You don't have to be one of the world's richest men or know one to make a difference with your charitable gifts -- but it helps. Established by the chairman of Microsoft Corporation and his wife, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works in developing countries to improve health and reduce poverty, and in the US to support education and libraries nationwide and children and families in the Pacific Northwest. With an endowment of about $33.5 billion, the foundation is the largest in the US, distributing more than $26 billion in total grants since 1994. Investor Warren Buffett plans to give the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation about $30 billion worth of Berkshire Hathaway stock in installments.
Based in Seattle, Washington, the foundation has an additional East Coast Office – Washington, D.C; India Office – Delhi, India; China Office – Beijing, China; and Europe Office – London, UK. The foundation supports grantees in all 50 states and Washington, DC. Internationally, it support work in more than 100 countries.
The foundation announced that it would give away all of its assets within 50 years. Bill Gates previously had said he would like to give away most of his fortune while he is still living, and he is scaling back his duties at Microsoft to spend more time at the foundation.