Thanks to David for passing this along.
His foundation has assets worth $37.1 billion, thanks in part to contributions of shares from his mentor, American ‘uber-investor’ Warren Buffett. But forget the figures. The only thing Gates wants you to know is that he intends to give it all away.
Famously publicity-shy, he has granted this rare one-on-one interview to Live not – unsurprisingly – to talk about what non-Apple gadgets his children have, but to promote a ‘pledging conference’ for donors and partners of the GAVI Alliance (the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation, which Gates co-founded in 2000) that kicks off in London on Monday.
Hosted by David Cameron, the event marks the culmination of a drive, spearheaded by Gates, to raise $3.7 billion to vaccinate 243 million children in the world’s poorest countries against illnesses such as pneumonia and measles. Gates and Cameron are expected to announce the money has been successfully raised and, it’s hoped, will save four million lives over the next four years.
His foundation began humbly in 1994 after a double whammy that made the billionaire think about his own mortality. It was the year Gates married Melinda, 46, a former Microsoft manager, and when his much-loved mother Mary, a former teacher and businesswoman, died of breast cancer.
After Mary’s death, Gates’s father Bill Sr, feeling listless, started ploughing through the stacks of begging letters which had piled up at his son’s office, simply ‘for something to do’. He would send the requests he thought worthy to his son, who would then write the cheques, which Bill Sr would send out with brief notes. Bill Sr is now co-chair of the foundation, and still shows up for work every day, despite being 85.
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