Melinda French Gates Donating Billions to ‘Even the Match’


In an op-ed published in the New York Times on Tuesday, Melinda French Gates gave a glimpse into the next stage of her philanthropic efforts.

She is departing the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation next week, which she co-founded in 2000, and announced that she is giving $1 billion over the next two years to organizations advocating for women.

“Set your own agenda, or someone else will set it for you,” French Gates stated as a reason for leaving the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and spearheading new efforts.

Related: Melinda French Gates Resigns as Co-Chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

“Because I have been given this extraordinary opportunity, I am determined to do everything I can to seize it and to set an agenda that helps other women and girls set theirs, too,” French Gates wrote.

French Gates has already started sending new grants through her organization, Pivotal, as part of the $1 billion committed. She also created a 12-person group consisting of top minds in women’s health to distribute a $20 million fund to women’s causes as they see fit.

One group member, Jacinda Ardern, was the former prime minister of New Zealand while another, Allyson Felix, is the most decorated track and field athlete in history.

American philanthropist Melinda French Gates. (Photo by Mustafa Yalcin/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

On Tuesday, The 19th, an independent, nonprofit newsroom dedicated to gender, politics, and policy reporting, shared that it received a three-year, multi-million dollar grant from Pivotal.

A separate effort is a $250 million initiative focused on women’s mental and physical health that French Gates plans to introduce in the fall.

“For too long, a lack of money has forced organizations fighting for women’s rights into a defensive posture while the enemies of progress play offense,” French Gates wrote. “I want to help even the match.”

The global fund will focus on grassroots organizations with personal ties to the issues and work with groups including the National Women’s Law Center, the National Domestic Workers Alliance, and the Center for Reproductive Rights.

French Gates has been an advocate for women’s health for decades. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation pledged $200 million last year to fund healthcare.

Read: Bill Gates Recommends These Books for Your Summer Reading List

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