Melinda French Gates Resigns From The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation


One of the two namesakes of The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is stepping away from the organization, with an attendant name change to the organization to follow. Melinda French Gates recently took to Twitter to announce her departure, which apparently came as a surprise to some foundation employees.

French Gates made her exit from the foundation that bears her name via a press statement on social media. Here’s an excerpt:

“This is not a decision I came to lightly. I am immensely proud of the foundation that Bill and I built together, and of the extraordinary work it’s doing to address inequities around the world. I care deeply about the foundation team, our partners around the world, and everyone who is touched by its work.”

Christian Liewig – Corbis/Getty Images

French Gates’s divorce from Bill Gates was finalized in the summer of 2021. At that point, the two reportedly agreed to attempt to continue working together in the foundation over a two-year trial run. Those two years elapsed in 2023, and for whatever reason, French Gates has decided to move on.

French Gates’s statement also mentions a sum of $12.5 billion that she will have for her own philanthropic projects under the terms of her separation agreement with the foundation. And Gates made a statement of his own about her exit:

I am sorry to see her leave, but I am sure she will have a huge impact in her future philanthropic work.

According to foundation CEO Mark Suzman, French Gates’s exit will be followed by a name change, and the organization will henceforth be known simply as The Gates Foundation. The foundation has been around since 2000 and is one of the biggest philanthropic organizations in the world, with thousands of employees and a  $75 billion endowment.

French Gates didn’t say explicitly what her philanthropic ambitions are going forward, but it seems clear she will continue to focus on the cause of equality for women, something she focused on during her time with the foundation, while Gates tended to concentrate more on medicine-related causes.

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