Bill and Melinda Gates talk about the importance of philanthropy in the world today
“Well, it’s the most fulfilling thing we’ve ever done…you can’t take it with you and if it’s not good for the kids, let’s get together and brainstorm about what can be done. The world is a far better place because of the philanthropists of the past, and the US tradition here, which is the strongest, is the envy of the world. And part of the reason I’m so optimistic is because I do think philanthropy is going to grow and take some of these things government’s not good at working on…discovering and shining some light in the right direction,” says Bill Gates, the world’s greatest philanthropist.
This is an interview of the couple who while vacationing on the beach decided that they had to do something about the inequities in the world. They saw so much poverty that it touched them. The idea grew into a foundation and Melinda says, “…there are people who have created their own businesses, put their own ingenuity behind incredible ideas. If they put their ideas and their brain behind philanthropy, they can change the world. And they start to see others doing it, and saying, “Wow, I want to do that with my money.” To me that’s the piece that’s incredible…”
Bill Gates adds, “We decided we’d pick two causes, whatever the biggest inequity was globally, and there we looked at children dying, children not having enough nutrition to ever develop and countries that were really stuck with that level of death…parents would have so many kids that they’d get huge population growth, and that the kids were so sick that they really could not be educated and lift themselves up. So that was our global thing. In the US we…both of us have had amazing education and we saw that as a way that the US could live up to its promise of equal opportunity is by having a phenomenal education system. And the ore we learned, the more we realized we are not really fulfilling that promise…and so we picked up those two things and everything the foundation does is focused on them.”
Melinda has all the details in her head like she talks of the need to make contraceptives available to women saying that, “We knew 210 million women were saying they wanted access to contraceptives…and we weren’t providing them because of the political controversy in our country, and to me that was just a crime and I kept looking around to find the person that would get this back on the global stage and I finally realized I just had to do it.Even though I am Catholic, I believe in contraceptives just like most of the Catholic women in the Unites States who report using contraceptives…so we got global consensus and raised 2.6 billion dollars around exactly this issue for women.”
Melinda Gates recounts many of her experiences saying if a woman is not able to get condoms or to convince her husband to use them, then what is the use of talking about them? We have to provide alternatives. Similarly she says it is not the size of the school that matters but the motivation of the teacher. We have place good teachers facing the class. “…I come at it from intuition. I meet lots of people on the ground…and I feel actual delivery is as important.”
Bill Gates gets at it through statistics and the global data; Melinda Gates through being hands on at the grass roots. They both together match the pictures and take decisions.
On a lighter note they find it is not difficult to work together, though they do not spend every moment with each other. They travel separately, they work independently but touch base to share and decide together.
Now they feel it is time to show the world hat their children also believe in what they are doing and so the richest parents are giving their children more compassion and less fortune to weave their future on.