He’s my hero yet again, an unlikely one at that! No, not because he was named to one of those “Top” lists once more – he’s #5 on Forbes’ latest list, Top 100 Most Powerful People in the World. That’s so been there, done that for Bill Gates.
It’s for this:
“The metric of success is lives saved, kids who aren’t crippled,” says Gates. “Which is slightly different than units sold, profits achieved. But it’s all very measurable, and you can set ambitious goals and see how you do.”
Forbes has a wonderful article (from which this quote was taken) that I would strongly encourage you to read. It’s called:
Here is the Cliff Notes version. It aims to show you why he (& Melinda Gates) should be your heroes too.
Did you know?
- When Bill and Melinda first started their initiatives in public health, they went the way of birth control thinking that with each unborn child (in developing nations) you saved a child from hunger, poverty and illness.
- He had his epiphany later when he recognized that when mortality rates fall, so do birth rates, leading to the a stable population. As he said about his realization, “Most people don’t choose to have eight children because they want to have big families, it turns out, but because they know that many of their children will die“.
- That was when he did a complete turnaround and decided that instead of preventing births, he would give his billions towards saving lives, specifically of children that were already born and lived in environments of poverty and poor health.
- With this, he set out to fight the war with the vaccine – because vaccines – not doctors, not hospitals or anything else – could scale to the level he needed and fight the war against debilitating and fatal diseases. Melinda Gates echoes that thought: “Where’s the place you can have the biggest impact with the money? Where can you save the very most lives with those resources?”
- His total Foundation endowment is now $36 billion, with $25 billion given away for his various causes.
- You cannot do without the money, but money alone does not do the work. You have to coerce, motivate, negotiate, create market demand and create a sustainable business model so that governments can get to work and pharmaceutical companies can get to work – in developing and distributing vaccines to all the people that need them. Who better to take this on than Bill Gates?
- The solution he helped create for driving vaccines to those who need it the most in the world was to create the Global Alliance for Vaccinations and Immunizations (GAVI) by working with UNICEF, the World Bank, UN, various pharmas and aid groups. He provided it a $2.5 billion pledge.
- With this they created a sustainable economic environment that will ensure that their money is in fact reaching millions of children around the globe in the form of whatever is needed for a healthy, productive life.
- This is just part of the magic of what Bill and Melinda Gates are doing with their billions. You can see what some of their other grants are here.
It’s heady, historic stuff: America’s richest man—he’d be the world’s richest had he not already given away so much money—still in his prime (he just turned 56), with the reputation, resources and determination to stamp out infectious disease. “I’d be deeply disappointed,” says Gates, if in the next 25 years he can’t lower the death toll by 80%. Otherwise, “we’re just not doing our job very well.”
Now, can someone please enlighten me – is there truly any other individual alive today who is doing so much for the people of this world?
Read more about the progress being made by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation here.
Photo and Image Credits:
Bill and Melinda Gates By World Economic Forum from Cologny, Switzerland [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
All other images: Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation