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Supporting Foreign Aid Programs

In this New York Times opinion piece, Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, writes that people’s willingness to donate billions of dollars for humanitarian relief efforts “is a testament to human beings’ generosity. But that fact of our generosity also explains why I am so frustrated by the increasing opposition in many rich countries to foreign aid.” Gates examines the underlying reasons keeping people “from supporting government investment to alleviate extreme suffering” and counters “the argument that aid doesn’t work even when it gets to its intended recipients” by providing a number of examples of advancements made in global health in recent years “due in large part to aid-funded programs.”

“My hope is that we can convert some of the generosity that goes into humanitarian relief into stronger support for foreign aid programs,” Gates writes, concluding, “I am proud to live in a world where a stranger’s suffering matters. Yet foreign aid, the best way to address that suffering, has a growing legion of critics. That is a contradiction we must remedy, and the best way to do it is to tell the truth about aid” (1/26).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.