Bill, Melinda Gates Issue Annual Letter, Address Questions About Foundation’s Efforts, Trump Administration’s Policies, Foreign Aid Spending

Fast Company: Bill And Melinda Answer 10 Tough Questions About The Gates Foundation
“At the Gates Foundation, Melinda and Bill Gates command a $40 billion endowment aimed at improving health, and eradicating hunger and poverty in developing counties. To a lesser degree, the foundation also works to improve the U.S. educational system. On average, the organization doles out more than $4 billion in grants each year. Over the years, that sort of spending has raised questions from people both inside the sector and beyond. For the foundation’s annual letter this month, which is posted on GatesNotes, Bill’s personal blog, the power couple decided to answer 10 of the tougher ones they’ve encountered in recent years…” (Paynter, 2/13).

New York Times: Bill and Melinda Gates Tackle ‘Tough Questions’ and Trump
“For the past year, Bill and Melinda Gates have received the same question repeatedly while jetting around the world: How is President Trump affecting their work as two of the world’s top philanthropists? The president has rattled it in several ways, they answer. His policies have shaken up the field of family planning, they say, and his derogatory comments about African countries and Haiti have caused disbelief among people they work with outside the United States. … Mr. and Ms. Gates are badgered about Mr. Trump so often that they made the topic part of the annual letter they published early Tuesday, a digest the couple releases about the philanthropic activities of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. … This is the 10th annual letter the Gateses have published, which they’re marking by answering 10 ‘tough questions’ they frequently get. In addition to Mr. Trump, they address topics like why they team up with corporations and whether they’re imposing their values on other cultures…” (Wingfield, 2/13).

Washington Post: Bill and Melinda Gates take on tough questions about their giving
“…In the letter, and in a brief recent interview with The Washington Post, the duo discussed their effort to respond to some of the more frequent — and not always flattering — questions they get from people scrutinizing their work. … One of the challenges the Gateses face is not only addressing questions or concerns about the wide diversity of intractable global problems they do work on — from eradicating polio in Nigeria and the Middle East to reducing homelessness in the Pacific Northwest — but demands about the problems they don’t fund…” (McGregor, 2/13).

The Atlantic: ‘America First’ Is Straining Bill Gates’s Optimism
“Bill Gates isn’t a big fan of ‘America First.’ In a recent episode of The Atlantic Interview, he told Jeffrey Goldberg, the editor in chief of The Atlantic, ‘the long-term benefit of [nations] trusting each other, even beyond one or two terms of office, is a pretty gigantic thing.’ That’s not to say Gates is pessimistic about the future. His and Melinda Gates’s tenth annual letter, released Tuesday, is otherwise sunny in its global outlook. … But as Gates stressed to Goldberg, the modern world still faces serious threats, especially those that transcend geopolitical borders. ‘We have more connectivity working against us,’ he said. And because of this connectivity, Gates fears a new global pandemic. More spending on global health could avert such a crisis, but a dip in public-health spending could hasten catastrophe…” (Gutman, 2/13).

TIME: Melinda Gates: President Trump’s ‘Misguided’ Budget Shows U.S. Doesn’t Care About Women and Children
“President Trump on Monday released his latest budget request for the next fiscal year. The plan drew reactions from all over, including criticism from philanthropist Melinda Gates, who took issue with a ‘misguided’ approach to global health and poverty funding. Gates, whose work at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation aims to reduce health inequities around the developing world, said that Trump’s proposed cuts to international health programs leaves the U.S. vulnerable to health crises like rapidly-spreading pandemics. … Gates also argued that Trump’s budget, if passed in its current state, will harm women and children in need of family planning services…” (Jenkins, 2/12).

USA TODAY: Bill Gates’ dire warning: U.S. could lose its global leadership role under Trump
“Tech pioneer Bill Gates thinks the U.S. can keep its historically influential role as a global leader. But for a second year in a row, he cautioned that the nation risks losing its geopolitical clout if the Trump administration succeeds in slashing foreign aid, as proposed Monday in a new federal budget that prioritizes a jump in military spending. Last year, the White House tried to reduce foreign aid by one-third, but Congress did not approve the cuts. … Gates points out even his sizeable philanthropic spend is dwarfed by the tens of billions of dollars that countries, including the U.S. and United Kingdom, typically funnel to international programs…” (della Cava, 2/13).

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