Bill Gates Donations: 69 Facts Everyone Should Know

Bill Gates, other than his decades-long, successful career as co-founder of Microsoft, is well-known for his long-term involvement in charity together with his wife, Melinda. Bill Gates donations have helped improve many lives around the globe, but what part of his work stands out in particular? Here are some facts that give the full story.

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

1. Bill and Melinda Gates founded the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in 2000.

(Source: Word Atlas)

Bill Gates’ charity work dates from earlier than that, however.

2. In 1994, the foundation was first founded under the name William H. Gates Foundation.

(Source: Gates Foundation)

Bill Gates’ charity donations soon took off.

3. Initially, Bill Gates’ father Bill Gates Sr. was in charge of the private foundation.

(Source: The Nation)

A prominent lawyer in Seattle, Bill Gates Sr. was also a civic leader and later on worked on issues related to income inequality

4. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is the world’s largest private foundation.

(Source: Word Atlas)

It holds $46.8 billion in assets – around half of Bill Gates’ net worth.

5. The main fields of work of the foundation are healthcare, poverty reduction, and expanding and information technology opportunities.

(Source: Word Atlas)

Bill Gates’ philanthropy has been extensive in each of these areas.

6. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is governed by three trustees: Bill and Melinda Gates, and Warren Buffett.

(Source: Vox)

Other important figures are co-chair William H. Gates, Sr., and CEO Mark Suzman.

7. The foundation was split into two in 2006: into the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Trust, managing endowment assets, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

(Source: Wayback Machine)

The move was intended to improve the efficiency of Bill Gates’ foundation.

8. Fifteen years ago, Time named Bill and Melinda Gates, together with Irish musician Bono, Persons of the Year for their charitable work.

(Source: CNN)

This was in recognition of the excellent work of the Gates foundation up to that time.

9. In 2007, Bill and Melinda Gates were named as the second most generous philanthropists in the US, after only Warren Buffett.

(Source: Wayback Machine)

Buffett also has a philanthropic role at the foundation.

10. In order to remain a charitable foundation under US law, the foundation must donate at least 5% of its assets every year.

(Source: Save Wealth)

Much of the money goes towards infectious disease control.

11. The foundation is divided into four program areas, as of 2014, to better implement technological innovations:

(Source: Gates Foundation)

  • Global Development Division
  • Global Health Division
  • United States Division
  • Global Policy & Advocacy Division
  • Global Growth & Opportunity Division

12. Bill and Melinda Gates had donated $36 billion to the foundation as of 2018.

(Source: Gates Foundation)

This has contributed to a decline in child mortality in the developing world.

13. The foundation has made over 19,000 charitable grants over the past two decades.

(Source: The Nation)

This has established Bill & Melinda Gates as some of the leading rich philanthropists in the world.

14. According to The Nation, close to $2 billion of tax-deductible charitable foundation donations have gone to private companies.

(Source: The Nation)

  • The donors included some of the world’s largest businesses, including GlaxoSmithKline, Unilever, IBM, and NBCUniversal Media
  • The recipients are tasked with developing new drugs, improving sanitation in the developing world, creating financial products for Muslim consumers, and spreading the news about this work.

15. Among other donations, the Gates Foundation donated $2 million to promote Davis Guggenheim’s documentary Waiting for Superman.

(Source: The Nation)

  • This was part of the $250 million Bill and Melinda Gates foundation grants the largest private foundation in the world has spent to influence the news.
  • Waiting for Superman promotes charter schools – publicly funded private schools.

16. The foundation won the Spanish Prince of Asturias Award for International Cooperation in 2006.

(Source: Fundación Principe De Asturias)

This surely helped increase Bill Gates foundation donations.

17. In 2007, then-President of India Pratibha Patil bestowed the Indira Gandhi Prize on the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

(Source: The Indian Express)

The more than 1,000 Foundation employees saw this as recognition of their work.

18. Bill and Melinda Gates jointly received India’s third highest civilian honor, the Padma Bhushan, in 2015 for their foundation’s charitable work in India.

(Source: The Hindu)

A lot of money from the foundation’s endowment has been spent in India.

19. In 2016, Bill and Melinda Gates received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Obama for their charitable efforts.

(Source: Obama White House)

Bill Gates’ charity efforts have earned wide recognition.

Eradicated Diseases

Eradicated Diseases

One of the most important aspects of the Foundation’s work is disease eradication. Here are some facts to illustrate its activities in this area.

