27 years of marriage and three beautiful children later, Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft and his wife Melinda have publicly announced their decision to split. The duo took to Twitter to issue a joint statement about their decision to end their marriage, citing how they “can’t grow together as a couple” in the coming phase of their life.
In 2000, the couple created a charity organization that was popularly known as Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Over the course of 21 years, the foundation has worked towards funding research and support work around the globe. It has dished out billions to provide assistance on critical issues such as health and development, education, climate change and most recently, battling the pandemic.
Bill Gates, the man who founded one of the largest tech giants in the world left his position in the company’s board last year. From then till now, he has strived to make a difference in the world by extending his efforts to charity.
Despite stepping down from his position, Bill Gates still has major ownership of Microsoft’s shares. According to Forbes, his net worth is close to $130 billion, making him the fourth richest person in the world. Moreover, his work for the Gates Foundation has been recognized globally and it has been considered as the world’s biggest charity organization, with total assets valued at $50 billion. Till now, there is no definite conclusion on how the assets will be divided.
The couple’s decision to end their marriage has sent ripples throughout the industry, including the world of philanthropy. David Callahan, founder of Inside Philanthropy has held Bill Gates and Melinda in high regard and stated that they “really pioneered a new form of large-scale philanthropy. “The two have been one of the strongest figures in leaving a mark on the philanthropic world.
In their joint statement, the couple announced that they would still work together to enhance the development of their philanthropic organization. The question that still remains to be answered is: Would Bill Gates and Melinda work outside the domain of their existing organization? Although the exact answer still remains unknown, in this case, Callahan suggests the integral role of the prenuptial agreement. “Were Melinda to get some portion of that money it would be enough to fund her as a separate philanthropist at a large scale,” says Inside Philanthropy founder.
The couple had originally met in 1987 when Melinda joined Microsoft as a product manager. They were later seated next to each other at a business dinner in New York City and were soon married in the state of Huawei. In the words of Marilyn Chinitz, a woman who specializes in marital splits: “Sometimes people fall out of love and it’s clear that they did.” Regardless, the couple still aims to put their differences aside and do what they believe in: Creating a better world for the people.