Organization Spotlight ~ Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
Optimism, collaboration, rigor and innovation are the four values that come together to define the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation‘s approach to philanthropy as well as how they direct their “strategies” and grant making.
Co-chairs Bill and Melinda Gates, who describe themselves as optimists, have created a foundation that focuses on a select “few issues” rather than many as part of their efforts to have “a great impact”. Collaborating with partners around the world, in order to reach people on a broader scale, they are working to address issues such as “extreme poverty and health in developing countries” and the “failures of America’s education system”.
It is the belief of the Gates Foundation that these issues in particular create the largest barriers as people seek to “make the most of their lives”.
The Gates Foundation is committed to improving lives. They understand that true success can take years and decades to occur as opposed to days and months and they are willing to put in the amount of work and time necessary to see results. Taking on the role of “catalysts for change”, they state that they are “motivated to confront problems that others consider impossible to solve”.
The Gates Foundation is tackling some of the world’s most challenging issues and they understand that in doing so there is some level of risk involved. Their approach to handling this risk is simple – embrace it.
They “embrace risk and learn from failure”, helping others to avoid the same pitfalls in the future as they work to come up with more innovative ideas.
In his 2012 Annual letter Bill Gates eloquently stated, “When innovators work on urgent problems and deliver solutions to people in need, the results can be magical.”
The core message that seems to be fueling the work done by Bill, Melinda and the rest of the Gates Foundation and their partners is that “All lives have equal value”. Knowing the great value each human life holds regardless of background, socio-economic status, health, or education, they are taking risks, learning from them, making progress and changing lives. As for the results, they are magical indeed!