West Palm Beach (HedgeCo.net) – In a letter scheduled to be released today, January 26th, Bill Gates is offering insight to the world both about the current financial crisis as well as what his foundation has been able to do despite it.
Matthew Bishop, New York Bureau Chief and American Business Editor for The Economist conducted the interview, where Gates said his foundation’s assets may be shrinking, but it is increasing its giving in 2009, from $3.3 billion last year to $3.8 billion—the biggest ever annual budget for a charitable foundation.
Much of this will go towards finding ways to reduce deaths from the 20 diseases that kill the most people in poor countries, according to the Economist. Gates has high hopes that the number of children who die each year can be cut by half, to 5m, within 20 years, just as it was cut by half in the past half-century. Polio will soon be eradicated, he believes, and deaths from malaria can fall by half by 2015.
In a year of economic distress and record losses, optimism and generosity are still central to Gates, he says in the interview. With projected increases in giving in 2009, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will continue to focus on healthcare issues around the world as well as education reforms.
Similarly, he says he is optimistic that Barack Obama’s administration will make progress on school reform, pointing to the extra spending on schools contained in Obama’s economic stimulus package and the fact that the new education secretary, Arne Duncan, welcomed Gates-funded charter schools in Chicago.
Editing by Alex Akesson