Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. In developing countries, it focuses on improving people's health and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. In the United States, it seeks to ensure that all people—especially those with the fewest resources—have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and life.
All of our projects and programs are focused on improving the human condition, and thus support the SDGs, either directly or indirectly. The Gates Foundation strongly supports open data policies and efforts to produce high-quality, public data to support the SDGs and all humanitarian work.
Based in Seattle, Washington, the foundation is led by CEO Sue Desmond-Hellmann and Co-chair William H. Gates Sr., under the direction of Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett.
Priorities as a partner of the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation are excited to join fellow champions of data. The foundation has brought their voice and support for data including the 2013 Annual Letter "Why Measurement Matters", the Open Access Policy launched in 2015, an $80 million commitment to gender data and advocacy by our co-chair Melinda Gates in May 2016.
Having high quality, timely, relevant, and consistent data is essential to realizing the SDGs. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation invests approximately $500 million annually in data, focused on improving the lives of the vulnerable and improving equity globally.
Furthermore, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has developed a model of women and girls' empowerment in order to set strategic goals, make investments with partners, and measure progress. This tool is intended to inform program design so that we are better equipped to understand where the opportunities or constraints lie in advancing the empowerment of women and girls.
The foundation has three main motivations for taking an intentional approach to investing in the empowerment of women and girls:
- Our mission and core values are aligned with investing in the empowerment of women and girls to achieve greater gender equality as an end in itself. As Melinda wrote in the 2017 Annual Letter from the foundation co-chairs, “For us, ‘All lives have equal value’ is not just a principle; it’s a strategy. You can create all kinds of new tools, but if you’re not moving toward equality, you’re not really changing the world. You’re just rearranging it.”
- We believe that investing in the empowerment of women and girls can lead to better health and development outcomes. A large and growing body of evidence shows that empowered women and girls acting as agents of change in their communities can and do bring about better health and development outcomes for all.
- We recognize the importance of intentionally focusing on power relations and inequality in the contexts in which we work to avoid harmful unintended consequences. If we do not seek to understand and address power imbalances and inequality, we risk reinforcing them.