Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Role in Society

Introduction

People become heroes by giving their time and money to the community in a selfless manner. Heroes give beyond people’s expectation, as they aim at enhancing the lives of the surrounding community. Their contributions are always recognized, and the heroes become models that people would want to imitate at some point of their lives (Byrne et al. 82).

Bill Gates is one of the heroes who have challenged some of the wealthiest people in the world. Gates is a caring tycoon, who has given a great percentage of his wealth to charitable organizations for the sake of the unfortunate human beings. Although he has enough money to tour the world and enjoy the rest of his life, Bill Gates spends his time and money caring for other people. Surely, Gates is such a prominent social justice individual, who has inspired me throughout my lifetime. This paper will outline the various things that Bill Gates has done in helping the unprivileged people, and in improving education in the United States.

Bill Gates’ history

Bill Gates is a philanthropist American, who was born in 1955. Computer programming was a job that Bill Gates loved, and fortunately, his dream became true after occupying himself with computer programming at a tender age. He played a key role in founding the commonest software company, Microsoft, and for several years, he was the chairperson and Chief Executive Officer of the company (Lenkowsky 16). In 1990, Microsoft released the first version of windows operating systems, and within no time, the operating system became the best seller in the market.

Bill Gates’ wealth is valued at about 56 billion dollars, and although he is among the richest people in the world, he has a unique trait of generosity. From one time to another, he requests other billionaires to be generous enough to commit at least half of their wealth to help the unprivileged people and contribute to charity organizations.

The humble man denies himself a luxurious lifestyle; instead of driving big cars and going for vacations to enjoy his hard-earned money, he goes to work daily. Bill Gates mainly focuses on issues that other people in the society ignore. Although people thought that education in the United States was up to standard, Gates identified a gap. To fill the gap, Bill Gates and his wife established the Gates and Melinda Foundation to address various educational gaps and other societal needs across the globe.

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (Gates Foundation)

Bill Gates and his wife established the famous Gates Foundation in 2000. The private foundation aims at enhancing healthcare and reducing poverty in the global environment (Gates 6). Average Americans are able to become beneficiaries of the educational and technological oriented program. Unlike other private organizations that may have irresponsible executives, the Gates Foundation has its operations administered in the most transparent manner.

Educational improvements in the United States

Education is a unique experience for every student since the grasping capacity of every student is different. Latinos and African Americans are examples of disadvantaged people, who have a lower ability to grasp things as compared to pure Americans. The inappropriate learning environments contribute to their inability to obtain maximum benefits from their teachers. Fortunately, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (B&MGF) is doing some excellent job in addressing the problem.

The foundation has invested millions of dollars to fund projects that aim at opening small schools. The small schools play a great role in reducing the student-to-teacher ratio, thus, students benefit through the increased attention from teachers (Hill 46). The program also facilitates the division of overtly populated schools. The schools-within-a-school program is common in high schools, and the education sector is experiencing positive results from the program.

In the contemporary world, computing and information science is the core item that drives education. Learners across the globe are finding Microsoft software to be indispensable. Every computer user has to install an operating system, where, without the operating system, a computer becomes useless. Microsoft office is the commonest program that students across the world use to do their assignments.

Business people, companies, and all computer users need Microsoft programs from one time to another. Other than the production of software, Bill Gates has employed major efforts to ensure that students are able to access computer education with ease. Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation constantly funds higher learning education institutions to construct information science buildings. Cornell University was lucky enough to be one of the beneficiaries of the Gates Foundation. The university received about $60 million to construct an information science building and it named the building after the funders.

In January 2014, the building was opened, and the university students cannot fail to testify their gratitude to the Gates Foundation. Carnegie Mellon University also received $20 million to construct the Gates Centre for Computer sciences. The Gates Tower in Massachusetts Institute of Technology is yet another information technology centre that the Gates Foundation funded. These are just but a few of the eloquent information centers that Bill Gates has facilitated to demonstrate his noble trait. The huge amounts of grants that the Gates offer to learning institutions are inspirations that those who give shall receive a double portion. Interestingly, in spite of the huge donations, Bill Gates still ranks high in the list of the world’s richest people.

Another personal educational philosophy is that students who encounter various challenges and frustrations have difficulties in achieving their dreams. Poverty is one of the greatest challenges that students from unprivileged families encounter. The poor students are obligated to take care of various life responsibilities, and at the same time concentrate in their education. Being responsible for one’s survival and concentrating in class at the same time is quite challenging. Bill Gates has identified the poverty problem, and he has various ways of addressing the needs of the poor.

Through the D.C. Achievers Scholarships, Bill Gates is able to send poor students to colleges. In 2007, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation spent $122 million to sponsor poor Columbian students to go to college. Through the Gates Cambridge Scholarships, Gates is able to support brilliant students to pursue the courses of their choice in Cambridge University. Essentially, more than one hundred students win the Gates Cambridge Scholarships every year. Bill Gates does not forget the minority students, as the Gates Millennium Scholars comprises of high achieving minority students. Gates scholarship programs are infinite; therefore, poor and brilliant students can always win scholarships in one of the programs.

Bill Gates’ donations to Africa

Bill Gates and his wife treasure a hand that gives back to the community. The most insinuating truth about Bill Gates is that he took time to think about those people who were not lucky to be born in a wealthy nation like him. Bill Gates understood that the challenges that the Africans encounter surpass those that the citizens of America encounter. Indeed, a great percentage of Africans survive on less than a dollar every day. The concern about helpless people is what triggered him to figure out how he could help the Africans using his wealth. Bill Gates took his time to make a thorough decision.