20. The foundation gave $86 million towards efforts to eradicate polio in 2006.

(Source: Wayback Machine)

The hope was that Bill Gates’ donations could lead to a further decline in child mortality, with the world on the verge of eradicating polio.

21. The foundation awarded $5 million for research into visceral leishmaniasis in 2009.

(Source: Israel 21c)

  • The disease was common in Ethiopia, where a disease outbreak was a leading cause of death and often associated with HIV/AIDS.
  • In 2005, the foundation awarded a $30 million grant to The Institute for OneWorld Health to support efforts in rural India, Bangladesh, and Nepal.

22. The foundation was a signatory to the 2012 Declaration on Neglected Tropical Diseases.

(Source: The Guardian)

  • The goal of the effort is to control and eradicate 17 selected diseases by 2015 and 2020.
  • In 2014, the progress made against 10 neglected tropical diseases was reviewed as part of the 2-year review of the Declaration. Innovative approaches were to be relied on.
  • The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation committed $50 million more, along with $50 million from the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation and a $120 million contribution from the World Bank.

23. The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Initiatives includes the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

(Source: Bloomberg)

  • The Coalition is tasked with quickly developing vaccines against global infectious disease threats with the aid of new technology 2020.
  • The Coalition has an initial investment of $460 million, including a significant sum from the Gates Foundation.
  • The goal of the Coalition is to fund vaccine research against known infectious diseases the aid of the latest technology, producing vaccines capable of being deployed quickly to contain outbreaks before global health emergencies emerge.]

24. The Foundation donates to activities including vaccine discovery, development, and delivery driven by scientific advances, encouraging innovation and new market entrants.

(Source: Gavi Foundation)

  • The Vaccine Alliance’s efforts to lead vaccine markets include the Gates Foundation.
  • The Vaccine Alliance collects data and financially supports market investments. This helps to reduce the risk of future pandemics

Bill Gates Foundation COVID tracking

Bill Gates Foundation COVID tracking

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the world, and the Foundation has been helping efforts to combat it. Here is what it’s done to help:

25. The Foundation is an important supporter of the Seattle Coronavirus Assessment Network, which tracks cases of the virus.

(Source: Geek Wire)

The more information about the disease we have, the closer we can get to a COVID-19 vaccine.

26. This year, the Gates Foundation founded the COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator, together with the British research charity Wellcome and Mastercard.

(Source: Good News Network)

  • This will quicken the pace towards developing a vaccine for COVID-19.
  • The Gates Foundation pledged an additional $150 million on top of the $100 million already committed after the WHO appealed for funding. Bill Gates’ latest donation will help the fight greatly.

27. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s $100 million donation will be used to fund public health measures in the Greater Seattle area and protection for at-risk people in Africa.

(Source: Good News Network)

This will help ensure a healthier, better future for everyone.

28. The founder of TikTok has pledged $10 million to the COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator, which was founded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

(Source: Barrons)

This will help get this modern pandemic under control.

29. Bill and Melinda Gates have founded the Gavi Alliance, a nonprofit immunization association.

(Source: Barrons)

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings and his wife Patty Quillin donated $30 million to the alliance. The organizations’ work will help reduce the risk of a future deadly global pandemic.

30. Out of the 2095 billionaires in the world, at least 77 of them have donated to fight COVID-19.

(Source: Forbes)

A lot of money is necessary to fight this epidemic which spreads across continents.

31. $305 million have been pledged by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to support relief from the lethal pandemic.

(Source: Forbes)

  • This marks the second-largest donation to fight COVID-19. The aim is to use the power of innovation to fight the pandemic.
  • Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey was the most generous donor, giving almost $1 billion of Square stock.

32. In partnership with the WHO, the Gates Foundation is committed to global action against COVID-19.

(Source: Financial Times)

This will include redirecting philanthropic priorities towards developing diagnostics, drugs, and vaccines against the virus. In May 2020, the Foundation held a giving conference that had a goal of raising $8 billion for the effort.

33. Suspicion of generous philanthropists is widespread. Gates has understandably denied implanting people with microchips.

(Source: USA Today)

  • He has said: “It's almost hard to deny this stuff because it's so stupid or strange.”
  • One Facebook post with 22,000 shares read “Gates wants us microchipped and Fauci wants us to carry vax certificates”
  • This claim has also gone viral on Spanish-language sites and media.
  • According to a May poll, 44% of Republicans and 19% of Democrats think Gates is behind a microchip conspiracy.

