Melinda French Gates

Melinda French Gates Steps Down from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Eyes New Philanthropic Ventures

Melinda French Gates, renowned for her philanthropic endeavours, announced on Monday her resignation as co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, a role she has held since its inception in 2000.

Mark Suzman, the foundation’s CEO, confirmed the decision, stating that French Gates seeks to embark on a new philanthropic journey focusing on women’s rights and family welfare globally and in the U.S. This move follows her divorce from former husband Bill Gates, with whom she co-chaired the foundation.

French Gates, expressing her pride in the foundation’s work, emphasized the need for a shift in focus amid challenges to women’s rights worldwide. As part of her separation agreement, she will receive an additional $12.5 billion to support her charitable initiatives.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will henceforth be known as the Gates Foundation, with Bill Gates assuming sole chairmanship. While Bill Gates expressed regret over French Gates’ departure, he reaffirmed his commitment to the foundation’s mission.

French Gates’ exit, anticipated since the announcement of her divorce in May 2021, marks a pivotal moment for the foundation. In preparation for this transition, the foundation added new members to its board of trustees in January 2022 to ensure continuity and strengthen governance.

Despite her departure, French Gates’ philanthropic legacy remains strong. In addition to her contributions to the Gates Foundation, she founded Pivotal Ventures in 2015, focusing on empowering minorities and women in the U.S. through a $1 billion commitment.

Both Bill and Melinda French Gates have pledged to donate the majority of their wealth to charitable causes. With their philanthropic efforts set to continue, their impact on global health care, education, and poverty alleviation remains profound.

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