Why Is Melinda French Gates Donating $1 Billion to Women’s Rights Now?

Melinda French Gates of the Gates Foundation will be giving $1 billion in donations to organizations that advocate for gender and reproductive rights.

A Generous Donation

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Billionaire philanthropist Melinda French Gates has declared her intentions to donate a staggering $1 billion to organizations that support women’s rights, reproductive rights, and gender equity around the world.

Leaving the Gates Foundation

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The announcement was made in the wake of her decision to step down from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, a private charitable foundation she founded with her ex-husband in 2000.

Announced via the New York Times

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French Gates declared her intentions in a quest essay for the New York Times published on Tuesday, where she reflected on the 2022 Supreme Court decision to remove American women’s constitutional rights to abortion.

Looking to the Next Generations

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“As shocking as it is to contemplate, my 1-year-old granddaughter may grow up with fewer rights than I had,” French Gates wrote.

Evening the Match

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“For too long, a lack of money has forced organizations fighting for women’s rights into a defensive posture while the enemies of progress play offense,” she continued. “I want to help even the match.”

Critics Dissuade Her

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She also explained her frustrations over critics who have told her it is “not the right time” to focus on gender equality, particularly for public figures and leaders who want to be “relevant” and “effective.”

“Investing in Women and Girl’s Benefits Everyone”

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French Gates then slammed this notion, adding “Decades of research on economics, well-being, and governance make it clear that investing in women and girls benefits everyone.” 

Focus on Reproductive Rights

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In her op-ed she pointed out the importance of reproductive rights in America specifically, writing “While I have long focused on improving contraceptive access overseas, in the post-Dobbs era, I now feel compelled to support reproductive rights here at home.”

$12 Billion Payday

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Upon leaving the Gates Foundation she received $12 billion from her ex-husband Bill Gates, in recognition of her contributions as co-founder. June 7 will be her last day with the foundation after almost 25 years. 

Two Years of Distribution

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Now, she will distribute $1 billion through her company Pivotal Ventures over the next two years.

20% for Reproductive Rights in the US

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$200 million of this amount will go directly to organizations that are advocating for reproductive rights and gender equity within the US.

Center for Reproductive Rights

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One such recipient from this package will be the Center for Reproductive Rights, a legal advocacy group that “uses the power of law to advance reproductive rights as fundamental human rights around the world,” according to its official website.

Other Recipients

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Organizations like MomsRising, the National Women’s Law Center, non-profit media outlet The 19th, and the National Domestic Workers Alliance will also receive grants via Pivotal Ventures.

Health and Wellbeing Support

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Another $250 million from the fund will go specifically toward mental and physical health initiatives for women. French Gates pointed out the increase in suicidal thoughts and “persistent feelings of sadness and hopelessness” among young women over the last decade. 

“Open Call” for Grant Applications

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French Gates will also work with the organization Lever For Change to hold an “open call” for applications, so other organizations can seek funding from the $1 billion commitment.

Pointing Out the Racial Gap

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During the op-ed she also pointed to the concerning racial gap in US mortality rates for women, acknowledging that Black and Native American women were at the highest risk of death during childbirth.

Foremost Advocate for Women’s Rights

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While the Gates Foundation has supported a range of causes over the years, French Gates has been a vocal proponent of women’s rights specifically. In recent years she has become one of the foremost supporters of reproductive rights and gender equity both domestically and internationally. 

Second Billion-Dollar Donation

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While $1 billion is a staggering amount for any donation, it is the second billion-dollar philanthropic commitment she has made recently. In 2019 she pledged another $1 billion to further advance women-centric causes. 

Passing on Her Opportunities

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The billion-dollar philanthropist has remained firm in her commitment to extend her own opportunities to others. “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 wrote.

Only 2% of Nation-Wide Donations

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According to the Women & Girls Index, which measures charitable donations given to women-centric organizations in the US, these organizations only make up 2% of organizations that receive philanthropic support.

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The postWhy Is Melinda French Gates Donating $1 Billion to Women’s Rights Now?first appeared on Liberty & Wealth.

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The content of this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute or replace professional financial advice.

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