Bill and Melinda Gates said Monday that they are divorcing but would keep working together at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, one of the largest charitable foundations in the world.
In identical tweets, the Microsoft co-founder and his wife said they had made the decision to end their marriage of 27 years.He tweeted, Over the last 27 years, we have raised three incredible children and built a foundation that works all over the world to enable all people to lead healthy, productive lives,” it read.
Gates foundation has spent billions fighting causes such as infectious diseases and encouraging vaccinations in children.The Gates along with investor Warren Buffett are behind the Giving Pledge, which calls on billionaires to commit to giving away the majority of their wealth to good causes.
Bill Gates, 65, is the fourth wealthiest person in the world, according to Forbes, and is worth $124bn (£89bn).He made his money through the firm he co-founded in the 1970s, Microsoft, the world’s biggest software company
In her 2019 memoir, “The Moment of Lift,” Melinda Gates wrote about her childhood, life and private struggles as the wife of a public icon and stay-at-home mom with three kids. She won Bill Gates’ heart after meeting at a work dinner, sharing a mutual love of puzzles and beating him at a math game.
She also detailed the ways they navigated imbalances in their marriage and parenting journey and noted how working together at the foundation made their relationship better.“Bill and I are equal partners,” Melinda Gates said in a 2019 interview with The Associated Press. “Men and women should be equal at work.”
David Callahan, founder of the Insider Philanthropy website and author of “The Givers: Wealth, Power, and Philanthropy in a New Gilded Age” says it’s too early to know how the divorce will affect the Gates foundation and the wider philanthropic community.
Although the couple say they will continue to work together at their foundation, Callahan suggests Melinda Gates could still pursue her own philanthropic work.“You can imagine two separate tracks where they’re both working together at the foundation, and each is pursuing their own independent philanthropy outside the foundation,” Callahan said.He said the possibility of Melinda Gates opening another philanthropic foundation would have a dramatic impact.
“Nobody knows what the terms are of their divorce agreement. But if Melinda Gates ends up with just some portion of that wealth and turns to creating her own foundation, it would be among one of the biggest foundations probably in America,” Callahan said.