Melinda French Gates to Donate $1 Billion to Women’s Health and Support Groups


Melinda French Gates announced this week that she is committing one billion dollars to women’s organizations globally, including those supporting abortion rights in the United States.

French Gates indicated that the new funding would come from her organization Pivotal — separate from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which she co-founded with her ex-husband, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates. The foundation primarily deals with global issues such as climate change, gender equality, and vaccination initiatives. French Gates announced she would be officially stepping down from her role at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation next week after nearly 25 years of involvement.

“Despite the pressing need, only about 2 percent of charitable giving in the United States goes to organizations focused on women and girls, and only about half a percentage point goes to organizations focused on women of color specifically,” she noted. “When we allow this cause to go so chronically underfunded, we all pay the cost. As shocking as it is to contemplate, my 1-year-old granddaughter may grow up with fewer rights than I had.”

More specifically, French Gates mentioned her organization has started directing grants to groups like the National Women’s Law Center, the National Domestic Workers Alliance, and the Center for Reproductive Rights, a global legal organization based in New York City focusing on dismantling pro-life laws and advocating for abortion rights.

French Gates highlighted that she is “experimenting with novel tactics to bring a wider range of perspective into philanthropy,” recently providing 12 individuals she “admires” with $20 million each in grant-making funds to allocate as they see fit. Among these individuals is former New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern, who took on an unpaid role combating “online extremism” after stepping down in January 2023.

This fall, French Gates plans to introduce a $250 million initiative “focused on improving the mental and physical health of women and girls globally.”

“As a young woman, I could never have imagined that one day I would be part of an effort like this. Because I have been given this extraordinary opportunity, I am determined to do everything I can to seize it and to set an agenda that helps other women and girls set theirs, too,” she said.

Katherine Hamilton
Katherine Hamilton
Politics reporter. Covering Life and Liberty.

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