Finally, he found out that poor health, hunger, and poor technological infrastructure were the core problems that Africans encountered. Therefore, Bill Gates resolved to work towards improving the health, agriculture, and innovation infrastructure in Africa through the Gates Foundation. He discovered that the most challenging thing about helping Africans is finding reliable partners on the ground. Bill and his wife became very strict with the projects that they fund in Africa.

They fund innovative ideas that can improve farming and technology. Bill Gates donated $25.5 million to Heifer International, a project that aims at linking farmers, processors, distributors, and consumers. The project works towards protecting the farmers from molestation and improving food security in East Africa. Currently, Gates Foundation’s efforts in supporting agriculture have proved to offer the greatest opportunity in Africa. New farming technologies are on the rise in Africa, and in the near future, millions of farmers in Africa will be able to earn a better living through agriculture.

While sanitation would appear to be an unnecessary concern, it has a direct relationship with health concerns. More than half of the population in Africa does not use toilets. The poor sanitation in overtly populated slums increases the possibility of spreading diseases due to poor sanitation. Moreover, Bill and Melinda learned that millions of African children were dying because of the lack of simple medical treatments. Polio and smallpox were some of the diseases to eliminate through simple vaccinations.

Gates realized that Africans were at a high risk of contracting malaria, tuberculosis, and AIDS. The Bill and Melinda Foundation donated $957 million to the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) group that works towards increasing access to immunization in poor countries. Luckily, their donations were not in vain, as the prevalence of diseases as polio and measles reduced significantly in Africa. The World Child Health Care program also gives tributes to Bill Gates for his continued support in offering funds to support the program that vaccinates children against poverty related illnesses.

In their tour to Africa in 1993, Bill and Melinda discovered that Africa lagged behind in terms of technology. The life saving and life-enhancing technologies were absent in Africa, thus, millions of people would die because of preventable illnesses. At that point, Bill Gates resolved to find ways to enhance science and technology in African to address some of the challenges in Africa. His efforts bore fruits, as healthcare workers are now veterans in using the life saving technologies. The well-trained health workers are handling their role professionally, and at least 85% of infants in Africa are out of the threats of unnecessary deaths.

Currently, health care professionals have almost eradicated polio while cases associated with malaria have dropped by 50%. Bill Gates donated $25 million to International AIDS Vaccine Initiative to facilitate the development of safe and effective HIV vaccines globally. Although there are about 33 million people living with the HIV, more than 5 million people have access to antiretroviral drugs. This is a great accomplishment, and the foundation is still employing efforts to facilitate the prevention of the spread of the HIV.

The Gates Foundation also plays a critical role in funding ideas that would help students and teachers to improve their learning activities. Bill Gates donated $1.7 million to the UN Population Fund for developing states to facilitate their programs in poor nations. The program promotes computer technology, and the beneficiaries of the program are infinite.

There is sufficient evidence of millions of people transiting from poverty into enhanced lifestyles due to improved education and enhanced technology. The education obtained in schools helps some students to secure lucrative jobs, while others are able to use the knowledge to run profitable businesses.

It is noteworthy that corruption and repressive forces are the main challenges that Bill and Melinda encounter in their effort to help African countries. African elites are on the forefront to misuse funds granted for humanitarian programs, whereas, the feeble citizens suffer helplessly. However, the limited benefits in Africa cannot overshadow Bill Gates’ efforts. According to Bill Gates, supporting global humanitarian organizations is one way that would play a great role in changing the fortunes of the African poorest countries.

The Gates Foundation goes beyond giving grants to addressing global concerns that various African governments have ignored. In fact, some of the governments that claim to invest in healthcare depend on donors like Bill Gates to manage simple vaccinations in their countries. Gates’ accredited generosity is beyond imagination, as he has given more than $28 billion to charity. Bill Gates and his wife intend to give 95% of their wealth to charity, which is unimaginable for many people. The Gates have changed the lives of many, and indeed, they have lived a quality life of identifying and sealing loopholes in the United States, Africa, and the rest of the world (Stevenson 241).

Conclusion

Bill Gates is an exceptional person of his times, who plays a great role in motivating and inspiring my academic learning. The noble trait that triggers him to care for other people and make the world a better place is a great lesson to many people in the world. The most interesting thing about Bill Gates is that his grants to charity organizations do not make him poor; instead, they replenish his sources of income. Although he failed in his first businesses, he kept the pot boiling, which is a great inspiration to all upcoming business people.

Bill Gates is a successful entrepreneur, who inspires me greatly. He is my role model, and I am hoping to be like him in future. His saying that people die poor because of their own mistake inspires me to work hard, learn from my mistakes, and never to give up in anything. Since the Gates cannot solve the world problems alone, willing and able people from all over the world should come up to help poor people and make the world a better place than they found it. Bill Gates’ story should be a challenge to every billionaire who lives luxuriously while the unfortunate people die of sickness, hunger, and poverty. Indeed, everyone should aspire to emulate the practices of Bill Gates.

Works Cited

Byrne, John, Julia Cosgrove, Brian Hindo and Adam Dayan. “The New Face of Philanthropy.” Business Week 38.9 (2002): 82. Print.

Gates, Bill. “Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation: 2012.” African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition & Development 11.7 (2011): 1-25. Print.

Hill, Paul. “Bill and Melinda Gates Shift from Computers in Libraries to Reform in High Schools.” Education Next 6.1 (2006): 44-51. Print.

Lenkowsky, Leslie. “Will Bill Gates Become One Of History’s Great Philanthropists?” Chronicle of Philanthropy 18.1 (2006): 16-19. Print.

Stevenson, Siobhan. “The Political Economy of Andrew Carnegie’s Library Philanthropy, With a Reflection on Its Relevance to the Philanthropic Work of Bill Gates.” Library & Information History 26.4 (2010): 237-257. Print.