Billionaire Bill Gates has again pledged to give away his wealth, adding that he will ultimately “drop off” the list of the world’s rich. This came as the Microsoft co-founder announced that he would donate $20 billion (£17 billion) to his philanthropic fund. However, the strategy behind his idea has already been criticized like it’s him just putting his money into another place that he’s connected to and some social media users ask: “what’s the difference?”
The world’s fourth richest man declared that he had an “obligation” to give back his assets to society. Gates first pledged to hand over his fortune in 2010, but since then his net worth has more than doubled. According to Forbes magazine, it is currently worth $118 billion, but that will drop significantly after his July donation to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the charitable fund he created with his ex-wife in 2000.
In a Twitter feed, Gates stated that the foundation would increase funding from $6 billion a year to $9 billion by 2026 as a result of recent “global setbacks,” including the pandemic, the war in Ukraine and the climate crisis. “With the support and guidance of our board, we plan to increase our spending from nearly $6 billion per year today to $9 billion per year by 2026. To help make this spending increase possible, I am transferring $20 billion to the foundation’s endowment this month.”
“I am very proud of the foundation’s role in helping solve big problems like preventing pandemics, reducing childhood deaths, eradicating diseases, improving food security and climate adaptation, achieving gender equality, and improving educational outcomes.”
“Although the foundation bears our names, basically half our resources have come from Warren Buffett. His incredible generosity is a huge reason why the foundation has been able to be so ambitious. I can never adequately express how much I appreciate his friendship and guidance.”
“As I look to the future, I plan to give virtually all of my wealth to the foundation,” he said. “I will move down and eventually off of the list of the world’s richest people, said report.
“I have an obligation to return my resources to society in ways that have the greatest impact for reducing suffering and improving lives. And I hope others in positions of great wealth and privilege will step up in this moment too.”
The Gates Foundation has been working in countries to eradicate diseases such as malaria, improve education and fight poor sanitation. It was believed to be the 2nd largest charitable foundation in the world in 2020, owning $49.8 billion in assets and is supported by other wealthy benefactors such as billionaire investor Warren Buffett.
While the foundation has done good work, some have expressed concerns about the ethics of a private company wielding so much influence. The foundation is the World Health Organization’s largest private donor, second only to the United States with its yearly donation in 2018. Concerns about this became more acute after former President Donald Trump threatened to withdraw U.S. funding.
Gates was the world’s richest person from 1995 to 2010 and again from 2013 to 2017 per Forbes. Tesla CEO Elon Musk took the lead in 2022.