Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates announced at the World Economic Forum on Thursday that The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will donate $750 million to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria. The donation will be in the form of a promissory note as opposed to cash, which according to the Foundation, “gives the Global Fund the flexibility and authority to distribute funds efficiently based on immediate needs.”
This investment is in addition to the $650 million the Gates Foundation has already contributed in the 10 years since the launch of the Global Fund. In this time, the fund has paid for AIDS drugs for more than 3 million poor people, distributed more than 200 million mosquito nets, and prevented more than 4 million tuberculosis deaths.
Last year, the fundraising goals fell about $1 billion short of the $13 billion needed to continue, stating it could not afford to make new grants. Government donors have even backed away, due to either their own budget crises, or due to theft of the fund’s money in some countries. While the thefts are not significantly large, they have caused enough controversy to make headlines and grab a damaging amount of attention.
According to Gates, the overall good of the organization outweighs the theft, noting that it’s inevitable in regard to foreign aid. While many governments make larger donations than the one made by the Gates Foundation, his powerful voice and wealth still make a significant impact. According to spokesman Jon Liden, “It’s particularly important that we got a big whopping vote of confidence from a guy who is thought to have business sense.”