The foundation was created in 2000 through the merger of the Gates Learning Foundation, which worked to expand access to technology through public libraries, and the William H. Gates Foundation, which focused on improving global health.


To help all people lead healthy, productive lives; to improve people's health in developing countries and to give them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty; and to ensure that all people in the United States - especially those with the fewest resources - have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and life.

Geographic focus

Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe and the US

Programme areas

The foundation supports programmes in the following areas:

•Global Development Program

•Global Health Program

•Global Policy and Advocacy

•United States Program

Global Development

Works to help the world’s poorest people lift themselves out of hunger and poverty.

Global Health

Aims to harness advances in science and technology to save lives in developing countries.

Global Policy and Advocacy

Seeks to build strategic relationships and promote policies that will help advance our work.

United States

Works to improve U.S. high school and postsecondary education and support vulnerable children and families in Washington State.