Bill and Melinda Gates divorce, keep working together in the foundation

Photo: AP

Philanthropists Bill and Melinda Gates announced on Monday that they are divorcing but would keep working together at their foundation, news wires reported. In identical tweets, the Microsoft co-founder and his wife said they had made the decision to end their marriage of 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,” they said in a statement. “We ask for space and privacy for our family as we begin to navigate this new life.”

Bill Gates was formerly the world’s richest person and his fortune is estimated at well over $100 billion. How the couple end up settling their estate and any impact on the foundation will be closely watched, especially after another high-profile Seattle-area billionaire couple recently ended their marriage.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and MacKenzie Bezos finalized their divorce in 2019, AP noted. MacKenzie Scott has since remarried and now focuses on her own philanthropy after receiving a 4% stake in Amazon, worth more than $36 billion.

The Gateses were married in 1994 in Hawaii. They met after she began working at Microsoft as a product manager in 1987.

In her 2019 memoir, “The Moment of Lift,” Melinda Gates wrote about her childhood, life and private struggles as the wife of a public icon and stay-at-home mom with three kids. She won Bill Gates’ heart after meeting at a work dinner, sharing a mutual love of puzzles and beating him at a math game.

She also detailed the ways they navigated imbalances in their marriage and parenting journey and noted how working together at the foundation made their relationship better.

“Bill and I are equal partners,” Melinda Gates said in a 2019 interview with The Associated Press. “Men and women should be equal at work.”

The Seattle-based Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is the most influential private foundation in the world, with an endowment worth nearly $50 billion. It has focused on global health and development and U.S. education issues since incorporating in 2000.

While both are global figures, Melinda Gates has increasingly built her profile as a champion of women and girls. The former tech business executive launched her private Pivotal Ventures investment and incubation company in 2015 and recently partnered with Scott for a newly announced equity challenge.

David Callahan, founder of the Insider Philanthropy website and author of “The Givers: Wealth, Power, and Philanthropy in a New Gilded Age” says it’s too early to know how the divorce will affect the Gates foundation and the wider philanthropic community. Although the couple say they will continue to work together at their foundation, Callahan suggests Melinda Gates could still pursue her own philanthropic work.

Last year, Bill Gates said he was stepping down from Microsoft’s board to focus on philanthropy. He was Microsoft’s CEO until 2000 and since then has gradually scaled back his involvement in the company he started with Paul Allen in 1975. He transitioned out of a day-to-day role in Microsoft in 2008 and served as chairman of the board until 2014.

Similar articles

  • Mexico calls for EU style Latin Union

    Mexico calls for EU style Latin Union

    The Latin American and Caribbean countries should join a bloc like the European Union, Mexico's president and other leaders noted at a summit over the weekend, in a bid to reduce the influence of Washington-based Organization of American States (OAS). This is not the first attempt the region's mainly leftist rulers to promote the idea of such organization, Reuters reported.

    57
  • US to offer booster jabs to older Americans

    US to offer booster jabs to older Americans

    Senior officials at the US Food and Drug Administration announced they recommended booster shots of the Pfizer's Covid-19 vaccine only for people aged 65 and older and to high risk groups. At this stage the FDA does not recommend the administration of a booster shot to every American aged 16 or older, BBC elaborated. Earlier this month President Joe Biden said he had hoped to start a massive campaign to deliver booster shots to everyone above 16.

    78
  • Canada political race heats up ahead of polls

    Canada political race heats up ahead of polls

    Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tries to get back in the political race ahead of the Canadian elections as he acknowledged the unpopularity of his pandemic election and intensified his calls on voters to support his campaign, with his bid for re-election at risk of being blocked by low turnout, Reuters reported.

    70