The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation should be more transparent about its aid spending in developing countries, according to an advocacy group that tracks international aid organizations.

The group Publish What You Fund ranked the Gates Foundation 43rd out of 67 humanitarian agencies in transparency. The agency earned scores noted as “very poor” in the aid transparency index report for failing to publish their spending in a useful and timely manner.

Tom Paulson

President Obama has announced the recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Among the honorees is William Foege. The Vashon Island doctor developed a vaccination plan that wiped out small pox.

djbones / Flickr

How did Seattle get to be a world epicenter for global health?

Most people would say that it’s due to the simple fact that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is here ... but Matt Sparke would say it’s more complicated than that.

Read more on Humanosphere.

Doune Porter / GAVI

It kills anywhere from a quarter-million to half-a-million kids every year and is one of the world’s leading causes of child mortality.

But it wasn’t too long ago hardly anybody had even heard of it: Rotavirus. It is the killer bug that set off Bill Gates and gave direction to his philanthropy. Now his foundation is launching a major new global jab against rotavirus and another big killer of young children, pneumococcal disease.

Eric Hershman / Flickr

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has done a lot to boost the science and delivery of vaccines for human health and to assist in the fight against disease.

Now, the Seattle philanthropy would like to start vaccinating crop plants to help poor farmers and hopes solutions will emerge through its next round of Grand Challenges Explorations.

Mike Urban

The World Health Organization has long been worried over reports that mosquitoes were increasingly resistant to chemical-treated bed nets, a mainstay in the Gates Foundation-led, worldwide campaign against malaria.

Now, a study from Senegal raises doubts over Gates’ plant to beat malaria, blaming mosquitoes’ growing resistance to insecticide.

While the Gates Foundation is probably more transparent than many, if not most, private foundations, it is still struggling with a public relations problem identified a year ago:  Many felt then that the Seattle philanthropy was difficult to work with and fairly uncommunicative.

In its new annual report released today, Gates CEO Jeff Raikes said, "Many grantees said we are inconsistent and unclear about our decision-making process and our programmatic strategies. They also said we should be more welcoming of their feedback."

One Campaign Seattle

How were world governments, under constant pressure to cut back on foreign aid due to the economic downturn, convinced to support the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization to the tune of $4.3 billion?

Bill Gates and his foundation likely had some influence, sure. He’s long been a big proponent of vaccines. But even the Microsoft billionaire can’t always get governments to do what he wants. That’s where his friend Bono and the ONE Campaign come in.

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Elaine Thompson / AP

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is trying to make its work more conspicuous.  That’s one explanation the billionaire couple gave for its new campus during a grand-opening event Thursday night.

About a thousand people packed into the campus' new grand atrium, which has a wall of glass four stories tall. 

Bill Gates spoke briefly, thanking his parents for setting an example of civic volunteerism. He quickly turned the microphone to his wife, saying, "The person who really had responsibility was Melinda, and let me thank her as I invite her to the stage."

Tom Paulson / KPLU-Humanosphere

More than a thousand workers at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have moved into their new campus across the street from Seattle Center. Celebrations are planned tonight (Thursday) and this weekend. Foundation leaders say they want to be more visible to the public.

(A public open-house is this Saturday, from 10am-4pm. Advance registration is required, here.)

NBBJ Architects

Everything about the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is looking big these days.

Photo by Thomas Hawk

Bill Gates was the keynote speaker for Seattle-based Climate Solutions‘ annual fund-raising breakfast today.

The gist of Gates’ message: The best way to fight climate change is to create forms of energy production that significantly reduce carbon emissions and are cheap enough to be of value to poor people worldwide.

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Kentaro Toyama is clearly a heretic. A geek heretic.

And, based on his career path, I would guess brilliant.

A computer scientist currently at the University of California, Berkeley, Toyama co-founded Microsoft Research India in 2005 and remained there as assistant managing director until 2009.

If you’re not familiar with what they do at Microsoft Research, think artificial intelligence, computer vision, terabyte juggling, high-octane mathematics and the craziest things you can try to do with bits, bytes or any kind of information technology.

Read more:

Tom Paulson / KPLU

I got a sneak preview of the new Seattle headquarters of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Wednesday evening, courtesy of Bill Foege, one of several Bills there.

Foege’s title at the Gates Foundation is “senior fellow.” But that doesn’t really tell you much, except to imply he’s old. It certainly doesn’t tell you how tall he is. He’s a very tall senior fellow.

More importantly than what I think, Foege appears to have been one of the key inspirations for Bill and Melinda Gates’ philanthropic mission. That’s basically what Melinda Gates said yesterday to the philanthropy’s staff after introducing those attending to their new home.

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One of the Gates Foundation’s primary goals is to improve the lives of smallholder farmers in Africa by helping improve agricultural productivity.

On Tuesday, the United Nations issued a report that appeared to challenge the Seattle philanthropy’s approach.

The Gates Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation have launched what they are calling a new Green Revolution for Africa. It is a multi-pronged strategy that tends to favor scientific and technological solutions and that some see as too heavily dependent upon Western-style, industrialized farming techniques.

This week, the UN issued a report urging “eco-farming” as the best strategy for improving farming in the developed world. In it, the author appears to challenge the wisdom of the Gates Foundation’s approach in agricultural development.

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Gates Foundation

For the record, Bill Gates couldn’t have become the world’s leading advocate for polio eradication if not for people like Ezra Teshome. People who wear sprockets on their heads.

Rotarians.

I hung out on Wednesday night with a small gang of Seattle Rotarians, including Ezra and Bill Gates Sr., who had braved the winter storm warning (of, yeah, that dusting of snow) to celebrate Rotary’s 106th anniversary and its decades of commitment to seeing polio wiped off the face of the planet. 

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AP

In case you missed it, Bill Gates thinks we should eradicate polio.

Not just him. You and me, too.

Bill and Melinda Gates have given a lot of money — about $1.3 billion — in support of the global campaign to eradicate polio. But, as Gates has been saying a lot the past week, it’s going to take a truly global effort to succeed:

“If eradication fails because of a lack of generosity on the part of donor countries it would be tragic. We are so close, but we have to finish the last leg of the journey,” says Gates in his annual letter released today.

Gates has been on the global media circuit for the past week or so stumping for polio eradication. He wants the public everywhere to push their governments to provide more funds for this big global project.

Gates made the case early last week when he announced his $50 million donation (matched by an Abu Dhabi crown prince) to boost the vaccination campaign in Pakistan and Afghanistan, two of the four countries (the others being India and Nigeria) where polio is still endemic.

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UNICEF

Bill and Melinda Gates are big believers in vaccines and in the benefit of eradicating, rather than simply controlling, those human diseases that have the potential for being completely wiped out.

Today, Gates and British Prime Minister David Cameron announced a combined new donation of $166 million in support of the global polio eradication campaign.

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AMagill / Flickr

Today’s big global health news: An international fund that was created (with significant support from the Gates Foundation) to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria in poor countries has identified episodes of fraud or at least misappropriation of funds amounting to tens millions of dollars.

 It's described as the largest philanthropic gift ever made aimed at helping the poor  save money and provide access to financial services. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's $500 million pledge was announced at a Seattle gathering attended by finance and banking leaders representing 38 nations.