Billionaire Melinda French Gates, who divorced Microsoft founder Bill Gates last year, will now offer her philanthropy to causes other than the Gates Foundation. French Gates had previously donated most of her wealth to charity, which fights poverty, disease and inequality in the world. Now she is going to distribute her wealth in other areas, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Reuters reported that a foundation spokesperson declined to comment beyond what French Gates outlined in her latest Giving Pledge letter, which she posted separately from Bill Gates.
“I recognize the absurdity of so much wealth being concentrated in the hands of one person, and I believe the only responsible thing to do with a fortune this size is give it away – as thoughtfully and impactfully as possible,” she wrote.
Since splitting with Gates, French Gates has created her own separate charity, Pivotal Ventures, to promote social progress in the US. Some of her causes include a national paid leave policy, support for youth mental health and gender equality in technology. She has pledged to give $1 billion to the organisation over 10 years.
Bill Gates has confirmed that the Gate Foundation will remain his top charitable priority. “The foundation is my top philanthropic priority, even as my giving in other areas has grown over the years, most notably for climate change mitigation and the fight against Alzheimer’s disease,” he promised in The Giving Pledge.
The Gates Foundation added four people to its Board of Trustees in January: Strive Masiyiwa, a Zimbabwean telecommunications billionaire, Minouche Shafik, director of the London School of Economics, Tom Tierney, co-founder of the nonprofit advisory firm Bridgespan, and Mark Suzman, CEO, Gates Foundation.
French Gates is worth $6.1 billion, while Bill Gates is the fourth richest person in the world with a fortune of $133.5 billion, according to the Forbes Billionaires Registry. He made his fortune with the software firm Microsoft and has shifted his focus to philanthropy and zero-carbon energy.