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  1. Impact Philanthropy
February 27, 2024updated 28 Feb 2024 9:32am

12 biggest Bill Gates donations

By Spear's

Bill Gates may no longer be the world’s richest person, but he continues to change people’s lives through mega donations to good causes through his Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Gates and his ex-wife Melinda French Gates founded America’s largest transparent philanthropic trust, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, in 2000. Since then, the trust has made donations totalling $59 billion.

The Microsoft mogul himself is as known for his philanthropy as he is his business empire and he has given away billions to the foundation. In 2022 alone, he donated $5.1 billion.

[See also: We must stop being suspicious of philanthropy]

The BMGF is committed to eradicating poverty, establishing good education, developing vaccines and fighting AIDS and malaria across the globe.

The 12 largest Bill Gates donations below have made a significant impact on the charities receiving them. The highest donation – according to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation website – has been $1.6 billion to the Gavi Alliance, which aims to increase access to immunisation in the world’s poorest countries.

Read on to find out more about Bill Gates’ 12 biggest donations.

Gavi Alliance – $1.6 billion

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is a founding partner of Gavi, which has helped vaccinate more than half the world’s children against some of the deadliest diseases. 

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In 2000, the foundation made an initial $750 million commitment to the Vaccine Fund, which brought donors on board and led to the Vaccine Alliance.

To date, the BMGF has donated $4.1 billion to Gavi. At the 2020 Global Vaccine Summit, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced it was giving $ 1.6 billion to the programme to fund projects between 2021–2025, the single biggest donation by the foundation. 

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Gavi Alliance – $1,543,757,800

Gavi Alliance continues its vital work with the help of financial support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. 

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation have announced several billion dollar donations since 2000. In January, the foundation gave away more than $1.5 billion over a six year period, Bill Gates’ second largest donation. 

The Rotary Foundation of Rotary International – $1,285,210,000

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation granted $1,285,210,000 to the Rotary Foundation of Rotary International in 2007.

Covering a term of 195 months (16 years), the donation aims to support global polio eradication research and development under The Rotary Foundation’s Polio Plus Programme.

Briefing the media about the programme, co-founder of Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Bill Gates, said: ‘The extraordinary dedication of Rotary members has played a critical role in bringing polio to the brink of eradication.

‘Eradicating polio will be one of the most significant public health accomplishments in history, and we are committed to helping reach that goal.’

United Negro College Fund, Inc – $1,264,876,898

The Gates Millennium Scholars Program, which was launched by BMGF in 1999 with United Negro College Fund, has funded more than 20,000 college students with scholarships and mentorship support to the college or university of their choice, all the way through to a doctoral level. 

This grant aims to provide financial assistance to minority students who face severe financial problems in affording quality education.

It remains to this day the largest private scholarship/mentorship program and investment in students of colour in the United States.

Following the announcement of the programme in 1999, William H Gray, III, president of the United Negro College Fund, said: “This is a historic effort to improve the diversity of higher education.

‘All of society benefits when the doors of education are opened to a group of kids who wouldn’t otherwise get the chance. It’s our vision to raise a new generation of leaders and we are grateful that Bill and Melinda Gates share this vision – and are acting on it.’ Since the programme was implemented in 2000, it has provided financial assistance to at least 1,000 students each year.

[See also: Impact Award winner James Chen on taking ‘big bets’ in philanthropy]

Gavi Alliance – $953,600,000

Gavi has been the main donor funder of vaccination in low and middle income countries since it was founded in 2000. 

Gavi runs in five-year funding cycles which enables it to negotiate long-term deals with manufacturers.

In November 2011, the Gates Foundation committed nearly US$ 1 billion to Gavi over a period of years 

Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria – $846,400,000

Under its advocacy programme, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation granted $750,000,000 to the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis (TB) and Malaria in 2023.

Covering 26 months, the donation to the Global Fund aims towards provide financial support to all countries in diagnosing, treating and educating the society at large about the three deadly diseases.

The aim behind the release of this fund is to see a HIV, TB and malaria free world.

[See also: Lady Edwina Grosvenor on drugs, justice and keeping non-violent women out of prison]

Gates Medical Research Institute – $844,002,778

Gates Medical Research Institute focuses on programmes aimed at finding solutions to TB, malaria, diarrheal diseases, and maternal, newborn, and child illnesses worldwide.

An affiliate of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the institute’s programmes focus on disease and health. 

In June 2023, BMGF gave away more than $844 million to fund 54 months of research. 

Bill and Melinda Gates standing next to each other
Bill Gates and his former wife Melinda French Gates set up the foundation in 2000 / Image: Shutterstock

The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria – $750 million

Global Fund financing helps developing countries fight against AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. This public-private partnership creates economic opportunity and makes those living in poverty less dependent on aid.

Speaking in 2011 in Davos as it was announced the BMGF would be donating $750 million to the fund through a promissory note, Bill Gates said: ‘The Global Fund is one of the most effective ways we invest our money every year.’

‘By supporting the Global Fund, we can help to change the fortunes of the poorest countries in the world,’ said Gates. ‘I can’t think of more important work.’

[See also: Warren Buffett says ‘being rich doesn’t make you evil’ but restates criticism of ‘dynastic wealth’ in rare letter to shareholders]

The Gavi Campaign – $750,000,000

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation granted $750,000,000 to The Gavi Campaign in 1999 under its global development programme.

Covering a period of six months, The Gavi Campaign used the amount released by the foundation to support the immunisation of children in as many as 74 countries.

The GAVI Campaign aims to develop vaccines, deliver and administer them to children in underdeveloped countries.

The donation has contributed to the GAVI Campaign’s mission to help children fight deadly viruses and other waterborne diseases.

The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria – $731,783,690

The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (Global Fund), was founded in 2002 and is committed to accelerating efforts to end the AIDS, tuberculosis (TB), and malaria epidemics. It is the world’s largest financier of AIDS, TB, and malaria prevention, treatment, and care programmes. 

In December 2020 the BMGF pledged more than £730 million to the fund over two years. 

World Health Organization (WHO) – $682,305,429

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation pledged $682,305,429 to the World Health Organization (WHO) for its Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) IN 2008. 

The grant was given for projects that are focused on intensifying efforts to eradicate the disease, particularly in the regions of Africa and Asia.

The donation by Bill Gates has become part of an $8.2 billion international investment that WHO has put in place for this specific programme.

The goal of GPEI is to see a polio-free world. WHO has already immunised 2.5 billion children worldwide.

The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria – $508,322,250

In 2017, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation pledged $508 million to the Global Fund. 

Malaria eradication is a key priority for the foundation, and it has committed substantial resources to it. 

As Melinda French Gates said: Any goal short of eradicating malaria is accepting malaria, it’s making peace with malaria, it’s rich countries saying, ‘We don’t need to eradicate malaria around the world as long as we’ve eliminated it in our own countries.’ That is just unacceptable.’

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