Mega Philanthropy changes course as Melinda Gates leaves the iconic Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation founded with her ex-husband nearly 25 years ago. As part of the deal she will get $12.5 billion to launch her own charity.

Via Facebook / @Melinda French Gates

Come June, the names Bill & Melinda Gates will no longer belong together on any platform.. Their high-profile divorce set the stage, and the final step is the 59-year-old ex-wife of the Microsoft co-founder announcing she is closing the gates on the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation next month. After more than two decades of service, the foundation will lose its co-chair. The once deeply-in-love Bill and Melinda, who divorced in August 2021, started the world’s largest private charitable foundation in 2000, driven by the belief that “every life has equal value.”

Melinda, worth $11 billion, felt this was the perfect time to retire and expressed pride in the foundation’s ‘extraordinary work to address inequities around the world.’ Centibillionaire Bill Gates, the world’s ninth-richest man worth $130 billion, will now take sole charge, while Melinda is confident the foundation will continue its good work under the leadership of the highly capable CEO, Mark Suzman.

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Bill Gates with Melinda and his daughter Jennifer. Via Facebook / @Melinda French Gates

She wrote on X, “The time is right for me to move forward into the next chapter of my philanthropy. This is a critical moment for women and girls in the U.S. and around the world, and those fighting to protect and advance equality are in urgent need of support. Under the terms of my agreement with Bill, in leaving the foundation, I will have an additional $12.5 billion to commit to my work on behalf of women and families. I’ll be sharing more about what that will look like in the near future.”

Melinda founded her own organization, Pivotal Ventures, which tirelessly addresses issues affecting U.S. women and families. It’s easy to predict that funds from Bill Gates’s personal account, not the trust funds, will be directed towards these initiatives. The Seattle-based foundation, with offices worldwide, has given grant payments worth a staggering $77.6 billion since its inception almost 25 years ago. Their largest single donation was $1.6 billion to the Gavi Alliance, aimed at increasing access to immunization in the world’s poorest countries. The 2020 Global Vaccine Summit was instrumental in providing vaccination to children against some of the world’s deadliest diseases.

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An early photo of Bill and Melinda Gates from 1998 . Image – Bill and Melinda Gates foundation.

The once power couple did some legendary work together, but after their very public divorce in 2021, following 27 years together, they agreed to a two-year trial period to see if they could continue leading the foundation together. If they couldn’t, French Gates would step down. That time has now come, and French Gates’ last day at the foundation will be less than a month away, on June 7, leaving behind the one thing that held them together.

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With over 15 years of experience in luxury journalism, Neha Tandon Sharma is a notable senior writer at Luxurylaunches. Her expertise spans luxury yachts, high-end fashion, and celebrity culture. Beyond writing, her passion for fantasy series is evident. Beginning with articles on women-centric gadgets, she's now a leading voice in luxury, with a fondness for opulent superyachts. To date, her portfolio boasts more than 2 million words, often penned alongside a cappuccino.