The Gates Foundation said Melinda and Bill Gates, in the midst of a high-profile divorce, will continue to work as co-chairs for a two-year trial period and that she would step down after that time if their arrangement doesn't work.
Their high-profile marriage is coming to an end, and so too could their ground-breaking partnership in global philanthropy.
The Gates Foundation on Wednesday announced that Bill and Melinda Gates would continue to work as co-chairs for two years, but that she would step down after that time if their arrangement doesn’t work.
It’s a contingency plan aimed at ensuring a smooth transition for the foundation, which has spent over $50 billion in the past two decades toward combating poverty and disease.
It would also ensure Melinda receive personal resources from Bill for her own philanthropic work, which would be completely separate from the foundation's endowment, the organization said in a blog post.
Bill would then assume the full stewardship of the Gates Foundation, which the couple had often referred to as their "fourth child." Founded in 2000, the Gates Foundation has become one of the most powerful and influential forces in global public health.
Last year it committed over $1.7 billion to combat the health crisis.
Wednesday's announcement also comes after billionaire investor Warren Buffett in June said he was resigning as a trustee of the Gates Foundation, and had donated half his wealth to philanthropy since pledging 15 years ago to give away his fortune from running Berkshire Hathaway.
Bill and Melinda Gates filed for divorce in May after 27 years of marriage, but had pledged to continue their philanthropic work together.
To that end, the two on Wednesday committed another $15 billion to the Gates Foundation, their single largest contribution since 2000.