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Melinda French Gates steps down from Gates Foundation, retains $12.5 billion for additional philanthropy

The Gates Foundation has, over three decades, made $77.6 billion in charitable contributions, making it one of the world's largest donor organizations.
Melinda Gates attends the Clooney Foundation for Justice's 2023 Albie Awards
Melinda French Gates.Taylor Hill / WireImage

Melinda French Gates is stepping down from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, three years after announcing her separation from Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates.

In a statement posted on her Instagram account, she said that as part of her agreement to step down from the foundation, she will retain $12.5 billion that she plans to put toward her ongoing work supporting women and families.

“This is not a decision I came to lightly,” French Gates wrote. “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.”

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

Now worth $75.2 billion, the Gates Foundation has over the course of its three-decade lifespan made $77.6 billion worth of grant payments, making it one of the largest donor organizations in the world, with a focus on health and developmental goals. It is one of the largest contributors to the World Health Organization, and played a key role in efforts to address the Covid pandemic.

In 2015, French Gates founded Pivotal Ventures, an initiative focused on advancing opportunities for women and minorities in the United States, especially in technology.

French Gates, 59, shares three children with Bill Gates. The couple divorced in August 2021.

Here is her statement in full: