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In farewell letter, Melinda French Gates calls nearly 25 years at the Gates Foundation a ‘gift’

Melinda French Gates is signing off after nearly 25 years at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, telling colleagues and alumni of the Seattle-based philanthropic organization in a letter Friday of the gratitude she feels for their work.

French Gates, who announced in May that she would be resigning from the foundation, shared a letter (below) on social media in which she said she was feeling a complicated mix of emotions — from sadness over the goodbye to pride and excitement over what’s been accomplished and what’s next.

“Most people never in their lives get to work with a group of people like this one — as talented, as brilliant, as caring, as visionary, as thoughtful, as driven,” French Gates wrote. “So, I recognize what a gift it is that, for the past twenty-five years, you’ve been such an enormous part of my life.”

RELATED: ‘She’s going to be a bigger deal’: What’s next for Melinda French Gates

French Gates started the foundation in 2000 with then-husband and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates. The organization grew to become the world’s largest charitable foundation and a powerhouse in global health. The foundation employs more than 2,000 people and has an endowment of more than $75 billion.

After 27 years of marriage, the couple announced their decision to divorce in May 2021. As part of her agreement with her ex-husband, French Gates is leaving the foundation with $12.5 billion that she said she will commit to her work on behalf of women and families.

The letter makes no mention of Gates. When French Gates announced her resignation, the foundation said it would be changing its name to the Gates Foundation.

On May 28, French Gates got to work on her spending plans, announcing that she would grant $1 billion over the next two years to programs and people working on women’s and family issues. French Gates is using Pivotal Ventures, her independent company created in 2015, to begin deploying the funds.

“Although a chapter ends for me today, this isn’t goodbye,” French Gates wrote Friday. “I’ll still be working on the things we all care about and still doing my part to fight for a healthier, more prosperous, more equal future for everyone.”





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