Technological advances

Technological advances

The Foundation has also been active in promoting technological advancement. Here is some of its work on the subject:

34. In 2005, the Foundation launched its WASH (Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene) program.

(Source: Sustainable Sanitation Alliance)

  • It was initially launched as a “learning initiative”, and in 2010 it became a fully-fledged program, part of the Global Development Division
  • In 2009, the foundation redirected its WASH work towards sustainable sanitation solutions for the poor using non-piped sanitation.
  • In 2011, it was announced that the foundation’s WASH effort would now primarily focus on sanitation in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.
  • The foundation announced in 2011 that it had donated more than $265 million to the WASH sector since 2006.
  • The Foundation donated $650 million to the WASH sector between 2008 and mid-2015, with significant results. It’s hoped that new 2020 technologies will spur further improvements.

35. In 2011, the Foundation launched its “Reinvent the Toilet Challenge” program.

(Source: The New York Times)

  • The aim of the program is to develop innovative toilets through technological breakthroughs for the benefit of the more than 2 billion people without access to safe and effective sanitation. This would also help in fighting individual diseases.
  • Around $400,000 was donated to the first phases of the grants, followed by $1 – $3 million for the second phases.
  • The toilets created were supposed to not only remove pathogens from human excreta, but also provide resources such as energy, nutrients, and clean water.
  • The creation of high-tech toilets to deal with the public health problem of human waste was another focus.
  • The project had as a goal the conversion of fecal sludge into useful products like energy and soil nutrients.

36. The Foundation has supported around 200 sanitation projects around the globe, at different scales.

(Source: The Guardian)

Projects which have received funds from the Gates Foundation since 2008 include those focused on market development, those with a technology focus, and those focused on advocacy.

37. The Gates Foundation of the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Durban, South Africa was awarded more than $1 million in 2014 so it could be a center for product developers and sanitation researchers.

(Source: Gates Foundation)

This expanded the Gates Foundation’s role as leaders in venture philanthropy.

38. Here’s an example for Reinvent the Toilet Challenge: $1.8 million of funding was given so that researchers at the University of Colorado, Boulder could develop a prototype toilet using solar heat to process fecal matter and produce biochar.

(Source: Biharprabha)

Another important result of Bill Gates’ foundation’s work.

39. The Foundation’s Next Generation Condom project was started in 2013.

(Source: Global Grand Challenges)

$100,000 was given to 11 applicants so they could produce a better condom, one that “significantly preserves or enhances pleasure, in order to improve uptake and regular use”. Just another project for the largest private foundation in the world.

40. The U.S. Libraries initiative was launched by the Foundation in 1997, aiming to ensure that all public libraries had Internet access.

(Source: Gates Foundation)

  • The charitable foundation has given grants, paid for computers and software, and delivered training and technical support together with public libraries nationwide.
  • Through providing access and training, the foundation has helped move public libraries into the digital age.

41. In 2009, the foundation donated $12.2 million to the Southeastern Library Network (SOLINET) to help libraries in Louisiana and Mississippi.

(Source: Wikipedia)

Many of them had been damaged or destroyed by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

This was part of the Foundation’s poverty and education policy.

Bill Gates Charity Work and Causes

Bill Gates Charity Work and Causes

Here are some more facts that summarize Bill Gates’ work in the area of charity.

42. The Foundation’s founders started the Commission on Education of Health Professionals in 2010.

(Source: Gates Foundation)

The commission was entitled “Transforming education to strengthen health systems in an interdependent world.” It aims to expand educational opportunities in the health sector.

43. Bill Gates is estimated to have donated $36 billion to date.

(Source: The Nation)

This has helped to greatly increase his foundation’s endowment.

44. The Clinton Foundation started a partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in 2013.

(Source: The Washington Post)

When rich philanthropists band together, good can result. The partnership’s aim was to ascertain how much progress had been made for women and girls around the world since the 1995 Fourth UN World Conference on Women in Beijing.

45. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced in October 2013 that it would join the International Aid Transparency Initiative.

(Source: Gates Foundation)

The IATA’s data excludes many Gates Foundation grants and has few grants prior to 2009.

46. In 2014, the Gates Foundation donated $19 to a Mastercard affiliate to “increase usage of digital financial products by poor adults” in Kenya.

