Bill Gates is a Philanthropist
In addition to his role as an entrepreneur, Bill Gates is a philanthropist that transformed lives globally. Bill Gates was the man behind the wheel of technological revolution, but amazingly, what goes unmentioned is the breadth of his charitable work that promotes the lives of millions across the world. Forbes 2018 placed him as the second richest man globally with a net worth of $90 billion (Forbes). By 2013, Bill Gates and wife Melinda Gates had donated over $28 billion to charity. They commit $4 billion yearly donations to developing nations, with an additional $500 million reserved for the United States.
Gates is renowned for his Microsoft project that leads in computer software. Astonishingly, he dropped out from Harvard University to pursue his ambition. For 20 years consecutively, Bill led the world as the wealthiest person through his software company. Out of his unparalleled commitment, excellent leadership, and outstanding business strategies, he succeeded in raising Microsoft above all firms in an industry that had just found its footing. Bill Gates strongly grasped the software industry during its start; and has maintained that stronghold to-date.
The leader no longer manages his company on a day-to-day basis. Instead, together with his wife, they co-manage their charitable organization, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Gates aims to eradicate infectious and deadly diseases, promote sustainability, and develop third world countries. Their goal is to help transform 8 million lives by 2020.
Bill was born to William and Mary Gates on October 28, 1955, in Seattle, Washington. Gates was the only son of the parents. During his early years, Bill lacked a school focus and often feuded with the mother. He was eventually sent to a psychologist who introduced him to Sigmund Freud through his writings. This did not salvage the situation and the psychologist stated that it was impossible to force Bill to conform to social norms. Bill only enjoyed scouting at school, such that he became an Eagle Scout, a virtue he regards for promoting his interest in life and at school.
Because of his poor academic performance, his parents decided he had to join Lakeside School, which could accommodate his learning needs. They did not expect Lakeside School to shape the future dream of their son. The school’s administration installed a simple computer terminal where learners could experiment. They charged an hourly cost for connecting to a General Electric Mark II. In the process, Gates got exposure to computers such that in the eighth grade, he could make money as a programmer. While still at the Lakeside School, he met Paul Allen, who influenced his dream, and together they co-founded the Microsoft Company.
Bill runs his charitable deeds through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Today, the agency is the leading transparently operated charitable group in the world. The Foundation has a special role in the health sector, allocating billions of dollars for healthcare across the world (McCoy pp.1650). With a net worth of about $33.5 billion, the Foundation is a powerful entity in philanthropy, garnering the attention of the political elite, the press, and the public. In the United States alone, it engages in wide scope funding projects totaling more than $6 billion since 1994. However, Bill Gates approach to philanthropy is significantly different from what is typical.
First Bill Gates considers himself more of shaper more than a funder. Essentially, this means that his foundation depends largely on other people acting and implementing the developed objectives and goals. As they offer to fund, the foundation is not necessarily concerned with imposing its objectives to the organization it sponsors, but rather it focuses on underscoring the various goals on which the receiving entities are established. In this manner, the Gates foundation is empowered to address various aspects of social and economic development, as opposed to solely health or technology. The main aim of this move is to avoid micromanaging, which causes stress on the Foundation and would threaten its survival. To ensure effective accomplishment of funding goals, the Gated foundation typically requests progress reports that indicate the degree to which various objectives have been attained.
The second approach to philanthropy that Bill Gates adopts is that he focuses on an intervention point and exerts all efforts to spawn change. Essentially, the foundation identifies the basic aspects of a given phenomenon that need to be addressed and maximizes all initiatives in that aspect by investing the largest amount of resources to augment them. To achieve this, the foundation always takes the advice of external parties and attempts to align its resources to these learning points. In line with this, the foundation also endeavors to deliver suitable outcomes using the resources they have received with the highest credibility and transparency possible. The company also tries to conduct all its dealings with the highest possible ethical standards, including nondiscrimination and equality for all.
Thirdly, Bill Gates also runs the foundation with the predefined mission but also leaves room for change and growth in response to the changing global environment. Essentially, when new forms of threats emerge, the organization endeavors to invest resources in the latest developments to determine the most appropriate manner of dealing with the changes. For instance, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) is progressively discovering new viruses and infections that necessitate extensive research by researchers all over the world. In line with this, the Gates foundation assigns various specialists in the medical and technology fields to delve into possible vaccines or cures for these new threats to human wellbeing. Additionally, other than the health sector, the foundation is also concerned with funding various agricultural ventures all over the world that promise to make the world more food secure.
Upon establishing the Foundation, Bill Gates also developed a grant-making process. The grant-making process is composed of four successive phases. The first stage is developing the strategy, which is performed before making a single grant. Typically, this entails attempting to ascertain the problems in their program areas that spawn the most damage, and which is given least attention. These programs areas cautiously take into consideration the expenditures, threats, long-term feasibility, and probable implication of each prospective solution. For all the opportunities, the foundation consults with external specialists to advance a logical strategy and budget, describe expected outcomes, and develop a plan to determine the long- and short-term outcomes.
The second step is making the grant whereby after acquiring the approval, the association subsequently focuses on locating grantees and partners that are most capable of implementing the strategy. In most instances, the organization makes grants and develops formal agreements that stipulate target outcomes. The largest proportion of awards is directed to intermediary associates, associations that finance and back those specializing in the field. Essentially, for a specific body to qualify as an intermediary, it must have extensive experience and guarantee to appropriately allocate the investments so that the intended outcomes are attained.
The third step concerns measuring progress in terms of speed and quality. After certification to process a grant, the organization requires each grantee to assess and make reports on the progress of the granted program on an annual or bi-annual basis. Additionally, the foundation also evaluates the progress towards set goals on a yearly basis. After every 1-2 years, the organization also determines its general strategy and the level of compliance with critical objectives. Besides, the company also considers third-party evaluations because such analysis provides in-depth findings on the effectiveness of each program. In other cases, the Foundation assesses specific grants while in other cases it reviews entire plans. External experts and advisors also aid in analysis, who also provide suggestions for improvement. By engaging in constant feedback with grantees, the Foundation can evaluate their commitment to set targets. The final stage almost resembles the third stage as it entails adjusting for identified drawbacks. After collecting the required feedback, leaders in the Foundation decide to either maintain the course or making modifications. Bill Gates has a role in this decision-making process, as he is specifically concerned with the Foundation achieving its overall objectives effectively.
Today, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is one of the reputable philanthropic organizations in the world. The charitable group specializes in hygiene, sanitation, water, agricultural development, global libraries, and financial services for the poor. By collaborating with various independent bodies, the foundation is empowered to attain its objectives.
- Forbes. “The World’s Billionaires.” 2018. Forbes. 8 July 2018 .
- McCoy, David, et al. “The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s grant-making programme for global health.” The Lancet373.9675 (2009): 1645-1653.