Accomplishments Of A Philanthropist Essay

Length: 10 pages Sources: 6 Subject: Education - Computers Type: Essay Paper: #33223494 Related Topics: Warren Buffett, Malaria, Ibm, Pneumonia
Excerpt from Essay :

Bill Gates Founder of Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; philanthropy

Did his upbringing seem to influence desire to be philanthropic? If so, how?

But his parents planted the seed of entering into philanthropy. Mrs. Gates always stressed on Bill why he needed to begin philanthropy. Someone who was at Bill's father's law office one night recalls that he had quarreled with his parents stating that he was just trying to run his company. Bill Gates notes that he wasn't against philanthropy at the time but wanted to give Microsoft all his energy and attention. Eventually, Mrs. Gates got Bill to donate money for United Way and establish a program at his company to do that. With the growth of his wealth, more requests for donations started streaming in. Bill Gates says that his desire was focusing on philanthropy after retiring from Microsoft or at least later on when he was 60. But the plan saw rapid tracking towards philanthropy following his mother's development of breast cancer. As Mrs. Gates battled the cancer, she continued urging her son to give away more money. She died in June 1994. After her burial on the day she was buried, the Gates family was at a dinner table at their home. Bill Sr. said to the family that there was no need to worry about him as he still had at least ten more years to live. His was aged 70 at that time.

While standing in a line to watch a movie about 6 months following the dinner table conversation, Bill Sr. brought up the topic of philanthropy again. He made the suggestion that he could begin going through the requests made for donations and actually donate some money. One week following this, Bill Gates set aside around $100 million to start a foundation that would be run by the father. The father would write the first check to a local cancer program while sitting at the kitchen table. The amount was $80,000. In the days that followed, Bill Sr. would take the promising requests and scribble a few notes on them, put them in a box and send them to his son to give a response. A reply would be made to the people seeking donations, at times, attaching a $1 million check with just a note of congratulation (Guth, 2009).

6. Did his upbringing influence philosophy of giving? If so, how?

Yes. Bill Gates began studying diligently at a very young age. He had read the World Book Encyclopedia from cover to cover. The appetite for learning had been instilled by his parents as they questioned him about business, life's nature and international affairs (Guth, 2009). Bill and his wife, Melinda, were brought up knowing the importance of giving back to the community. The two families had instilled in their children values of civic engagement and volunteerism. The belief of the families was that if life happened to bestow upon you certain blessings, you too should bless others with those blessings the best way possible (History).

7. How did he approach philanthropy?

Gates initially preferred to keep away from the public and handle philanthropic and civic affairs through the foundations. The Gates Foundation, now called Bill and Melinda gates Foundation, funds health programs with global operations and also projects being run in the Pacific Northwest. In the last years of the 90s, Bill and Melinda also gave money to libraries in North America through the Gates Library Foundation which is now called the Gates Learning Foundation. The two also gave money to gifted minority students in the form of scholarships (Enclopedia Britannica, 2014). This, they say, has been the foundation on which the philosophy of their funding of the manufacture of childhood diseases is based. As the couple got deeper into the world of philanthropy, they discovered that some vaccines that were very critical weren't even being manufactured. They had to interrupt the system of market forces to get things done. They used the funds of the foundation to put up structures and tilt the market forces to at least favor the less fortunate - to guarantee to the manufacturers that there was a market for the vaccines and that they will be bought and that they can make some money and not lose a ton of money in the process. As more clarity was gained by the population...


This approach to philanthropy triggered a series of actions from both businesses and the government. At least 250 million children have been immunized since and not less than 5 million deaths prevented. A vaccine for malaria may even be found in the near future (Lane, 2012).

8. What were his motivations to be philanthropic?

Some years back, Bill gates stirred some controversy when he downplayed efforts of bringing the internet to the developing world. We now know the reason for his feeling that way. He asked the people what was more important - malaria vaccine or connectivity? His point was that Malaria was more important and priorities needed to be gotten right. Gates thinking had actually changed several years back when he tried bringing computers to a remote place in Africa. The ridiculousness of the idea dawned on him when the people had to borrow a special generator to use during his demo. The generator was obviously not going to be around after he had left. Turns out there were more important issues to be addressed than helping people use computers.

