Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Introduction

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is a US-based foundation established by Bill and Melinda Gates in 2000. Since 2006, the foundation also benefits from Warren Buffett’s support. Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. In developing countries, the foundation focuses on improving people’s health and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. Its approach to grant making emphasises collaboration, innovation, risk-taking and results.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the largest private foundation in the world, works with grantees and partner organisations across the globe to address critical health and development priorities – from infectious disease to agricultural development and financial services – to benefit the world’s poorest people. The foundation has five divisions including Global Health, Global Development, Global Growth and Opportunities, Global Policy and Advocacy, and US Program.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has been sharing its data on commitments and disbursements covering both grant making and programme-related investments since 2010. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation was the first foundation to share data with the OECD Development Co-operation Directorate.

Private development finance

In 2017, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation provided USD 3.7 billion in private development finance. Programme-related investments (shares in collective investment vehicles) amounted to USD 13.8 million (0.4%) of the foundation’s private development finance. The remainder consisted of standard grants and debt relief.

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In 2017, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation allocated USD 413.8 million (10.9%) of its total funding as core contributions to multilateral organisations, namely to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. In addition, the foundation channelled 20.5% of its bilateral funding to specific projects and programmes implemented by multilateral organisations (multi-bi/non-core contributions).

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In 2017, USD 1.0 billion (29.9%) of the foundation’s financing was channelled to/through civil society organisations (CSOs) and USD 1.1 billion (32.2%) to/through universities, colleges or other teaching institutions, research institutes or think tanks. Moreover, USD 273.8 million (8.1%) was channelled through other private sector entities, USD 209 million (6.2%) to/through networks and public-private partnerships, and USD 105.6 million (3.1%) through governments. See the methodological notes for further details on channels of delivery.

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In 2017, the foundation’s financing was primarily focused on Africa and Asia. USD 834.7 million (24.7%) was allocated to south of Sahara Africa and USD 513.7 million (15.2%) to South and Central Asia.

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In 2017, 26.1% of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s activities was concentrated on its top 10 recipients. Support to fragile contexts reached USD 745.4 million in 2017 (19.6%).

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In 2017, 11.9% of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s financing (USD 404.0 million) was allocated to the least developed countries (LDCs). Lower middle-income countries received the highest share in 2017 (20.2%), noting that 65.7% was unallocated by income group.

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In 2017, 82.2% of the foundation’s activities was allocated to social infrastructure and services, for a total of USD 3.6 billion, with a significant focus on health and population policies. Further, 11.2% (USD 487.9 million) was allocated to production sectors, particularly agriculture.

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USD 746.4 million of the foundation’s funding supported gender equality. In 2017, 17.7% of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s sector-allocable aid was estimated to contribute to gender equality and women’s empowerment. The foundation’s aid to population and reproductive health and government and civil society focused on gender equality.

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Note: The gender focus of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s grant-making and programme-related investments was estimated based on sectoral allocation and activity descriptions.

Additional resources

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation: https://www.gatesfoundation.org

Role of philanthropy in financing for development: www.oecd.org/development/financing-sustainable-development/development-finance-standards/beyond-oda-foundations.htm

OECD CRS database, Private philanthropy for development: https://stats.oecd.org/Index.aspx?DataSetCode=DV_DCD_PPFD

Reporting to the OECD since 2010.

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation