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Bill and Melinda Gates in the CBS Toyota Greenroom before their appearance on CBS THIS MORNING, Feb 12, 2019© Getty

Melinda French to resign from foundation started with ex-husband Bill Gates with $12.5 billion exit deal

The former couple, who announced their divorce in 2021, started the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in 2000

Beatriz Colon
Beatriz Colon - New York
New York WriterNew York
May 13, 2024
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Melinda French Gates is resigning from the foundation she and her ex-husband Bill Gates started over twenty years ago.

In their time together, the former couple – who announced their divorce in May of 2021 – became distinguished philanthropists through their work with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, work they continued to do in spite of their divorce three years ago after 27 years of marriage.

Despite her departure, the Microsoft founder's ex-wife has maintained her commitment to her influential charitable work, particularly concerning issues related to women, details of which she shared in her announcement.

Melinda took to X, formerly known as Twitter, on Monday and wrote: "After careful thought and reflection, I have decided to resign from my role as co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation," revealing that her last day of work with the organization would be June 7th.

"This is not a decision I came to lightly," she maintained, adding: "I am immensely proud of the foundation that Bill and I built together and of the extraordinary work it is doing to address inequities around the world."

"I care deeply about the foundation team, our partners around the world, and everyone who is touched by its work."

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Speaking on the team she is leaving behind, she added: "I am taking this step with full confidence that the foundation is in strong shape, with its extremely capable CEO Mark Suzman, the Executive Leadership Team, and an experienced board of trustees in place to ensure all its important work continues."

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Melinda emphasized: "The time is right for me to move forward into the next chapter of my philanthropy."

Business mogul Bill Gates and wife Melinda Gates donate $100 Million Dollar Check to the Program for Appropriate Technology in Health on December 2, 1998 at The Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City© Getty
Bill and Melinda, pictured above in 1998, were married from 1994 to 2021

Addressing what that next chapter will look like, she further shared: "This is a critical moment for women and girls in the U.S. and around the world – and those fighting to protect and advance equality are in urgent need of support."

MORE: Bill Gates and ex-wife Melinda French reunite as daughter Jennifer celebrates graduation following birth of baby girl – see photos

She then revealed: "Under the terms of my agreement with Bill, in leaving the foundation, I will have an additional $12.5 billion to commit to my work on behalf of women and families," before concluding with: "I'll be sharing more about what that will look like in the near future."

Amal Clooney, Michelle Obama, and Melinda Gates visited Malawi © Instagram/Clooney Foundation For Justice
Melinda has previously partnered with fellow philanthropists Michelle Obama and Amal Clooney for various charitable activations

Bill, who founded Microsoft in 1975, has a net worth of $130.3 billion, per Forbes, while Melinda has a net worth of $11.2 billion, much of which she has committed to donating.

Melinda's journey with philanthropy since her divorce from Bill is not unlike that of MacKenzie Scott's, who divorced from Amazon founder Jeff Bezos in 2019. She has previously pledged to give away more than half of her fortune – she has a net worth of $35 billion – and per her website Yield Giving, which tracks her philanthropy, she has since 2019 donated over $17.3 billion to more than 2,300 nonprofits.

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