Whatever settlement billionaire couple Bill and Melinda Gates reach after their earth-shaking divorce announcement this week, they will continue working together on their global health improvement and poverty-eradication foundation.
As amicable as the initial announcement suggested the decision to separate after 27 years of marriage was, the future of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation soon surfaced as a main point of interest.
Reassuringly for the many beneficiaries of what is by far one of the world’s leading charitable organisations, news that the billion dollars foundation was largely being ring-fenced from the divorce proceedings was welcomed.
The two have pledged to continue working together in the interest of the healthcare and research foundation that straddles the globe.
In going public with their decision to separate, the couple wrote on Twitter about the future of the foundation: “Over the last 27 years, we have raised three incredible children and built a foundation that works all over the world to enable all people to lead healthy, productive lives," it read.
"We continue to share a belief in that mission and will continue our work together at the foundation, but we no longer believe we can grow together as a couple in the next phase of our lives.”
And ‘while working together’ might need to be further legally defined in the context of the divorce settlement, that commitment was widely welcomed by individuals, organisations and communities which have been the recipients of support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Established in 2000, it’s the largest private philanthropic foundation in the United States and one of the world's biggest, with net assets of over US$43.3 billion.
Jointly, the billionaire couple have injected over US$36 billion of their own money into the foundation.
On the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s website the couple state: “As our commitment to our work grew, we transferred $20 billion of Microsoft stock to our foundation, making it the largest of its kind in the world. We devoted more and more time to its work until we were both doing it full-time.
The foundation has become one of the most powerful and influential forces in global public health, spending more than $50 billion in fighting poverty and disease in many countries.
Last year alone it committed around US$1.75 billion to COVID-19 relief.
Bill Gates has been very vocal in the global coronavirus vaccination campaign. He has also pushed back strongly against conspiracy theorists who have questioned his involvement not just in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic but his global work in disease eradication.
Bill and Melinda gates have a joint fortune estimated to be in the region of US$124 billion.