Bill Gates appeared on the Colbert Report this past Wednesday night to talk about The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s recent successes in global health. Not least of all, due to the critical role of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, since 1990 the number of childhood deaths has been reduced by 5 million.
“It’s good news that you wouldn’t hear,” the founder of Microsoft said of the information he shared in his annual missive. “I share what I’ve been able to see in my travels to Africa and Asia.”
But after Gates shared his good news, Colbert in typical fashion commented that Gates is just not as “cool” as Steve Jobs was.
“People say ‘what a cool guy’ … Steve Jobs was. You’re out there saving the world, yet you don’t have the ‘cool factor,’” Colbert jabbed. “Did you ever want to be the cool guy?”
Gates didn’t seemed phased, responding, “He was brilliant. He had his own style. He had his own approach. Mine is, I guess…a little geekier than his was.”
Microsoft is celebrating 30 years of giving, a huge milestone for the Redmond-based software company. And at a press conference, the company also announced that it has given $1 billion in donations to more than 31,000 non-profit groups during that time.
“We stood up in times of crisis and helped the people in Japan, in Pakistan, in Haiti,” said CEO Steve Ballmer.
Needless to say, Microsoft has given time and money that has had a huge impact around the world.
It’s a culture of generosity that was started by co-founder Bill Gates, who credits his parents for setting an example of philanthropy and encouraged him to start a giving program.
Bill Gates and Warren Buffett are the most philanthropic folks on the planet. To date the men have given away $28 billion and $17.5 billion respectively.
And Buffett’s and Gates’ partnership in generosity is by now well-known. In 2006, Buffett pledged to donate 10 million shares of Berkshire Hathaway stock to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The gift, then valued around $31 billion, is given in annual increments of 5% of the remaining pledged shares. So far, more than $9.5 billion has been transferred—and largely given away.
One of Buffett’s few requirements is that each installment be spent within a year of receipt. So the 2011 payment of about $1.5 billion must be granted out in 2012. His other stipulations are that use of his gift must meet all legal requirements of charity and that Bill or Melinda must be alive and active in the foundation for the pledge to hold.
Buffett’s $1.25 billion contribution in 2009 accounted for slightly more than 50% of the just under $2.5 billion given by the foundation in 2010. So that year, by Forbes estimations, Buffett gave $751 million to global health and $157 million to education, while Gates gave $734 million and $154 million, correspondingly.
In total, Forbes estimates that Gates has given around $8.3 billion toward health and $4.6 billion toward education. Buffett’s health total is about $3.9 billon and his education number is around $1.1 billion.