Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announces intent to increase annual payout by 50%, to US$9 billion per year by 2026

By Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announces intent to increase annual payout by 50%, to US$9 billion per year by 2026

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced its intent to increase its annual payout by 50% over pre-pandemic levels, to $9 billion annually by 2026—the result of two decades of generous contributions from Bill Gates, Melinda French Gates, and Warren Buffett, including their recent gifts to the foundation’s endowment.

This decision responds to compounding global crises, including an ongoing pandemic that has stalled or reversed two decades of stunning progress toward ending preventable disease, improving education, achieving gender equality, and reducing poverty around the world. The foundation’s board of trustees is fully aligned with the plan to increase the annual payout, which will enable the foundation’s partners to accelerate pandemic recovery and regain ground in existing focus areas.

Bill Gates announced a $20 billion gift to the endowment on Gates Notes, which meets and exceeds his and Melinda French Gates’ joint commitment of $15 billion last summer and builds on Warren Buffett’s $3.1 billion annual gift last month. With the addition of these gifts, the foundation’s endowment will be approximately $70 billion.

“Thanks to the unparalleled generosity of Bill, Melinda, and Warren, the foundation is in a strong position to help respond to critical headwinds in health and development now and into the future,” said foundation CEO Mark Suzman. “Their gifts and the intention of the board to spend that money on today’s challenges will allow us to extend our transformational program strategies, partnerships, and impact.”

Overlapping crises—including the pandemic, rising inflation, the war in Ukraine, and climate change—require philanthropists as well as governments and the private sector to step up to address growing inequity.

“Despite huge global setbacks in the past few years, I see incredible heroism and sacrifice all over the world and I believe progress is possible,” said Bill Gates, co-chair. “But the great crises of our time require all of us to do more. This is why I am raising my giving to the Gates Foundation, helping to increase payout to $9 billion every year. I hope by giving more, we can mitigate some of the suffering people are facing right now and help fulfill the foundation’s vision to give every person the chance to live a healthy and productive life.”

Co-chair Melinda French Gates said, “Philanthropy has a unique role to play in helping people around the world recover from the pandemic and rebuild the underlying systems that left so many so vulnerable to begin with. The foundation has spent more than two decades forging relationships with a broad range of partners with the vision and expertise to accelerate the pace of progress for everyone. This additional spending will support our partners’ important work to promote a fair and inclusive recovery and a healthier, more equal future.”

These new resources will enable the foundation to increase its investments in its existing strategies, which include global health and development, gender equality, and education, primarily in low- and middle-income countries, in addition to its work in U.S. education and economic mobility. The foundation’s annual budgets are subject to formal board approval; all board members have agreed in principle to an increased payout target of $9 billion annually by 2026.

Since 2006, Buffett has contributed $35.7 billion to the foundation—approximately half of its total resources —which has helped catalyze new areas of focus for the foundation, including delivery and scale-up of critical innovations in agriculture, financial services for the poor, and U.S. education. His contributions have also sharply increased investments in multilateral organizations—such as the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria; Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance; and the Global Polio Eradication Initiative—that have been instrumental in saving almost 60 million lives since 2002 and nearly eradicating polio worldwide. Since 1994, Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates have contributed $39 billion to the foundation. Since 2000, the foundation has spent $79.2 billion.

The foundation achieves impact through grant funding for research and development, capacity building, and delivery through multilateral and local institutions. New challenges have led to new priorities and increased annual payout, which reached nearly $6 billion in 2019. Over the past two years, the foundation has also made commitments of $2.1 billion to gender equality, nearly $1 billion to advance global nutrition and over $2 billion to address the COVID-19 pandemic.