The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (B&MGF or the Gates Foundation), formed in 1994, is the largest transparently operated private foundation in the world, founded by Bill and Melinda Gates.
The primary aims of the foundation are, globally, to enhance healthcare and reduce extreme poverty, and in America, to expand educational opportunities and access to information technology. The foundation, based in Seattle, Washington, is controlled by its three trustees: Bill Gates, Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett. In 2007 its founders were ranked as the second most generous philanthropists in America.
In October 2006 the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation was split into two entities: the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Trust, which manages the endowment assets and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which conducts all operations and grant-making work, and it is the entity from which all grants are made.
To maintain its status as a charitable foundation, the Gates Foundation must donate at least 5% of its assets each year. Thus the donations from the foundation each year would amount to over US$1.5 billion at a minimum. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will give hundreds of millions of dollars in the next few years to programs aimed at encouraging saving by the world's poor.
The Foundation's Special Initiatives include responses to catastrophes as well as learning grants, which are used to experiment with new areas of giving. Currently, the Foundation is exploring water, hygiene and sanitation as a new focus within Global Development.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation believes every student in the United States deserves the chance to go to college, however, millions of students can't afford the tuition. It has been estimated that between 2006 and 2016, nearly 4.5 million students won't pursue college degrees because their families can't afford the high costs of higher education. Because of this the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation are funding scholarships to expand access to college for low-income and minority students and to encourage public service and leadership in addition to creating programs in lower performing schools designed to help low-income students get ready to enter, and then succeed in, college. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation scholarship programs.
Over the last decade, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has worked with public libraries across the country to provide Americans with free, reliable access to computers and the Internet. Millions of people rely on this access to do research projects for school and work, find a job, get government information, and keep in touch with family and friends. The Gates Foundation are committed to working with the NTIA and public libraries to connect all people with opportunities and knowledge and enable them to lead productive lives. Most recently, the foundation gave a $12.2-million grant to the Southeastern Library Network (SOLINET) to assist libraries in Louisiana and Mississippi on the Gulf Coast, many of which were damaged or destroyed by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Each year an award of up to US$1 million is given to a public library or similar organization outside the United States that has an innovative program offering the public free access to information technology.
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