Bill and Melinda Gates during a visit to the Elysee Palace in Paris in April 2017.KAMIL ZIHNIOGLU / AP
The Gates Foundation, one of the world's largest philanthropic organizations, has given itself two years to see if its two heads, Bill Gates and Melinda French, can continue to work together after announcing their divorce last May.
Otherwise, Melinda will leave the organization.
The agreement announced this Wednesday by Mark Suzman, the CEO of the foundation, has not been the only news that has been communicated.
There have also been some changes in the structure of the organization after the departure of Warren Buffett as one of its trustees and the injection of 15,000 million dollars by its directors that will be invested in research on the cure of diseases, in education and in gender equality.
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The donation communicated this Wednesday is one of the most generous in the history of the foundation.
It is the most important contribution of the former couple since 2000 when they transferred 20,000 million in Microsoft shares to the Foundation, which today has 65,000 million resources to combat inequality.
"This generous gift underscores the commitment to the foundation and the belief that we can have a positive effect all over the world," Suzman said in a text that he named
, an action that indicates that the organization has concluded the seismic event that caused the separation of Gates and Melinda, who have called the foundation "the fourth child" of the couple.
Buffett's departure was announced on June 24. The 90-year-old millionaire, a great friend of the founder of Microsoft, said then that he had been a silent trustee for two decades, but that he supported the work directed by Suzman and headed by the Gates, who today remain as the only two members of the trust . The foundation has taken advantage of the Berkshire Hathaway mogul's step back to do a restructuring. This will expand the number of members to evolve decision-making in the governing body. These will provide "new perspectives, visions and experiences to guide the foundation," says the CEO of the philanthropic body.
The new members of the trust, to be announced in January 2022, will also ease tensions between Bill and Melinda, who were married for 27 years. The separation caused a news storm that was followed by bitter revelations such as the investigation of an infidelity by the computer genius that had led him to leave the presidency of the company in March 2020 and how their financial advisor had created a toxic environment. in your signature.
Gates and French have shown signs that they can continue to work together after their breakup. The foundation recently announced a donation of $ 2.1 billion for female empowerment scholarships, which will be distributed to women and programs around the world over the next five years. They have also made investments to combat the pandemic and to permanently eradicate polio.
The agreement indicates that Melinda French could cease to be one of the members of the trust if she cannot find the conditions to continue working with her ex-husband.
If this happens, Bill Gates will buy his share of the foundation with his personal fortune, which exceeds $ 140 billion according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
The endowment of the foundation would not be affected by the departure of Melinda, the organization has announced.
French has responded to the announcement with a personal statement, in which he indicates his interest in the work he has done in recent decades.
"I firmly believe in the mission of the foundation and remain fully committed as co-president," he said.
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