor in BP, with nearly 43 million shares, a company whose lax regulatory record has been seen as a big factor in the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster.[8] The Nation reported that as of December 2012, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation had at least $958.6 million invested in BP and ExxonMobil.[9]

The Foundation has also given $300,000 to the US-based geoengineering research body Silver Lining, which is developing machines to convert seawater into microscopic particles to be sprayed into clouds, to reflect more sunlight back into space in an effort to mitigate the worst effects of global warming. The Gates-backed sea trial would be the largest known attempt to geoengineer the climate so far, reported to be conducted over an area of 10,000km2. Campaigners say such a large-scale trial is 'risky' and that a global ban on geoengineering experiments should be put in place until regulations governing the sector can be introduced.[10] Bill Gates has also given $4.5 million to Harvard climate researcher David Keith of Carbon Engineering to fund research on planet-cooling ideas.[11]

Promotion of Genetic Engineering

The Gates Foundation promotes and funds genetic engineering projects. For example, the foundation's Grand Challenge #9 is to "Create a Full Range of Optimal, Bioavailable Nutrients in a Single Staple Plant Species."[12] While the foundation would accept projects using conventional plant breeding techniques, the four projects they are funding all use biotechnology: Golden Rice[13], genetically engineered cassava[14], sorghum[15], and bananas.[16]

For more information, see the page on Gates Foundation Grants for the Second Green Revolution.

Funding controversial education organization Teach for America

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is among the numerous right-wing foundation and corporate donors to the non-profit education organization Teach for America. Teach for America has received criticism from the Center for Media and Democracy and others as it is "backed by a number of right-wing interests that have bankrolled the conservative push to privatize, voucherize, and generally dismantle free and universal public education in America". [17] Between 2011 and 2012, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation donated between $1 million and $5 million to Teach for America.[18]


The foundation's leadership includes:[19]

Global Development Leadership Team:[20]

Global Health Program Leadership Team:[21]

United States Program Leadership Team:[22]

Advisory Panels

Global Development Program Advisory Panel (Accessed December 2007) [23]

  • Rajat Gupta (Chair), Chairman of the Board, India School of Business; former Managing Director, McKinsey & Company
  • Amina J. Ibrahim, Senior Special Assistant to the President on the Millennium Development Goals, The Presidency, Nigeria
  • Kavita Nandini Ramdas, President and CEO, Global Fund for Women
  • Lawrence H. Summers, Charles W. Eliot University Professor at Harvard University; former President, Harvard University; former Secretary, United States Treasury
  • Ernesto Zedillo, Director, Yale Center for the Study of Globalization; former President of Mexico
  • Philip Zelikow, White Burkett Miller Professor of History, University of Virginia; former Counselor, U.S. Department of State

U.S. Program Advisory Panel (Accessed December 2007):[24]

  • Ann Fudge (Chair), former Chairman and CEO, Young & Rubicam Brands
  • Henry Cisneros, Chairman and CEO, CityView; former Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • Christopher Edley, Dean, Boalt School of Law, University of California at Berkeley
  • Edward Glaeser, Professor of Economics in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Harvard University
  • Walter Massey, President Emeritus, Morehouse College

Former Staff

Former leadership (as of 2010):[26]

Former leadership (as of 2008):

Former leadership (as of 2006):[28]

Former leadership (as of 1999)[29]

Executive Committee

Past Grantees

Contact Information

Resources and articles

Related Sourcewatch


  1. [1]
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Fact Sheet, Accessed April 4, 2012.
  3. Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, American Legislative Exchange Council, organizations grant listing, November 2011, accessed April 2012
  4. Janie Lorber, Gates Foundation Will No Longer Make Grants to ALEC Nonprofit, Roll Call, April 9, 2012
  5. Gates Won't Pull ALEC Grant, BuzzFeed, April 10, 2012
  6. See, e.g.
  7. See, e.g.,
  8. John Collins Rudolph, "Just How British Is BP?" NY Times, June 14, 2010.
  9. Naomi Klein, "Time for Big Green to Go Fossil Free," The Nation, May 1, 2013.
  10. "Bill Gates' cloud-whitening trials 'a dangerous experiment'" The Guardian, May 14, 2010.
  11. Margaret Munro, "Plans to cool planet heat up geoengineering debate" The Vancouver Sun, May 11, 2010.
  12. Nutrient Rich Plants, Accessed March 7, 2012.
  13. Rice, Accessed March 7, 2012.
  14. Cassava, Accessed March 7, 2012.
  15. Sorghum], Accessed March 7, 2012.
  16. Bananas, Accessed March 7, 2012.
  17. Harriet Rowan, Wisconsin Budget Includes $1 Million Taxpayer Giveaway for Well-Funded Teach for America, PR Watch, June 27, 2013.
  18. Teach for America, Donors, Teach for America Website, August 21, 2013.
  19. Gates Foundation Leadership, Accessed April 4, 2012.
  20. Global Development Leadership Team, Accessed April 4, 2012.
  21. Global Health Program Leadership Team, Accessed April 4, 2012.
  22. United States Program Leadership Team, Accessed April 4, 2012.
  23. Program Advisory Panels Announced by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, accessed December 9, 2007.
  24. Program Advisory Panels Announced by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, accessed December 9, 2007.
  25. Gates Foundation's global health chief leaving, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, accessed December 9, 2007.
  26. [2], Gates Foundation, accessed December 17, 2010.
  27. Walmart Foundation Names New President, October 14, 2011, Accessed April 4, 2012.
  28. Fact Sheet, Accessed June 2006.
  29. 1999 Annual Report, Gates Foundation, accessed December 11, 2007.

Annual Reports

External Articles