Microsoft founder Bill Gates has vowed to fall off the list of the world’s richest people by donating his entire fortune to his personal foundation, which he runs with his ex-wife Melinda French Gates.
“As I look to the future, my plan is to give all my wealth to the foundation other than what I spend on myself and my family,” said Gates in a post on his blog GatesNotes on Wednesday. “I will move down and eventually off of the list of the world’s richest people.”
In the post the Microsoft founder said that he was transferring $20 billion to the endowment fund of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. According to Bloomberg, this represents one fifth of his fortune. This donation brings Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates’ lifetime giving to $55 billion, making them the “world’s biggest philanthropists of all time,” reported Forbes magazine.
Thanks to the gift, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has announced that it will be able to increase its annual spending on global health, poverty and equality by 50% until the year 2026. The goal in increasing spending is to address “compounding global crises,” said the foundation, which is one of the largest in the world.
In his blog post, the Microsoft founder added: “My giving this money is not a sacrifice at all. I feel privileged to be involved in tackling these great challenges, I enjoy the work, and I believe I have an obligation to return my resources to society in ways that have the greatest impact for improving lives.”
Several huge global setbacks over the past few years have left many people discouraged and wondering whether the world is destined to get worse.— Bill Gates (@BillGates) July 13, 2022
In 2010, Bill and Melinda French Gates, alongside business magnate Warren Buffett, created the Giving Pledge, an initiative in which the world’s wealthiest individuals and families promise to dedicate the majority of their wealth to charitable causes. Forty individuals initially signed up to the cause, and today there are more than 400 signees.
In July 2021, Melinda French Gates donated $15 billion to the foundation, and in July of this year, Buffett gifted another $3.1 billion. The $20 billion donation announced by Bill Gates brings the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation’s endowment to about $70 billion, according to the organization, which said it has spent $79.2 billion since its inception in 2000.
Bill and Melinda Gates divorced in 2021, but both continue to co-chair the foundation. Earlier this year it was revealed that, after the separation, Melinda French Gates had planned to spread her fortune among various philanthropic ventures, instead of leaving it all to her personal foundation.
“Several huge global setbacks over the past few years have left many people discouraged and wondering whether the world is destined to keep getting worse,” said Gates in his blog post. “The great crises of our time require all of us to do more.”