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Melinda quits Gates Foundation, gets $12.5 billion for new NGO

Melinda quits Gates Foundation, gets $12.5 billion for new NGO

Melinda French Gates announced on Monday she would resign as co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation that she has helped lead since 2000.

As part of her separation agreement from former husband Bill Gates, French Gates said she will receive an additional $12.5 billion for her charitable work. French Gates said she plans to focus her giving on groups that focus on women and families.

“This is not a decision I came to lightly,” she said in a statement posted on X. “I am immensely proud of the foundation that Bill and I built together and of the extraordinary work it is doing to address inequities around the world,” CNN reported.

French Gates said she plans to leave the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation on June 7, and she will share more about her future charitable plans in the near future.

READ ALSO: Gates Foundation to Endure Bill and Melinda Divorce

“Under the terms of my agreement with Bill, in leaving the foundation, I will have an additional $12.5 billion to commit to my work on behalf of women and families,” she said in a post Monday on LinkedIn. “I’ll be sharing more about what that will look like in the near future,” she stated.

“This is a critical moment for women and girls in the US and around the world — and those fighting to protect and advance equality are in urgent need of support,” she said.

The organisation will change its name to the Gates Foundation, and Bill Gates will become the sole chair, the foundation’s Chief Executive, Mark Suzman, announced yesterday.

“I am sorry to see Melinda leave, but I am sure she will have a huge impact in her future philanthropic work,” wrote Bill Gates in a separate statement Monday, also posted on X.

“Looking ahead, I remain fully committed to the Foundation’s work across all our strategies, and to realising the opportunities we have to continue improving the lives of millions around the world,” he stressed.

In a post on LinkedIn, Bill Gates said that “Melinda has been instrumental in shaping our strategies and initiatives, significantly impacting global health and gender equality.”

French Gates’ exit had been telegraphed for several years. Bill Gates and French Gates announced their divorce in May 2021. They said at the time they would allow themselves a kind of trial period through 2023 to determine if they could continue working with one another to oversee their massive charitable foundation.

Suzman announced in July 2021 a contingency plan “to ensure the continuity of the foundation’s work.”

“If after two years either decides they cannot continue to work together as co-chairs, French Gates will resign her position as co-chair and trustee,” Suzman said.

Bill Gates will remain in control and, essentially, buy French Gates out of the foundation, Suzman said at the time. French Gates would receive “personal resources” from Gates for her own philanthropic work — resources that would be “completely separate from the foundation’s endowment.”

Three years after her divorce from Microsoft founder Bill Gates, she plans to embark on her own philanthropic venture.

She was serving as co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which has spent nearly $54 billion since 2000 fighting “poverty, disease, and inequity” around the world, according to its website.

A former product manager at Microsoft, French Gates spearheaded work at the Gates Foundation that focused on women’s issues, including empowerment.

But she has said she felt her husband’s shadow looming over the foundation’s work: In a 2006 interview with the Wall Street Journal, as French Gates began to take a more public role at the foundation, she acknowledged that the public erroneously “thought the foundation was really Bill,” The New York Times noted.

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