Bill and Melinda Gates confirm endowment of the nation's second largest philanthropic trust on August 22, 1999.

  • By Walt Crowley
  • Posted 12/26/2000
  • Essay 2906
On August 22, 1999, after weeks of rumors, Bill and Melinda Gates officially confirm their intention to reorganize and expand their philanthropic activities as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The new foundation supersedes the existing William H. Gates Foundation and Gates Learning Foundation. With an initial endowment of up to $17 billion, the new Foundation is the nation's second largest. It will soon become the richest with an additional $5 billion gift on January 24, 2000.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation builds on and consolidates previous family and corporate philanthropic efforts established to promote public health and disease control in the Third World, expand library access to new information technology, and enhance public education. The Foundation is technically a philanthropic trust guided by Microsoft co-founder William H. "Bill" Gates III (b. 1955) and his wife Melinda (French) Gates (b. 1965), and directed by his father, William H. Gates II (b. 1927) and former Microsoft executive Patty Stonesifer (b. 1957).

Sources: William H. Gates Foundation 1998 Annual Report; Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation press releases, 1999-2000; The Seattle Times, May 1, 1996; Ibid., June 23, 1997; Ibid., December 2, 1998; Ibid., July 20, 1998; Ibid., August 1, 1998; Ibid., August 23, 1998; Ibid., September 9, 1999; Ibid., September 26, 1999; Ibid., October 29, 1999; Ibid., November 22, 1999; Ibid., November 24, 1999; Ibid., December 20, 1999; Chronicle of Philanthropy, February 25, 1999; The New York Times Magazine, April 16, 2000; Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Website, (

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