On this page:
William “Bill” Gates
William “Bill” Gates (born 1955) is a United States entrepreneur, computer programmer, software developer, investor, and philanthropist. His is best known as the principal founder of the Microsoft Corporation.
In April 2019, his net worth was above $100 billion. From 1995 to 2017, he held the Forbes title of Richest Person in the World every year except four. (Forbes only lists people whose wealth can be estimate with reasonable accuracy.)
Bill Gates and Paul Allen launched Microsoft in 1975. It eventually became the largest PC software company in the world, and a driving force behind the personal computer revolution.
Short facts about Bill Gates
Name: William Henry Gate III
Born: 28 October, 1955, in Seattle, Washington state, USA
Residence: Xanadu 2.0, Medina, Washington state, USA
Spouse: Melinda Ann Gates née French (married 1994)
Bill and Melinda Gates have announced that they plan to donate 95% of their wealth to philantrophy. They intended for their three children to “only” inherit $10 million each.
Bill Gates credits the philanthropic work of David Rockefeller as a major inspiration for him, and his charity work is in part modelled after the Rockefeller family’s focus on tackling global problems that aren’t given sufficient attention by governments and other organizations.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
Bill Gates created the William H. Gates Foundation in 1994. In 2000, Bill and his wife Melinda combined three family foundations to create the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Gates donated stock valued at $5 billion to it. By 2013, it was the world’s wealthiest charitable foundation, with assets valued at more than $34 billion.
The foundation is organized into four main areas:
- Global Development
- Global Health
- United States
- Global Policy & Advocacy
Unlike many other foundations, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation makes it easy for benefactors to access information about how the fund’s money is being spent.
The Giving Pledge
As a co-founder of The Giving Pledge, Gates was one of the first people to sing it. He signed it on 9 December, 2010, the same day as Warren Buffett and Mark Zuckerberg.
Examples of causes and projects supported by Bill Gates
- Gates donated $20 million to the creation of a computer laboratory named The William H. Gates Building at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
- Gates and Microsoft President Steven A. Ballmer both donated to the Maxwell Dworkin Laboratory at Harvard University, and it’s named after both their mothers.
- Gates donated $6 million to the creation of the Gates Computer Science Building at Standford University.
- Through his foundation, Gates donated $20 million to the creation of The Gates Center for Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University.
- The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation supports the International Rice Research Institute’s work with Golden Rice, a genetically modified rice used to combat vitamin A deficiency.
- The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation launched the Reinvent the Toilet Challenge.
- Since 2012, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has funded research into methods and technologies to treat fecal sludge. In 2014, Gates publicly drank water cleaned by one of these methods, to raise awarness of the topic of sanitation. In 2015, he challenged Jimmy Fallon to see if he could taste the difference between traditional bottled water and Gate’s reclaimed water.
- In 2017, Gates pledged $50 million to the Dementia Discovery Fund to combat Alzheimer’s disease, and he also promised to donate an additional $50 to start-up ventures working in Alzheimer’s research.
- In 2017, Gates played tennis with Roger Federer, John Isner and Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McCready to raise money for the Roger Federer Foundation’s charity work in Africa. Overall, $2 million were raised. A new tennis match the following year – this time with Gates, Federer, Jacks Sock, and Savannah Guthrie – raised an additional $2.5 million.
- In 2018, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation distributed $600,000 through UNICEF to flood victims in Kerala, India.
- Gates supports Rotary International’s work to eliminate polio.