Melinda Gates leaving Gates Foundation with USD 12.5 billion to carry on charity work

Melinda French Gates in Africa
Melinda French Gates during a recent trip to Malawi and South Africa. Screenshot courtesy: Instagram/melindafrenchgates

Melinda French Gates, co-founder of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, has stepped down from her co-chair position and is leaving with a corpus of USD 12.5 billion to carry on the charitable works that she started with her former husband two decades ago.

In a tweet on X, posted yesterday, Melinda French Gates announced that the decision was taken after “careful thought and reflection” and that her last working day at the Foundation would be June 7, 2024.

Melinda French Gates in Malawi, with Michelle Obama and Amal Clooney
Melinda French Gates in Malawi, with former US First Lady Michelle Obama and human rights lawyer Amal Clooney. Photo courtesy: Instagram/melindafrenchgates

“This is not a decision I came to lightly,” said the X post. “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.”

Melinda French married Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft, in 1994, and they divorced in April 2021. They established the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in 2000 in Seattle, United States, focusing on public health, education and climate change.

A lot of the work Melinda does is in Africa, especially in the fields of education and health awareness for girls and young women. The Foundation also has close ties with India.

According to figures reported by the BBC during the Bill-Melinda divorce three years ago, the Gates Foundation had net assets of more than USD 43 billion in 2019; the couple had put more than USD 36 billion into its corpus from 1994 to 2018.

In her X post, Melida explained: “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.”

Her personal net worth is a reported USD 11.3 billion, and she is a businesswoman in her own right. Her investment company is named Pivotal Ventures, founded in 2015.

Melinda said in her exit note that she had “full confidence that the foundation is in strong shape, with its extremely capable CEO Mark Suzman, the Executive Leadership Team, and an experienced board of trustees”.

Ex-husband and charity partner Bill Gates thanked Melinda, saying in a statement: “I am sorry to see her leave, but I am sure she will have a huge impact in her future philanthropic work.”