On August 15,1964 in Dallas, Texas Melinda Ann French was born. Her parents Ray French and Elaine French already had a young daughter and went on to have two sons after Melinda. Ray was an aerospace engineer while her mom Elaine was a stay-at-home mom.
In 1999 Melinda and Bill combined the William H. Gates Foundation with the Gates Library Foundation and the Gates Learning Foundation. They renamed the newly blended charity the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Although initially they wanted to put computers in libraries, Melinda quickly expanded the foundation to include global improvements to education, poverty, and health.
Following Warren Buffett’s 30 billion dollar donation, Melinda completely restructured the foundation in order to utilize the money in the best way possible. The foundation was divided into three main parts consisting of worldwide health, global development, and community and education.
Melinda has spearheaded a focus in the Foundation’s efforts to “tear down barriers that block women’s progress around the world” and “invest in women’s health.” In 2012 Melinda pledged $560 million toward improving access to contraception for women in third-world countries. Only 4 years later they announced an 80 million dollar commitment to help battle gender inequality and improve the pay gap around the world. In addition, in 2017 she announced that the Foundation would be making a 20 million dollar investment over the next three years to strengthen women’s groups world wide followed my a 2018 pledge to spend 170 million dollars over the next four years to help women around the world ‘exercise their economic power.’