Friday, June 16, 2006

Bill And Melinda Gates Foundation Seeks To Address Huge Global Health And Education Problems

"With an endowment of $29.1 billion, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, based in Seattle, is the largest charitable foundation in the country. Since 1994, the it has committed $10.5 billion in grants, more than half dedicated to global health causes such as solving malaria and HIV/AIDS. The quest for a workable AIDS vaccine is a major mission for the foundation.

The foundation gives away about $1.5 billion each year and focuses on three areas of giving in addition to global health: education, libraries and the Pacific Northwest. In 2005, about 70% of the foundation's grants went toward global efforts, with the rest focused on the U.S. The foundation's co-chairs are Bill and Melinda Gates and Mr. Gates' father, William H. Gates Sr. Its chief executive officer is Patty Stonesifer.

See a 2004 page-one WSJ article on the foundation's AIDS efforts, and a 2001 page-one article on how Mr. Gates used his business tactics to vaccinate the world's poor.

Recently announced donations

• Tuberculosis, May 2006: $104 million into the nonprofit Global Alliance for TB Drug Development to expand and speed the pipeline for new drugs to treat tuberculosis, a lung infection that remains the world's second-biggest infectious-disease killer, after AIDS. The foundation has targeted TB since standard treatments are 40 years old and take six months to cure the disease. In January, the foundation said it would triple its funding commitments for tuberculosis research to $900 million over the next decade.

• Malaria, October 2005: Pledged $258.3 million for a multipronged attack on what Mr. Gates called the "forgotten epidemic" of malaria, a major killer of African children. The money would fund research and development on a promising vaccine, new drugs and improved tools for mosquito control.

• AIDS, February 2005: Promised as much as $360 million over five years to support initiatives to speed up the search for an AIDS vaccine.

• Polio, January 2005: $10 million in new grants to the World Health Organization and Unicef to fund development and distribution of an improved polio vaccine during 2005. The eventual goal of the effort was to stop the spread of polio world-wide.

• Childhood vaccinations, January 2005: Pledged a $750 million grant over 10 years to support the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization, a Geneva-based partnership funding childhood vaccination in poor countries. The new money came atop a prior $750 million grant in 1999 and two smaller grants, bringing the total Gates commitment to GAVI to a little more than $1.5 billion.

• AIDS, TB, Malaria, July 2004: Announced a $50 million grant to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

• Tuberculosis, February 2004: $82.9 million grant to the Aeras Global TB Vaccine Foundation for the development of newer and better vaccines against tuberculosis.

• Malaria, September 2003: $168 million in grants to projects devoted to the treatment and prevention of malaria in Africa.

• Education, June 2003: $22 million to the NewSchools Venture Fund, a San Francisco nonprofit organization that promoted charter schools and other education initiatives.

• Global Health, January 2003: Foundation said it would give $200 million to establish the "Grand Challenges in Global Health initiative," to be administered by the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health, a nonprofit organization related to the NIH. The initiative would bring together top scientists to tackle global health problems.

• Education, October 2000: $210 million to fund scholarships for graduate students, particularly those from developing countries, at the University of Cambridge in England.

• Education, September 1999: Announced a $1 billion college scholarship fund for minority students, to be funded by the foundation with annual grants of $50 million."

"Gates Foundation Giving" Wall Street Journal June 16, 2006

Malaria clinic in sub-Saharan Africa.

Photo credit: World Health Organization. With thanks.


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