Thursday, March 6, 2008
Philanthropy is nothing new but we seem to be entering an era where it is occurring at a scale we haven't seen before. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation was only established in 2000 and is the largest charitable foundation the world has ever seen. The value of the endowment was doubled by a donation by Warren Buffet, the world's richest man, in 2006. Buffet, known for his frugality, uncanny investment sense and philanthropy plans to give virtually his entire $62 billion fortune to charity before he dies. Instead of creating a new foundation he has, very wisely in my opinion, decided to funnel the money through existing foundations - primarily the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation.
At their website you can read about their programs against malaria, details from the Malaria forum they sponsored in October 2007, and details of the ongoing search for a Malaria vaccine.
As someone who has cursed Bill Gates numerous times in the long and buggy road from MS-DOS (fond memories) to Windows 1.0 (I never had a machine powerful enough to run it!) to Windows 95 (I remember using this one for quite a long time) to Windows 98 (2nd edition is still my favorite), to Windows 2000 (what a piece of crap!) to Windows XP (well it was better than 2000) to Vista (so far I'm underwhelmed) I am delighted that some of the money I have overspent on lousy software packages and operating systems (personal opinion so not libelous) is going to do some good.