Melinda French Gates announces her resignation from the Gates Foundation

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation headquarters in downtown Seattle.Seattle^ WA / USA - August 27^ 2019

Billionaire philanthropist Melinda French Gates announced she is stepping down from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the charitable organization that she co-founded in 2000 with her now ex-husband, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates.

Saying “this is not a decision I came to lightly,” French Gates, 59, wrote in a post on social media that under the terms of the agreement with her former husband upon her departure from the foundation, she will retain more than $12 billion “to commit to my work on behalf of women and families.”  French Gates shared that her last day at the foundation will be June 7, adding that she plans to move onto “the next chapter” of her philanthropic work, called this “a critical moment for women and girls in the U.S. and around the world .. And those fighting to protect and advance equity are in urgent need of support.”

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation CEO Mark Suzman said in a separate statement that the organization would be changing its name to the ‘Gates Foundation.’  Suzman also shared on X that French Gates “has played a crucial role” in the foundation’s achievements, adding that “her vision will leave a lasting legacy, and our foundation remains committed to creating a world where every person has the opportunity to live a healthy and productive life.”

Gates also thanked his ex-wife in a post on X: “I want to thank Melinda for her critical contributions to the Foundation from its very beginning. As a co-founder and co-chair Melinda has been instrumental in shaping our strategies and initiatives, significantly impacting global health and gender equality. Looking ahead, I remain fully committed to the Foundation’s work across all our strategies, and to realizing the opportunities we have to continue improving the lives of millions around the world.” Gates added “I am sorry to see Melinda leave, but I am sure she will have a huge impact in her future philanthropic work.”

Editorial credit: FocusFantastic /