(Source: The Nation)

Mastercard had already stated its interest, with the aid of the latest technology, in winning new clients among the developing world’s 2.5 billion unbanked people.

47. According to The Nation, more than $250 million of Foundation donations went to companies in which it owns corporate stocks and bonds.

(Source: The Nation)

The list includes Merck, Novartis, GlaxoSmithKline, Vodafone, Sanofi, Ericsson, LG, Medtronic, Teva, and numerous start-ups.

This puts Bill Gates’ philanthropy in question.

48. In 2014, the Foundation announced it would adopt Open Access principles for data and publications.

(Source: Nature)

This was done so research funded by the private foundation could be freely reusable.

49. In 2018, 76% of the money raised worldwide to fund research and development on neglected diseases was by the Gates Foundation.

(Source: Statista)

This included much work on vaccine research. The Gates Foundation vaccine efforts have had a lasting positive impact.

50. Since 1994, the Gates Foundation has given a total of $45 billion through the main foundation and other family foundations.

(Source: CNBC)

That’s an amount of Bill Gates donations greater than many countries’ annual GDP.

51. Bill Gates has a “strategic investment fund”, including a $7 million stake in startup AgBiome.

(Source: The Nation)

The company also received $20 million from Bill Gates donations to develop pesticides for farmers in Africa.

52. A significant part of the Gates Foundation’s charitable efforts are its investments.

(Source: The Nation)

  • The Gates Foundation endowment has generated almost $30 billion in investment income over the past five years.
  • For the same period, the charity gave away only $23.5 billion in charitable grants as part of Bill Gates’ charity work.

53. The Gates Foundation donated $32.5 million to the World Cocoa Foundation.

(Source: The Nation)

This has generated criticism of the private foundation, as much cocoa is produced thanks to child labor.

54. Bill Gates’ foundation owns an 11.5% stake in Berkshire Hathaway, which has a $32 million stake in the chocolate company Mondelez.

(Source: The Nation)

This raises issues regarding Bill Gates’ philanthropy, because of conditions in the chocolate sector.

55. The Gates foundation owns a $50 million stake in Intarcia and 8% of Just Biotherapeutics.

(Source: The Nation)

The foundation gave $25 million for HIV work and $32 million for malaria eradication.

56. The foundation used to own 48% of HIV diagnostic company Zyomyx.

(Source: The Nation)

The hope was the surprising inventions could help cure HIV.

57. According to the Chronicle of Philanthropy’s annual Philanthropy 50 list, here is how much money the world’s richest are donating:

(Source: CNBC)

  • Generous philanthropists on the list include Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, Michael Bloomberg, Mark Zuckerberg, and more.
  • Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan were in second place in 2017, giving over $2 billion.
  • Zuckerberg and Chan gave almost $214 million in 2018 through the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative Donor Advised Fund.

58. The Philanthropy 50 gave $7.8 billion in 2018 – less than 2017’s $14.7 billion.

(Source: CNBC)

Bill and Melinda Gates, first in 2017, fell to 12th in 2018 – they gave away $138 million to their charitable foundation.

59. Bill Gates’ charity gave $3 million in 2004 to charities helping victims of the Indian Ocean tsunami.

(Source: Gates Foundation)

The charities included CARE International, the International Rescue Committee, the Mercy Corps, Save the Children, and World Vision.

60. The foundation donated $500,000 in 2005 to help victims of the Kashmir earthquake.

(Source: Mercy Corps)

Bill Gates’ philanthropy has certainly made a positive contribution.

61. In 2014, the foundation gave around $50 million in “flexible funds” to UN agencies.

(Source: BBC)

The goal was to fight Ebola in West Africa. Hopefully, Ebola will eventually be added to the list of eradicated diseases.

62. Until now, the foundation has donated more than $6.5 billion to global health programs, which includes more than $1.3 billion given to malaria research.

(Source: The New York Times)

  • This has greatly helped the global malaria control fight.
  • Before the Foundation’s efforts regarding malaria, drug companies had mostly given up on making drugs to fight the disease. The foundation is the largest donor in the world for research on diseases affecting the world’s poor.
  • Gates-funded vaccination drives have reduced the death rate from measles in Africa by 90% since 2000, and resulted in a decline in disease outbreaks.

63. GAVI, the vaccine alliance (Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization) received $750 million from the Gates Foundation in 2005.

(Source: Wayback Machine)

As mentioned above, this is a major focus of the Foundation.

