Is Bill Gates still busy with Microsoft?

What will happen to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation?

The fact that Bill and Melinda Gates want to go their separate ways in the future is more than a private decision: The two are behind the largest private foundation in the world. What will happen to the billions of the Microsoft founder?

It gives hope to many because it donates help, it scares others because its sheer size raises concerns: The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is the largest private foundation in the world and has long been an important factor in the fight against diseases such as malaria. After Bill Gates and his wife Melinda announced their divorce, the anxious question now arises as to what will happen to the multi-billion dollar foundation.

The foundation of the Microsoft founder and his wife currently employs around 1,600 people and has distributed more than 50 billion US dollars in the last 20 years. In a statement, Bill and Melinda Gates now declare that they want to continue their work for the foundation “together”. Despite the separation, they continue to share the belief in the foundation's mission to "enable all people to live a healthy and productive life".

Bill Gates, who according to "Forbes" should have a fortune of more than 130 billion US dollars, has not yet commented on how the money should be divided between him and his wife after the divorce. Instead, he asked for privacy. However, it is certain that Melinda Gates will receive billions of dollars from the fortune.

"Can I do it?"

The statement of the two sounds like an amicable decision, a public mud fight is hardly to be expected. This is also supported by the fact that Bill and Melinda Gates have so far always kept their private lives out of the public eye - as well as that was possible for one of the richest married couples in the world.

Bill and Melinda Gates are getting divorced

Microsoft founder Bill Gates and his wife Melinda will go their separate ways in the future. Both stated in a statement on Twitter that they wanted to end their marriage after around 27 years.


Only now and then did Melinda Gates hint that everything was not all sunshine at the family residence on Lake Washington near Seattle. On the occasion of the 25th wedding anniversary, for example, she complained in an interview with the “Sunday Times”: “Believe me, I can remember a few days in our marriage that were so incredibly difficult that one thought: 'Can I do it?' »

The fact that at least the joint charitable work should not suffer from separation is also made clear by a statement by the foundation published in the New York Times: “You will continue to work together to design and approve foundation strategies and to support the interests of the foundation and to determine the overall direction of the organization », it says there about the two founders.

"Divorce can have a huge impact"

Rob Reich, professor of political science at Stanford University, still believes the divorce will affect the work of the foundation. "The Gates Foundation is now the most important and influential philanthropic institution in the world," said Reich of the "New York Times". "Divorce can have a huge impact on the Foundation and its work around the world."

If Reich is right with his assessment, the divorce could also have consequences for the global fight against the corona virus. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is the largest private donor to Covax, a global initiative to provide the world's poorest countries with vaccines against the virus. A total of 1.75 billion dollars will be made available to fight the pandemic, the foundation promised last year. Above all, however, the Gates Foundation is active in the fight against malaria and HIV.

In an internal email to the Foundation's staff, quoted by the New York Times, Managing Director Mark Suzman tries to reassure: “While this is obviously a difficult time of personal change for our co-chairs, they have me in common assures that they will continue to be committed to the foundation that they have built so hard together over the past 20 years, ”the letter says.

The more “progressive” donor?

The fact that the foundation's money does not only come from the assets of the two founders should also contribute to reassurance. Investor Warren Buffet has also opened his wallet wide in the past and donated more than $ 27 billion between 2006 and 2019. Melinda and Bill Gates are also involved outside of the joint foundation. With her company Pivotal Ventures, Melinda Gates supports women who want to improve their economic situation. It is not unlikely that part of the joint property will be used for this after a divorce.

"It is quite possible that Melinda Gates is a much more progressive giver on its own," said David Callahan, founder of the website "Inside Philanthropy", the "New York Times". "It will be an important force in philanthropy for the next few decades."