Melinda Gates is co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Along with Bill Gates, she shapes and approves the foundation’s strategies, reviews results, and sets the overall direction of the organization.
Together they meet with grantees and partners to further the foundation’s goal of improving equity in the United States and around the world. They use many public appearances to advocate for the foundation’s issues.
In July of 2012, Gates made headlines by spearheading the London Summit on Family Planning, with the goal of delivering contraceptives to an additional 120 million women in developing countries by 2020.
While involved in all of the organization’s endeavors, Gates believes that empowering women in developing countries to decide whether and when to have a child is a critical driver of her work at the foundation, since this decision can be the source of transformational improvements in the health and prosperity of whole societies.
Gates received a bachelor’s degree in computer science and economics from Duke University in 1986 and a master’s in business administration from Duke’s Fuqua School of Business in 1987.
After joining Microsoft in 1987, she distinguished herself as a business leader in the development of many of Microsoft’s multimedia products and was appointed as Microsoft’s general manager of Information Products. In 1996, Gates left the organization and since then, has directed her energy toward the nonprofit world.
Bill and Melinda Gates live in Medina, Washington, near Seattle. They have three children.