From: Rohit Khare (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Tue Jan 25 2000 - 13:38:28 PST
January 25, 2000
$5 Billion Puts Gates Fund in First Place
By JUAN FORERO
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation said yesterday that William H.
Gates, the founder of the Microsoft Corporation, and his wife,
Melinda, have donated an additional $5 billion to their philanthropic
foundation, making it the world's wealthiest, with assets of $21.8
With the gift, the foundation passed the Wellcome Trust in Britain,
which has assets of $21.4 billion, according to the Chronicle of
Philanthropy, a publication that covers nonprofit organizations and
ranks them by the size of their assets. The second-largest foundation
in the United States is the Ford Foundation, with assets of $13.1
"It's only in the past year that people have taken their philanthropy
very seriously," Stacy Palmer, editor of the publication, said of the
The foundation, which is based in Seattle and which the Gateses
established last year through the merging of other foundations, has
received worldwide attention because of the large contributions.
In September, the foundation pledged at least $1 billion to pay for
scholarships over the next 20 years for minority students in
education, math, science and engineering.
Then in November, the fund said it would donate $750 million over
five years to help international health organizations vaccinate
children in developing countries.
In all, the foundation gave away about $800 million last year and
made commitments of more than $2 billion, said Trevor Neilson, a
spokesman for the fund.
Mr. Neilson said the foundation's mission was to improve health
conditions in poor countries and further educational opportunities
for disadvantaged students in the United States.
"Bill and Melinda have always said that they're committed to giving
away the vast majority of their wealth, and this is must a part of
that process," Mr. Neilson said.
Mr. Gates has a net worth of about $90 billion.
To keep its tax-exempt status, the fund must give away at least 5
percent of its endowment each year.
Ms. Palmer said the foundation was different from other traditional
foundations in that the main donors were alive and active in deciding
who received benefits.
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