On Twitter Monday Bill Gates, co-founder and former CEO of Microsoft, and his partner, Melinda French Gates, said they would break up after 27 years. They will continue to collaborate closely on the philanthropy of education, gender equity, and healthcare.
“We made the decision to stop our marriage after a great deal of thinking and a great deal of work on our relationship,” Bill and Melinda Gates wrote in a letter that Bill Gates tweeted.
“Over the last 27 years, we have raised three incredible children and built a foundation that works all over the world to enable all people to lead healthy, productive lives. We continue to share a belief in that mission and will continue our work together at the foundation, but we no longer believe we can grow together as a couple in this next phase of our lives. We ask for space and privacy for our family as we begin to navigate this new life.”
Bill Gates was once the wealthiest individual in the world and his fortune is valued at well over 100 billion dollars. How the couple settles their property and how they have some effect on the foundation is closely monitored, especially after another high-profile Seattle billionaire couple recently ended their marriage.
Jeff Bezos and MacKenzie Bezos, CEO of Amazon, completed their divorce in 2019. Since acquiring a 4% stake in Amazon, MacKenzie Scott has remarried since, and works on her own philanthropy, worth over $36 billion.
The Gateses married in Hawaii in 1994. They met after she started working as a product manager at Microsoft in 1987.
Melinda Gates wrote in her 2019 book, “The Moment of Lifting,” about her upbringing, lives, and private challenges as a wife of a national figure and a home-staying mom with three children. After a business dinner, she captured Bill Gates’ heart, expressing a shared passion for puzzles and beating him at a math game.
She also explained how they navigated imbalances in their marriage trip and how they improved their friendship with each other.
“I and Bill are equal partners,” Melinda Gates told The Associated Press in 2019. “Men and women at work should be equal.”
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, headquartered in Seattle, is the world’s most prominent private foundation, with around $50 billion worth of funding. Since 2000, it has concentrated on sustainable health and growth and US education topics.
Though the two numbers are national, Melinda Gates has become more and more a champion of women and children. The former Engineering sector manager started its private funding and incubation company Pivotal Ventures in 2015 and recently joined with Scott to meet a major equity challenge.
David Callahan, founder of the website of Insider Philanthropy and author of “The Givers: Wealth, Power, and Philanthropy in a New Gilded Age,” has said that it is too early to determine how divorce is going to influence the foundation and the broader philanthropic world.
While the pair say that they will work together, Callahan hints that Melinda Gates might also seek her own philanthropy.
“You can envision two different paths, where they work together at the foundation and each pursues its own individual philanthropy outside the foundation,” said Callahan.
He said that it would have a drastic effect for Melinda Gates to start another philanthropic foundation.
“Nobody knows what their divorce deal terms are. But if Melinda Gates ends up with just some of the money and turns to making her own base, it certainly will be one of America’s greatest foundations,” said Callahan.
Bill Gates was a public sponsor of the foundation’s COVID-19 grants and lobbying efforts and was a strong supporter of vaccine manufacturers’ intellectual property rights. Whereas the technology symbol states that preserving the recipes of the shots guarantees research and development benefits, analysts argue the mindset impedes drug companies’ profit supply.
Bill Gates announced last year he was leaving the Microsoft board to concentrate on philanthropy.
He was Chief Executive Officer at Microsoft until 2000 and has since steadily reduced his participation in the business he founded in 1975 with Paul Allen. He left Microsoft’s day-to-day job in 2008 and served as Chief Executive Officer until 2014.
Also Read: Buffett’s Moves During Pandemic