Buffet Donation Sparks Changes at Gates Foundation, Including How To Distribute Funds
With a recent gift of $31 billion from Berkshire Hathaway Chair Warren Buffet, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is "facing an unparalleled challenge: how to give away more money and do it much faster than it ever has before," the New York Times reports. Before the donation, the Gates Foundation had assets of nearly $30 billion, according to the Times. Under the terms of Buffet's donation, the Gates Foundation will receive funds in annual increments and will be required to spend the entire amount each year beginning in 2009, the Times reports. With the new funds, the Gates Foundation is projected to have to spend about $3 billion annually, an amount more than twice what it distributed in 2005, the Times reports. The foundation intends to create a third area of philanthropy, global development, and plans to continue to focus on education and global health, according to the Times. In addition, the Gates Foundation aims to double its staff to about 600 members over the next two years. Helene Gayle -- president of CARE USA and former director of the Gates Foundation's HIV, Tuberculosis and Reproductive Health program -- said, "In addition to the traditional approach of requests for proposals for specific projects, they may need to look at ways of giving out money over longer terms and turning to institutions that have the capacity to spend large resources." Rick Cohen, executive director of the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy, said, "One out of every 10 foundation dollars spent is going to have the Gates name on it, and that gives it influence that is impossible to calculate" (Strom, New York Times, 8/13).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.