An encounter that changed Bill's perspective entirely on the fight against poverty was one heartbreaking one. Melinda recalls Bill calling one day choked up while on the phone. Bill had gone to a TB clinic and seen the extent of the awfulness of the disease. Melinda recalls bill telling her on the phone that it was literally a death sentence. It was at that moment that Bill made the decision to assist the hospital and also put in place measures that would touch millions of people and get them out of poverty. (Bort, 2015).

What was his philosophy regarding philanthropy? Did this philosophy change over time?

The Bill and Melinda Gates foundation is forming various partnerships the world over so as to tackle some serious issues: poor health and extreme poverty in the developing nations as well as the shortcomings in the education system in the United States. The focus is on a small number of issues because the belief is that by doing so, they will have the greatest impact. The issues being focused on are also the biggest roadblocks to people maximizing their lives. The foundation strives to find innovative measures to tackle these issues: new technology is available to farmers to help grow their yield and earn more profits; new methods of instruction are found for teachers to increase productivity. The foundation expects a number of the projects it is running to fail because they believe that part of their job is making bets to provide solutions that governments and businesses find hard to do. Through this process, important lessons are learned and they can be applied by various stakeholders like businesses that can in turn enter those markets. The philosophy of the foundation can be found on their website and they are guided by these principles:

That the foundation is a family foundation and the passion and interests of the Gates family drive it

That philanthropy does play a crucial role, but it is limited.

That lives can be greatly improved the world over through science and technology.

That the foundation just funds and shapes -it is the duty of other people to implement

That the focus of the foundation is clear and also limited. The focus is on the issues that have been neglected.

Certain intervention points are identified and the theory of change applied to them.

There is rigorous but responsible advocacy in the areas they choose to focus.

The grantees are to be treated like partners and the beneficiaries are to be treated with utmost respect.

The most important thing for the foundation is using the resources that have been availed with to deliver results.

The members of the foundation are to act ethically.

The people at the foundations shall be treated as valuable colleagues.

The foundation shall focus on meeting their mission, which is increasing equity and opportunities for the most disadvantaged.

There is room left for change and growth.

The Bill and Melinda Gates is divided into 3 programs: Global Development, the U.S. Program and Global Health (The Gates Foundation, n.d).

9. What were his goals in philanthropy? Did these goals change over time?

Bill Gates, through his foundation, has partnered with various organizations globally to tackle key issues in four main areas. The Global Development Division helps the poor lift themselves out of poverty and hunger. The Global Health Division has an aim of harnessing advances made in Science and Technology…

Sources Used in Documents:


Anderson, I. (2011). The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation: business vs. bureaucracy in international development, Development Policy Centre Discussion Paper #3, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University, Canberra.

Bort J. (2015 Jan. 21). Bill Gates Talks About The Heartbreaking Moment That Turned Him To Philanthropy. Business Insider. Retrieved from <> on March 11, 2015

Clemens, M & Demombynes, G 2010, 'When does rigorous impact evaluation make a difference? The case of the millennium villages', Centre for Global Development, Working Paper 225

Encyclopedia Britannica (updated 2014, July 14). Bill Gates. Retrieved from <> on March 11, 2015
Guth R.A. (2009, April 25). Raising Bill Gates. The wall street journal. Retrieved from <> on March 11, 2015
How we work. Retrieved from <> on March 11, 2015
Lane R. (2012). Bill Gates: My New Model For Giving. Forbes. Retrieved from <> on March 11, 2015
Letter from Bill and Melinda Gates. Retrieved from <> on March 11, 2015
The Gates Foundation (n.d). Retrieved from <> on March 11, 2015.
The philanthropic initiative. (2010). Eastern reflections on the giving pledge from CAP, Mumbai. Retrieved from <> on March 11, 2015
What we do. Retrieved from <> on March 11, 2015

Cite this Document:

"Accomplishments Of A Philanthropist" (2015, March 12) Retrieved January 18, 2022, from

"Accomplishments Of A Philanthropist" 12 March 2015. Web.18 January. 2022. <>

"Accomplishments Of A Philanthropist", 12 March 2015, Accessed.18 January. 2022,

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