I know it sounds like a weird statement to make, but it’s true. Bill Gates retired from Microsoft recently and is moving over to work full-time at his foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. They’re one of the largest charitable foundations in the world (if not the biggest) and have done some pretty unbelievable work to date.
Everyone and their mother seems to be vying to support Gates and the foundation, and they’ve garnered some insanely high profile supporters. The best known is Warren Buffet. The Oracle of Omaha decided a couple of years ago to give nearly $33 billion of his own money to the foundation. That’s pretty much his whole fortune, and he did so because he truly seems to believe in the foundation. The best part about this is that the terms of the donation state that the money donated must be spent in that same year. So that works out to something like $1.5 billion a year, according to CNN.
The biggest reason why people seem drawn to this foundation is that they are as careful running the foundation as they would be a business. Not that they are looking for profit, but they are absolutely vicious when it comes to efficiency. There’s no chance of finding the same, bloated, NGO attitude that plagues some of the bigger non-profits. And as far as the programs that the Gates’ foundation supports, aside from a few huge contributions, much of the money finds its way to very small programs.
Gizmodo, a site not normally known for social commentary, actually has a pretty good take on just why the foundation kickas ass.
If you’re looking at how to help, you could always give directly to the foundation. Or, if you’re loaded, just do your best to bid up the share price of Berkshire Hathaway stock. That’s how Buffet is donating his earnings, so the higher the share price, the larger the gift.