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Melinda French Gates once said ‘When we invest in women, we invest in a powerful source of global development.’  Melinda French Gates has changed the lives of countless people with her efforts and hard work. Let us know her life story.

A Brief About Melinda French Gates

Melinda French Gates is an American philanthropist. She co-founded the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the world’s largest private charitable foundation. She also serves on various boards and has been an investor in companies such as Facebook, DropBox, and TerraCycle.

Melinda and her husband Bill Gates set up the foundation together to help the world. Under the name of the foundation, she has worked on issues like climate change, education, access to contraceptives, and health care in developing countries.

Early Life

Melinda French was born and raised in Dallas, Texas. Her father Ray French worked as an aerospace engineer and her mother was a housewife. Melinda was a decent and calm child. She would sit in her class and study hard. She was interested in Math so after noticing her interest in the subject her teacher put her in an advanced class. 

That’s when she started taking interest in both Computers and Mathematics. She attended the prestigious Hockaday School before going to Stanford University. 

French had a very privileged upbringing, going to great schools and studying at Stanford and Harvard. Growing up as a white woman in an affluent family made her privileged upbringing not seem groundbreaking. However, it is worth noting that this does not represent the way many people grow up. Her experience is important because it tells us about her privilege, which can be a driving factor for some of the causes she has supported. She sees her mother as her biggest inspiration. 

Meeting Bill Gates 

Melinda has been married to Bill Gates since 1994 and they have three children together. Bill and Melinda met in 1987 when she began working for Microsoft. 

Bill and Melinda had their first date on July 8th, 1988, the day after his birthday. They shared an ice cream sundae and talked until they were kicked out of the restaurant. Initially, both were skeptical about their relationship. They didn’t know what to do with it. Once, Bill questioned Melinda about their relationship saying ‘Are we even serious about it?’ Both of them pondered over the thought and began to work on their relationship. 

When they were sure of it they decided to tie the knot. They married on January 1st, 1994 in a private ceremony. Together they had three children – a son and two daughters.

Once in an interview, Melinda said “People often ask what it’s like to be married to someone as famous as Bill Gates. They assume that our lives are all about limos and airplanes and famous people. But for me, it’s simply about family and the things we share.” 

Bill and Melinda Gates are two of the most powerful people in the world. They have changed the lives of many with their charitable work, made possible by their marriage.

Beginning of the Gates Foundation

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is an American private charitable foundation that promotes global development by reducing poverty and developing healthy minds, bodies, and societies. The foundation was established in 2000 after Microsoft’s founder Bill Gates stepped down from his day-to-day role because of a shift in his role at the company. It was formed by merging the two charitable foundations he created earlier: the William H. Gates Foundation and the Gates Learning Foundation.

Role in Managing Gates Foundation

Melinda Gates is helping people through the Gates foundation. She has devoted much of her career to women’s and girls’ rights around the world.

The mission of the Melinda & Bill Gates foundation is to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. The foundation serves people in more than 100 countries at the intersection of 3 areas: saving lives, giving the chance to live a healthy and productive way, and supporting communities as they put their own solutions into action. Melinda Gates is responsible for looking after the operations and putting the plan in motion. 

The Gates Foundation has invested more than $8 billion over 20 years in global health initiatives, and it’s had a measurable impact on the health of women and children. While announcing the collaboration with the Clinton Foundation Melinda had said ‘It’s important to me that all girls have the same opportunity to go to school, get an education and reach their potential no matter where they’re from. That’s why I’m proud that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has partnered with the No Ceilings Full Participation Report on Women and Girls. It’s a multi-year effort led by the Clinton Foundation to measure the progress women and girls have made in the last 20 years.’ 

Gates has also been vocal about the need for diversity in the tech industry and has worked to promote opportunities for women of color in the field.

Melinda French Gates ‘ Awards and Recognition

Melinda Gates has had a lot of accolades and tech is no exception. From her work with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Gates has been recognized for her efforts in public health. She received the 2018 AMA Lasker-Bloomberg Public Service Award for her contributions to global health and technology. Since 1999, Gates has been on numerous lists of the world’s most powerful people in Time magazine. She was also the second-most powerful woman in business in Fortune magazine.

She, in fact, is consistently one of the world’s most powerful women by Forbes magazine, topping their list in four consecutive years. 

Melinda French Gates’s philanthropy work and support have been an inspiration to many. Her dedication to helping others has made a significant impact on people’s lives, and she is an excellent role model for young women.

Authored by Aashna Chawla

Edited by Yara Fakhoury

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