Twelve years after his first ‘giveaway’ pledge, Microsoft founder and world’s fifth-richest man Bill Gates has yet again committed to donate a large percentage of his personal fortune, stating that he had an ‘obligation’ to give back to society. 

Gates’ current fortune stands at $118 billion, which has just fallen to $102 billion after donating $20 billion or just over 16% of his total wealth. The money went directly to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the charitable trust he set up with his ex-wife back in 2000, when he was by far the world’s richest man – a title the tech titan attained in 1995. 

Apart from highlighting the foundation’s main points of focus, Gates also took a moment to share the foundation’s major contributions, most of which come from Bill and Melinda, but also largely from investing genius and long-time friend, Warren Buffet. 

Currently, the foundation spends $6 billion per year on its philanthropic programmes. Gates has said that the foundation will boost these numbers by 50% to $9 billion by 2026, aiming to combat global setbacks such as the Covid pandemic, Russian invasion of Ukraine, and the looming threat of climate crises. Gates also noted how contemporary times have left many feeling ‘discouraged’ – while also attacking the recent Roe vs. Wade controversy in America: 

Gates, however, says that he’s still optimistic – that the world still has the chance to handle its problems and progress into the decades ahead. 

Not everyone shares Gates’ bright vision of the future and his organization, too, though. Critics have pointed out that a private endeavour ought to not wield such immense influence – the foundation holds nearly $50 billion in assets, major investor backing, and controls much of the global flow of charity funds. 

That said, the foundation has indeed helped fund and progress everything from education to health and technology across the world – making Gates one of the most influential people in human history, especially considering his work with Microsoft. 

“I have an obligation to return my resources to society in ways that have the greatest impact for reducing suffering and improving lives,” surmises Gates. 

“And I hope others in positions of great wealth and privilege will step up in this moment too.” 

(Featured Image Credits: @BillGates/Twitter)