Updated May 13, 2024 - Business

Melinda French Gates resigns from Gates Foundation

Melinda Gates

Melinda Gates in Paris, 2021. Photo by Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images

Melinda French Gates said Monday she was stepping down from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which she co-founded with her ex-husband Bill Gates.

Why it matters: Melinda French Gates has played a significant role in the size and reach of the foundation. She added that she'll depart with $12.5 billion to commit to programs for women and children.

Zoom in: She said in a statement that the decision to leave was not taken lightly and that she has full confidence in CEO Mark Suzman and his leadership team.

  • "The time is right for me to move forward into the next chapter of my philanthropy," Gates said.

Catch up quick: The foundation sprung from the billions of dollars Bill Gates earned as one of Microsoft's co-founders and CEO.

  • The couple, who met in 1987, launched the nonprofit in 2000. It has since ballooned to more than 2,000 employees, with grants made to communities and businesses all around the world.
  • The foundation funded grantees in 48 states and the District of Columbia last year, in addition to funding work in 135 countries.
  • Warren Buffett has given at least $39.3 billion to the foundation.

Between the lines: Melinda and Bill finalized their divorce 2021.

  • In interviews, Melinda has said she and Bill have a working relationship and she had previously said that she planned to remain at the foundation.
  • Gates said her last day at the organization will be June 7.

What he's saying: In a separate statement, Bill Gates praised Melinda for her impact at the foundation and said that he remains fully committed to the non-profit.

  • "I am sorry to see Melinda leave, but I am sure she will have a huge impact in her future philanthropic work," he said.

Our thought bubble: With its newly installed board of trustees firmly in place, the work of the Gates Foundation is likely to continue largely uninterrupted.

  • Meanwhile, with that $12.5 billion, Melinda Gates has overnight become a major force in her own right in the world of institutional philanthropy.

Editor's note: This story was updated to include additional details about Melinda French Gates and the Foundation, plus Bill Gates' statement.

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