Bill Gates

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Bill Gates : biography

October 28, 1955 –

Gates has several investments outside Microsoft, which in 2006 paid him a salary of $616,667 and $350,000 bonus totalling $966,667. He founded Corbis, a digital imaging company, in 1989. In 2004 he became a director of Berkshire Hathaway, the investment company headed by long-time friend Warren Buffett.

Philanthropy

Gates began to appreciate the expectations others had of him when public opinion mounted suggesting that he could give more of his wealth to charity. Gates studied the work of Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller, and in 1994 sold some of his Microsoft stock to create the William H. Gates Foundation. In 2000, Gates and his wife combined three family foundations into one to create the charitable Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which is the largest transparently operated charitable foundation in the world. The foundation allows benefactors access to information regarding how its money is being spent, unlike other major charitable organizations such as the Wellcome Trust. The generosity and extensive philanthropy of David Rockefeller has been credited as a major influence. Gates and his father met with Rockefeller several times, and modeled their giving in part on the Rockefeller family’s philanthropic focus, namely those global problems that are ignored by governments and other organizations. As of 2007, Bill and Melinda Gates were the second-most generous philanthropists in America, having given over $28 billion to charity; the couple plan to eventually donate 95% of their wealth to charity.

Gates’s wife urged people to learn a lesson from the philanthropic efforts of the Salwen family, which had sold its home and given away half of its value, as detailed in The Power of Half. Gates and his wife invited Joan Salwen to Seattle to speak about what the family had done, and on December 9, 2010, Gates, investor Warren Buffett, and Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook’s CEO) signed a promise they called the "Gates-Buffet Giving Pledge", in which they promised to donate to charity at least half of their wealth over the course of time.

Criticism

The foundation has been criticized by the Los Angeles Times for investing its assets in companies that have been accused of worsening poverty, polluting heavily, and pharmaceutical companies that do not sell into the developing world., Los Angeles Times, January 7, 2006. In response to press criticism, the foundation announced in 2007 a review of its investments, to assess social responsibility., The Seattle Times, January 10, 2007. It subsequently canceled the review and stood by its policy of investing for maximum return, while using voting rights to influence company practices., The Austin Statesman, January 14, 2007. The Gates Millennium Scholars program has been criticized by Ernest W. Lefever for its exclusion of Caucasian students."", Los Angeles Times, November 1, 1999 The scholarship program is administered by the United Negro College Fund.""

Recognition

In 1987, Gates was listed as a billionaire in Forbes magazine’s 400 Richest People in America issue, just days before his 32nd birthday. As the world’s youngest self-made billionaire, he was worth $1.25 billion, over $900 million more than he’d been worth the year before, when he’d debuted on the list.

Time magazine named Gates one of the 100 people who most influenced the 20th century, as well as one of the 100 most influential people of 2004, 2005, and 2006. Time also collectively named Gates, his wife Melinda and U2’s lead singer Bono as the 2005 Persons of the Year for their humanitarian efforts. In 2006, he was voted eighth in the list of "Heroes of our time". Gates was listed in the Sunday Times power list in 1999, named CEO of the year by Chief Executive Officers magazine in 1994, ranked number one in the "Top 50 Cyber Elite" by Time in 1998, ranked number two in the Upside Elite 100 in 1999 and was included in The Guardian as one of the "Top 100 influential people in media" in 2001.