Bill Gates revealed how his relationship with Melinda Gates began in the popular Netflix miniseries "Inside Bill's Brain" in 2019. He said that "She had other boyfriends, and I had Microsoft. We were like, 'Hey we are not really serious about each other, are we? We are not going to demand each other's time."
Bill eventually drew a pro/con list to decide if he should propose, and they decided to embark on the next stage of their life when their romance became serious. Bill and Melinda tied the knot in Hawaii in 1994.
In a Facebook live in 2019, Bill discussed their relationship. "Working together as well as raising a family together, there's a certain intensity to that. But we're very lucky because we mostly see things the same way, the goals are very much the same", he said.
However, Melinda Gates's book "The Moment of Lift," published in 2019, presents an alternative aspect to their relationship. She wrote that when she asked her husband to keep her as a co-author for the annual letter about their foundation, "It got hot. Bill said the process we had for the Annual Letter had been working well for the foundation for years, and he didn't see why it should change."
Again, she provided a better insight into their relationship while promoting her book "The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World". "I think people must think, 'Oh well, Melinda must not really have equality with Bill.' Actually, I have total equality with Bill. But it took a while for us to get there", she said.
Eventually, both Bill and Melinda took to twitter to announce their divorce after 27 years of being together. "We no longer believe we can grow together as a couple in the next phase of our lives. We ask for space and privacy for our family as we begin to navigate this new life," the posts read.
As soon as the statement came to light, reactions began to pour in from all over the world and from people from all walks of life.
The wide scale fear surrounding their divorce is unsurprising given their individual and collective reputations built over the years through multifaceted contributions in a variety of fields, ranging from philanthropy, where the pair spearheaded for years as co-founders of the Gates Foundation, to business and technology community.
Bill and Melinda Gates formed the William H. Gates Foundation in 1994, fixing its charitable contributions on global health and the Pacific Northwest community. The foundation's scope of work, as well as its funding, grew significantly over time.
Warren Buffett promised to donate the foundation nearly 10 million Berkshire Hathaway Class B shares. In this regard, an article published in the New York Times noted that "That Mr. Buffett has given money to Mr. Gates is no surprise: The two are close friends, with Mr. Gates once a member of Berkshire's board — and serving as a regular bridge partner to Mr. Buffett."
Thus far, the Gates Foundation has made contributions of monumental proportions in improving the lives of people around the globe.
It gave a $5 million grant to International Justice Mission, a Washington-based human rights organisation, in 2006 to express its solidarity in the fight against sex trafficking. In 2010, the organisation released the results of the project that it established with the money, saying that "an increase in law enforcement activity in sex trafficking cases, an increase in commitment to resolving sex trafficking cases among law enforcement officers trained through the project, and an increase in services – like shelter, counseling and career training – provided to trafficking survivors."
It has also played an important role in assisting many students from around the world each year to study at the prestigious University of Cambridge through the Gates Cambridge Scholarship, thus significantly contributing to changing their fortunes.
Furthermore, it has provided financial support to various organisations with the aim of providing greater financial assistance to the impoverished population. In this respect, it has awarded the Grameen Foundation a grant of $1.5 million to "support Grameen Foundation's strategic plan to reach five million additional new families, ensure that 50 percent of them permanently escape poverty within five years of becoming a microfinance client, and champion innovations that transform the microfinance industry."
It has also championed numerous programmes such as the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, the Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene, and the Reinvent the Toilet Challenge to aid agricultural development and ensure access to safe water and sanitation.
The presence of the foundation in the field of global health is marked by the large scale donations it has made to fight against diseases like AIDS, Tuberculosis, Malaria, Polio, Japanese encephalitis, among many others. For instance, the foundation contributed $86 million to eradicate polio in 2006. Again, it awarded $287 million for the purpose of conducting research on HIV/AIDS.
The foundation has also been making significant contributions in eradicating the ongoing pandemic. Mark Suzman, the CEO of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, stated the following in this regard in December 2020, "The Gates Foundation announced Wednesday that it will commit an additional $250 million to support research and development — as well as equitable delivery — of Covid-19 tests, vaccines, and treatments".
"This latest pledge brings the Gates Foundation's total commitments to the Covid-19 response to $1.75 billion", he added.
Many people have expressed concern about the foundation's future and the programmes it is currently funding as a result of Bill and Melinda's separation.
However, along with announcing their separation, Bill and Melinda clearly stated that they "will continue our work together at the foundation."
In another statement the foundation made it clear that this separation will not hinder the progress of the projects the foundation has undertaken. "(Bill and Melinda) will continue to work together to shape and approve foundation strategies, advocate for the foundation's issues and set the organisation's overall direction," the statement read.