Melinda French Gates Walks Away From Co-Chair of Gates Foundation For New Future Direction

Bill Gates' former wife, Melinda French Gates, said on Monday that she would step down as co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation effective next month.

It is a "critical moment" to defend and expand women's rights globally, according to French Gates, who made this comment on X. Nearly three years have passed since the Gates made their divorce public.

Because of her resignation and the terms of the Gates' previous divorce, she claimed to have "an additional $12.5 billion to commit to my work on behalf of women and families." May 2021 saw the couple's divorce.

"I am sorry to see Melinda leave, but I am sure she will have a huge impact in her future philanthropic work," added Bill Gates in a separate statement.

The Gates Foundation has concentrated its efforts on global health and anti-poverty programs, including anti-malaria campaigns in Africa and significant investments in South Asia and the Indian subcontinent.

French Gates has also invested a great deal of time and resources in global efforts to promote gender equality. She established Pivotal Ventures in 2015, a different organization from the Gates Foundation, with the goal of lowering obstacles to opportunity and access for women and minorities in the United States.

Following The New York Times' exposé on the Microsoft co-founder's contact with notorious billionaire and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, Gates and French Gates filed for divorce in 2021. Following initial reports of Gates' contact with Epstein, The Wall Street Journal had stated that French Gates started speaking with divorce attorneys in 2019.

In recent decades, the Gates Foundation has emerged as one of the most influential private charitable organizations globally. Gates gave his family business Cascade and the majority of his wealth to the Gates Foundation.

French Gates entirely dissociates her charitable endeavors from those of her ex-husband, Jeff Bezos, as does Mackenzie Scott, the ex-wife of the co-founder of Amazon.

Here is French Gates’ full statement:

After careful thought and reflection, I have decided to resign from my role as co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. My last day of work at the foundation will be June 7th.

This is not a decision I came to lightly. I am immensely proud of the foundation that Bill and I built together and of the extraordinary work it is doing to address inequities around the world. I care deeply about the foundation team, our partners around the world, and everyone who is touched by its work.

I am taking this step with full confidence that the foundation is in strong shape, with its extremely capable CEO Mark Suzman, the Executive Leadership Team, and an experienced board of trustees in place to ensure all its important work continues. The time is right for me to move forward into the next chapter of my philanthropy.

This is a critical moment for women and girls in the U.S. and around the world -- and those fighting to protect and advance equality are in urgent need of support. Under the terms of my agreement with Bill, in leaving the foundation, I will have an additional $12.5 billion to commit to my work on behalf of women and families. I’ll be sharing more about what that will look like in the near future.


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