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Melinda French Gates will resign from Gates Foundation

Melinda Gates, co-founder of the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation arrives at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France on July 01, 2021.

Mustafa Yalcin | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Melinda French Gates, the former wife of Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, announced on Monday she would resign as co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation next month.

French Gates said in a statement on X that it was a “critical moment” to protect and advance women’s rights around the world. The announcement comes almost exactly three years after the Gates’ announced their divorce.

She said will have “an additional $12.5 billion to commit to my work on behalf of women and families” as a result of her resignation and the Gates’ prior divorce agreement. The couple divorced in May 2021.

Bill Gates in a separate statement said, “I am sorry to see Melinda leave, but I am sure she will have a huge impact in her future philanthropic work.”

The Gates Foundation’s work has focused on worldwide anti-poverty and global health initiatives, including anti-malaria efforts in Africa, and extensive investment across the Indian subcontinent and South Asia.

French Gates has also devoted significant amounts of time and money towards gender equality initiatives worldwide. In 2015, she founded Pivotal Ventures, a separate entity from the Gates Foundation, which focused on removing barriers to access and opportunity for minorities and women in the U.S.

Here is French Gates’ full statement:

After careful thought and reflection, I have decided to resign from my role as co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. My last day of work at the foundation will be June 7th.

This is not a decision I came to lightly. 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.

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

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. 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. I’ll be sharing more about what that will look like in the near future.

This is breaking news. Please check back for updates.

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