Melinda Gates to Leave Gates Foundation, Keeps $12.5B for Her Work

By: ScreenGawk Staff | Last updated: May 23, 2024

Nearly three years after Melinda and Bill Gates shocked the world with the announcement of their divorce, Melinda French Gates has just declared that she is now separating from her ex-husband in yet another way. 

Melinda will be leaving the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, commonly known as the Gates Foundation, effective almost immediately. However, she is taking $12.5 billion with her to continue her philanthropic work. 

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation was founded by none other than Bill and Melinda Gates in 2000 as a private non-profit organization dedicated to funding and assisting in charitable outreach programs all around the world. 

A photograph of Bill and Melinda Gates laughing in 1997

Source: The Gates Foundation

In 1987, Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft, was already a billionaire and well on his way to living the life of his dreams. Then he met Melinda, and the two married in 1994. Only six years later, they decided they wanted to spend their hard-earned fortune helping those in need, and so the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation was born. 

24 Years of Philanthropy

Over the past 24 years, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has raised and spent tens of billions of dollars on its many projects in almost every country on Earth. 

A pink background with photographs of Bill and Melinda Gates along with the text “Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation”

Source: @How It Happened/YouTube

From the Middle East to East Asia, Europe, Africa, China and North America, this global organization has touched virtually every corner of the planet. 

Philanthropic Projects by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation offers assistance to regions in need of agricultural development, family planning, water sanitation and hygiene, women’s health and medical care. 

A photograph of Bill and Melinda Gates working at one of their foundation’s agricultural programs

Source: The Gates Foundation

And they’ve been able to offer this wide variety of services in dozens of countries thanks to their essentially never-ending budget.

How Much Is the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Worth?

In 2023 alone, $7.7 billion was donated to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation from around the world. The majority of these donations have come from some of the world’s wealthiest people, such as Warren Buffett. In fact, Buffet has given exactly $39.3 billion to the organization since 2006. 

Photograph of Warren Buffet from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation website

Source: The Gates Foundation

Additionally, Bill and Melinda have donated $59.5 billion of their personal fortune since the foundation’s inception in 2000. Even after spending tens of billions of dollars over the past two and a half decades, the foundation still has at least $33.5 billion in assets

Bill and Melinda Gates Announced Their Divorce in 2021

With their philanthropic work, business success and status as the richest couple in the world, Bill and Melinda Gates have always been wildly famous and continuously in the public eye. 

Close-up photograph of Bill Gates looking upset/Photograph of Melinda Gates during an interview

Source: @LuxuryZone/YouTube/@CBS News/YouTube

However, their marriage was mostly free of drama and scandal until 2021, when they surprised everyone by announcing their divorce. When they told the world, Bill and Melinda also noted that they planned to continue working at the foundation together, though they said that it was a short-term experiment to find out if they could work together. 


Bill and Melinda Said They’d Work Together for Exactly Two Years

When the divorce was finalized in August 2021, Bill and Melinda said they would work together for the next two years to determine whether they could successfully continue in a working relationship even after separating. 

A photograph from 2009 of Bill and Melinda Gates walking together outside

Source: Wikipedia

At the time, the foundation’s CEO, Mark Suzman, told CNN, “If after two years either decides they cannot continue to work together as co-chairs, French Gates will resign her position as co-chair and trustee.”


The Two Years Is Up, and Melinda Is Leaving

Now, almost two years to the day later, Melinda has announced that she will, in fact, be leaving the foundation. She wrote on her Instagram, “After careful thought and reflection, I have decided to resign from my role as co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. My last day of work at the foundation will be June 7th.”

A screenshot of Melinda Gates’ Instagram post announcing her resignation from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Source: @melindafrenchgates/Instagram

She continued, “This is not a decision I came to lightly. I am immensely proud of the foundation that Bill and I built together. … I am taking this step with full confidence that the foundation is in strong shape.”


Bill Gates Said He’s 'Sorry to See Melinda Leave'

After Melinda posted this announcement, Bill Gates shared her post on his X page and wrote, “I want to thank Melinda for her critical contributions to the Foundation from its very beginning. As a co-founder and co-chair Melinda has been instrumental in shaping our strategies and initiatives, significantly impacting global health and gender equality.”

A still of Bill Gates talking to the camera during a video against a purple background

Source: @BillGates/YouTube

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


Melinda Is Excited for the Future

Melinda has made no comment of ill-will against her husband either and did not cite frustrations of working with her ex-husband as a reason for her resignation. Instead, she claims that the sole reason for her departure is to focus on other projects, specifically, women’s rights

Melinda Gates smiles as she sits with those she helped through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Source: The Gates Foundation

In an email to the foundation’s employees, Suzman wrote that Melinda “has new ideas about the role she wants to play in improving the lives of women and families in the U.S. and around the world.”


Melinda Gates Is Taking $12.5 Billion With Her

In her Instagram post, Melinda Gates wrote, “I will have an additional $12.5 billion to commit to my work on behalf of women and families. I’ll be sharing more about what that will look like in the future.”

The logo for Melinda Gates’ organization Pivotal Ventures

Source: @Pivitol Ventures/LinkedIn

It’s highly likely that she will use that money in her existing organization, Pivotal Ventures, which she founded independently in 2015. Pivotal Ventures focuses on expanding and accelerating equality in the United States, increasing opportunities for women and minorities, especially in the tech industry. 


The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Officially Has a New Name

It seems that, as with Bill and Melinda Gates’ entire relationship, everything ended amicably in both their personal and professional lives.

The new logo for the Gates Foundation in black and white

Source: @GatesFoundation/Facebook

However, Melinda’s name is being taken off the foundation, but so is Bill’s. According to Mark Suzman, “[They] will be changing [the] name to the Gates Foundation.”