64. The Program for Appropriate Technology in Health (PATH)’s Children’s Vaccine Program was donated $27 million by the Foundation to carry out vaccination against Japanese encephalitis in 2003.

(Source: Wayback Machine)

This will help ensure access to the lifesaving vaccines.

65. The Gates Foundation gave around $30 million to found a new Department of Global Health at the University of Washington in Seattle.

(Source: Wikipedia)

The focus of the donation will be three of the foundation’s target areas: to expand educational opportunities, the Pacific Northwest, and global health.

66. The Foundation has donated $287 million to HIV/AIDS researchers, coming largely from Bill Gates’ donations.

(Source: BBC)

16 different research teams around the world received the money. The condition was that the teams would share their findings.

67. The Aeras Global TB Vaccine Foundation received more than $280 million from the Foundation to develop and license a better tuberculosis vaccine for high-burden countries.

(Source: Sci Dev Net)

The Foundation, together with PEPFAR (United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief) announced in August 2012 that they had reached an agreement to cut the cost of a commercial TB test from $16.86 to $9.98.

The importance of vaccines against TB has been well-demonstrated.

68. Planned Parenthood and affiliated organizations had received $71 million from Bill Gates’ Foundation up to 2013.

(Source: Gates Foundation)

Melinda Gates said in 2014 that the Foundation had decided “not to fund abortion”, instead focusing on family planning and contraception.

69. Through GAVI, the Foundation – with a seat on the GAVI board – has the goal of increasing access to vaccines.

(Source: Gavi Foundation)

  • GAVI was launched in 1999 with an initial five-year pledge of $750 million by the Foundation.
  • The Foundation has pledged almost $4 billion to GAVI in total in global health disbursements.
  • Bill Gates said in 2009 that he hoped that the new rotavirus vaccine would reach half the children needing it within six years.
  • Three-quarters of GAVI-supported countries have introduced the pneumococcal vaccine and half have introduced the rotavirus vaccine.


After these facts, you might have some more questions regarding the Gates Foundation and its activities. Here is a quick FAQ to help:

Q: What percentage of Bill Gates’ income goes to charity?

Bill Gates has donated 22.2% of his net worth to charity.

Q: How much money does Warren Buffet give to the Gates Foundation?

In 2006, Warren Buffett announced he was giving $31 billion (in 2006 dollars) to the Gates Foundation.

Q: How much money does Bill Gates give away?

Bill Gates’ donations amount to $36 billion in Microsoft stock to the Gates Foundation so far.

Q: Who had donated the most money to charity?

Bill Gates’ total of $36 billion donated is the largest in world history.

Q: How much is the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation worth?

The Foundation’s endowment was $46.8 billion as of 2018.


  1. Word Atlas
  2. Gates Foundation
  3. The Nation
  4. Word Atlas
  5. Word Atlas
  6. Vox
  7. Wayback Machine
  8. CNN
  9. Wayback Machine
  10. Save Wealth
  11. Gates Foundation
  12. Gates Foundation
  13. The Nation
  14. The Nation
  15. The Nation
  16. Fundación Principe De Asturias
  17. The Indian Express
  18. The Hindu
  19. Obama White House
  20. Wayback Machine
  21. Israel 21c
  22. The Guardian
  23. Bloomberg
  24. Gavi Foundation
  25. Geek Wire
  26. Good News Network
  27. Good News Network
  28. Barrons
  29. Barrons
  30. Forbes
  31. Forbes
  32. Financial Times
  33. USA Today
  34. Sustainable Sanitation Alliance
  35. The New York Times
  36. The Guardian
  37. Gates Foundation
  38. Biharprabha
  39. Global Grand Challenges
  40. Gates Foundation
  41. Wikipedia
  42. Gates Foundation
  43. The Nation
  44. The Washington Post
  45. Gates Foundation
  46. The Nation
  47. The Nation
  48. Nature
  49. Statista
  50. CNBC
  51. The Nation
  52. The Nation
  53. The Nation
  54. The Nation
  55. The Nation
  56. The Nation
  57. CNBC
  58. CNBC
  59. Gates Foundation
  60. Mercy Corps
  61. BBC
  62. The New York Times
  63. Wayback Machine
  64. Wayback Machine
  65. Wikipedia
  66. BBC
  67. Sci Dev Net
  68. Gates Foundation
  69. Gavi Foundation


  1. Collette Gibson says:


Speak Your Mind


I accept the Privacy Policy