Bill and Melinda Gates said they’ll continue their philanthropy work after their divorce. Here are their biggest projects, including spending nearly $2 billion to fight COVID-19.

Bill and Melinda Gates

Summary List Placement

Bill and Melinda Gates announced Monday that they’re getting divorced after 27 years of marriage. They would continue their work at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, they said.

The billionaire couple have been leading philanthropists for many years, and set up the foundation in 2000. It has since become one of the world’s biggest philanthropic foundations, and had an endowment of $49.8 billion as of 2019.

Its has funded work in areas including global health, emergency relief, education, and poverty, and has pumped around $1.75 billion into COVID-19 relief efforts.

Bill and Melinda Gates are co-chairs and trustees of the Seattle-based foundation, and they each received a Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2016 from President Barack Obama in recognition of their work. Bill even stepped down as the CEO of Microsoft in 2008 to focus on the foundation, and left the boards of Microsoft and Berkshire Hathaway in March 2020 for the same reason.

The foundation is led by CEO Mark Suzman. Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett is also a trustee.

In 2019, the year that the most recent data is available for, the foundation had 1,600 employees and gave just over $5 billion to grantees, with the majority spent on global health and development causes.

Here’s where its funding goes.

COVID-19

The foundation said that it gave around $1.75 billion to fight the coronavirus outbreak in 2020.

Most of this went towards production and procurement of crucial medical supplies, including PPE, vaccines, testing kits, and treatments.

Most of this investment has focused on developing countries. At the onset of the pandemic in early February 2020, the foundation gave a grant to help the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention scale up testing capacity across sub-Saharan Africa. It also announced plans to help US drugmaker Eli Lilly supply its COVID-19 antibody therapy to low- and middle-income countries.

The foundation has helped fund the coronavirus response in the US, too. In March 2020, it gave $3.7 million in grants to support relief efforts in the Seattle-King County region, and also funded a project to provide at-home test kits to the region.

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The foundation has also helped fund COVAX, a World Health Organization-backed project aiming to provide poorer countries with enough COVID-19 vaccine doses to cover 20% of their population.

The foundation’s annual letter, published January 2021, focused heavily on the pandemic. In the letter, titled “The year global health went local,” Bill and Melinda said that pandemic preparedness was as serious as “the threat of war.” Stopping the next pandemic would take “tens of billions of dollars per year,” they added.

Healthcare

Bill Gates has warned of an impending pandemic for years, and much of the foundation’s funding has gone towards projects funding disease prevention, alongside wider healthcare projects.

The foundation has pledged about $2 billion to help defeat malaria alone, and wants to eliminate malaria “within a generation.”

The foundation also donated more than $50 million in 2014 to help fight the Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa, and …read more

Source:: Business Insider – Science

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