Bill Gates donating $20 billion to his foundation

The endowment of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has grown to around 70 billion US dollars, making it one of the largest in the world.

SEATTLE — Bill Gates, concerned about the “significant suffering” caused by global setbacks including the COVID-19 pandemic, announced Wednesday that he will donate $20 billion to his foundation to help them increase their annual spending can.

The donation, combined with the $3.1 billion donation from longtime Berkshire Hathaway board member CEO Warren Buffett last month, brings The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s endowment to about $70 billion, making it one of the largest, if not the largest, in the world, according to daily stock valuations. In an essay on the foundation’s website, Bill Gates said he hopes “others in positions of great wealth and privilege will also stand up at this moment.”

The Gates Foundation plans to increase its annual budget by 50% from pre-pandemic levels to about $9 billion by 2026. The foundation hopes the increased spending will improve education, reduce poverty and restore global progress in ending preventable diseases and achieving gender equality that has been halted in recent years.

According to the United Nations Development Programme, 71 million people have been pushed into poverty since Russia invaded Ukraine in February, mainly due to rising food and energy prices. Households in the Balkans, in the region around the Caspian Sea and in sub-Saharan Africa are particularly hard hit. The United Nations World Food Program reports that the number of acutely hungry people is now 345 million, a 25% increase since the start of the war in Ukraine.

“Despite major global setbacks in recent years, I see incredible heroism and sacrifice around the world and I believe progress is possible,” said Bill Gates, the foundation’s co-chair, in a statement. “But the great crises of our time require all of us to do more… I hope that by making more donations we can alleviate some of the suffering people are currently facing and help fulfill the Foundation’s vision, to give everyone the chance to live a healthy and productive life.”

Co-Chair Melinda French Gates said the additional spending would help allow for a “fairer and more inclusive recovery”.

“Philanthropy plays a unique role in helping people around the world recover from the pandemic and rebuild the underlying systems that made so many so vulnerable to begin with,” French Gates said in a statement .

Speaking at Monday’s “Hunger Pains: The Growing Global Food Crisis” webinar, Gates Foundation CEO Mark Suzman said two decades of progress have been halted by the current global crisis sparked by the Russian invasion. However, growth in agricultural productivity around the world remains largely intact.

“We have the tools. We have the science. We have the knowledge,” Suzman said. “What we need is the political will and the resources.”

These resources include donations from philanthropic organizations. The Gates Foundation invests heavily in connecting agricultural advances to the right countries, offering drought-resistant corn seed or flood-resistant rice in the areas that need it most, Suzman said.

However, philanthropy has its limits, he added. Suzman said the response from the world’s richest countries has not only fallen short of what is currently needed, but has even fallen short of what the world provided during a similar crisis a decade ago. “This is our most critical area of ​​opportunity for human solidarity,” he said. “That actually has implications for better political stability and broader economic growth, which I think everyone wants to see.”

Bill Gates wrote in his essay that polarization in the United States makes it harder to combat global crises. “The political divide limits our political capacity for dialogue, compromise and cooperation, and thwarts the bold leadership needed, both domestically and internationally, to confront these threats,” he wrote. “Polarization is forcing us to look back and fight again for basic human rights, social justice and democratic norms.”

While achieving gender equality has long been one of the Foundation’s main areas of investment, in his essay Bill Gates identified the overturning of the Roe v. Wade by the Supreme Court as “a major setback to gender equality, to women’s health, and to all human progress.”

“The potential for even further regression is scary,” he added. “It will put the lives of women, people of color and everyone living on the margins at risk.” Bill Gates donating $20 billion to his foundation

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