Seattle Culture

Melinda French Gates to Resign from Gates Foundation

Her last day will be June 7

By Rob Smith May 13, 2024

Melinda French Gates

Melinda French Gates is resigning as co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation that she created with her ex-husband Bill Gates.

French Gates announced her departure in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter. She said it was “not a decision I came to lightly.” Her resignation takes effect June 7.

“This is a critical moment for women and girl in the U.S. and around the world — and those flighting to protect and advance equality are in urgent need of support,” she wrote in a four-paragraph post. “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 future.”

French Gates, who was recently named one of Seattle magazine’s most influential people, co-founded the foundation in 2000. She founded Pivotal Ventures in 2015 to create economic equity across the United States. The organization is particularly focused on getting more women elected to public office.

“I believe in equity and opportunity,” she recently told Seattle magazine. “I’m focused especially on helping women run for and win public office because I want women to exercise power and influence in society, and elected officials are in a unique position to control resources, make decisions, and shape policies and perspectives.”

French Gates and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates divorced three years ago after almost 30 years of marriage. The foundation will now be known as simply “Gates Foundation” moving forward.

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