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Melinda Gates, wife of Microsoft founder Bill Gates, is co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which strives to improve global health and education.
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Although the foundation's initial goal was to place computers and Microsoft products in libraries all over the United States, over the years Melinda expanded the organization's vision to include worldwide improvements in education. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's efforts also came to address global poverty and health issues.
In 2006, a friend of Bill's, wealthy investor Warren Buffett,
made a landmark donation of $30 billion to the foundation. In anticipation of dividing its assets among the most pressing needs, Melinda then restructured the organization into three departments: worldwide health, global development, and U.S. community and education. One of the foundation's primary global health objectives has been to develop prevention strategies, vaccines and treatments for diseases such as HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis.
In 2011, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation officially restated its mission as: "improving equity in four areas: global health, education, access to digital information via public libraries, and support for at-risk families in Washington State and Oregon." In 2012 Melinda pledged $560 million toward improving access to contraception for women in third-world countries.
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