Bill and Melinda Gates say they will continue to run their eponymous foundation together upon revealing they are getting divorced after 27 years of marriage.
The philanthropists, who are among the richest people in the world, made the announcement via a statement on Twitter early Tuesday morning, saying they “no longer believe we can grow together as a couple”.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation was established by the Microsoft co-founder and Melinda Gates in 2000 to fund research and advocacy across the globe. According to CNBC, the foundation has more than US$51 billion ($65.7 billion) in assets.
— Bill Gates (@BillGates) May 3, 2021
Since its inception, the foundation’s activities have evolved from supporting public libraries in the US, to combating global health inequalities.
“We tried to figure out how we might use our voices to raise the visibility of global health, and how our resources could start saving and transforming lives,” the foundation’s mission statement reads.
As part of that mission, the couple has helped eradicate 98% of polio cases and given $US2 billion in grants to stop malaria.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has also benefited from a whopping $20 billion transfer of Microsoft stock — the largest of its kind in the world.
And, prominent investor and chief executive of Berkshire Hathaway, Warren Buffett, has made significant donations to the foundation over the years.
In the couple’s public statement, which was posted at the same time on Bill and Melinda Gates’ Twitter accounts, they said they will continue to share their belief in the foundation’s mission and continue its work.
“We ask for space and privacy for our family as we begin to navigate this new life,” they said.
The couple married in Hawaii in 1994 after meeting at Microsoft, where Melinda Gates worked as a product manager five years earlier.
While Bill Gates is widely known as the co-founder of Microsoft, Melinda Gates is also recognised for her advocacy championing women and girls. The former tech executive launched her private Pivotal Ventures incubation and investment company in 2015.