With over £20bn given away since its foundation in 2000, the spending power of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation on development aid is bigger than that of most countries.
The organisation formed by Microsoft co-founder and former chief exec Bill Gates and his wife Melinda, who also worked for Microsoft in various departments as project and
general manager, is by far the biggest charity giver.
When the foundation made its first big grant for malaria research, it nearly doubled the amount of money spent on the disease worldwide. And since billionaire investor Warren Buffett pledged in 2006 to give the foundation most of his fortune, its firepower has almost doubled.
The foundation, which focuses on poverty and disease globally and on education in the US, aims for what Gates calls “catalytic philanthropy” – that is, investing for big returns. It’s taken on huge global missions such as eradicating polio and malaria and has thrown its money towards causes that have so far been underfunded.
Read more on our Gates Foundation page