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Microsoft Pri0

Welcome to Microsoft Pri0: That's Microspeak for top priority, and that's the news and observations you'll find here from Seattle Times reporter Sharon Chan.

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March 12, 2009 9:47 AM

Billionaire Bill, down $18 billion, is back on top of Forbes list

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

Scroogeswim.jpg The Forbes list of the world's richest people is practically a rite of spring around here. Are we home to the richest, second richest or, gasp, third richest person in the world? This year, as billionaires around the world saw their fortunes cut by the global economic downturn, Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Bill Gates lost the least among the top three -- $18 billion -- and edged back to the top spot on the list with about $40 billion in his money bin. Gates' friend and partner-in-philanthropy Warren Buffett is No. 2 on the list, with $37 very large. (He had moved to No. 1 in last year's survey.) Mexican business magnate Carlos Slim Helu, who surpassed Gates as world's richest in summer 2007 (by a different estimate), is third on the global list with $35 billion. Another software titan, Larry Ellison of Oracle, leaped from 14th in 2008 to 4th, at $22.5 billion.

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Comments | Category: Bill Gates , Compensation , Financial , Miscellaneous , Personalities , Philanthropy , Steve Ballmer , Tech Economy |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

February 23, 2009 4:04 PM

Microsoft employees gave $87.7 million to charity last year

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

Nearly 60 percent of Microsoft's U.S. employees gave to charity through part of the company's corporate philanthropy program in 2008, it announced today. Counting matching donations from Microsoft, the company's employees gave a record $87.7 million to the cause of their choice last year. The company matches employee giving dollar-for-dollar up to $12,000 a year.

On average, U.S. Microsoft employees contributed on average about $1,523 each -- counting the company match. That's based on a U.S. work force of 57,588 as of Dec. 31.

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February 4, 2009 2:52 PM

Gates releases mosquitoes at tech confab, Web has field day

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano


Steve Jurvetson/flickr

An image of Gates at TED, captured by venture capitalist Steve Jurveston with a Blackberry and posted on flickr.

I'm trying to verify this with the press office of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, but if the reports streaming in from Twitter are to be believed Bill Gates just released mosquitoes into a crowd of smart, rich people to make a point about malaria. He then said to the audience at TED, an exclusive conference on technology, entertainment and design, "Not only poor people should experience this," according to several reports.

[Update, 3:19 p.m.: Some Tweets (or Twits, your call) suggest that Gates only pretended to release the mosquitoes. But an official-looking TED Twitter account posted this update about an hour ago: "#TED Confirmed: yes they were real mosquitoes. No they were not malarial. An amazing TED moment."]

The digs are coming in along these lines, "Well, anyone who uses M. Gates' products already knows he has no shortage of bugs to spread around." (From Gawker comments.)

Comments | Category: Bill Gates , Gates Foundation , Personalities , Philanthropy , Public policy & issues |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

January 22, 2009 8:03 PM

Microsoft maintaining status quo on corporate giving despite cost cuts

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

Cross posting from an item from my colleague Kristi Heim's new blog, The Business of Giving:

Microsoft plans to continue the same level of community giving despite a severe economic downturn and the first layoffs in its history.

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December 30, 2008 9:57 AM

Microsoft news roundup: Windows 7 Beta tracking, 'Tough Love' for Search, year-in-preview

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano


Windows 7 logo illustration by Seattle Times graphics artist Gabriel Campanario.

Several stories today are tracking the status of Windows 7, the next version of Microsoft's flagship operating system. Mary Jo Foley, who watches the OS as closely as anyone, states that a test version of 7 "is poised to make its public debut at the Consumer Electronics Show" next week in Las Vegas. She notes that Microsoft has said this test version, Beta 1, will be "feature complete."

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Comments | Category: News roundup , Philanthropy , Search , Windows 7 |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

December 18, 2008 10:30 AM

Microsoft named top U.S. company for community investment in survey of peers

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

Microsoft has been recognized by a survey of major corporations as doing the best job of investing in its community. The survey was part of a study published by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University.

The study was presented with a broader report on the relationship between business and their communities. Seattle was one of eight cities where the report held forums with business leaders, providing a not-too-surprising list of threats to innovation: education, "the Seattle process," and transportation. Read on for more details.

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Comments | Category: Education , Philanthropy , Public policy & issues , Recruiting , Tech Economy |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

October 17, 2008 6:13 AM

Microsoft partners with law firms, Angelina Jolie to help illegal immigrant kids

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

Microsoft and law firms in nine cities today launched an effort to help illegal immigrant children with legal representation.

My colleague Lornet Turnbull has a story on the effort, Kids in Need of Defense, in today's paper. An excerpt:

"Last year, about 8,000 illegal-immigrant children with no official adult supervision were processed in immigration court. They came from all over the world -- the majority from Central America -- some fleeing untold horror and abuse."

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September 24, 2008 1:30 PM

Former Microsoft exec Raikes giving big to Nebraska comp science program that carries his name

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

Jeff Raikes, the longtime Microsoft executive who resigned earlier this year to take the helm of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is boosting the computer science program at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Raikes is a proud Nebraska native, whose family still runs a farm there. He'll talk about it on any occasion, such as over USDA Prime steaks at Daniel's Broiler.

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Comments | Category: Coming and going , Gates Foundation , Office , Personalities , Philanthropy |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

May 15, 2008 4:22 PM

Microsoft Windows on XO laptop later this summer

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

Microsoft is finally putting Windows on the One Laptop Per Child low-cost XO machines aimed at children in poor countries. Here's coverage of the development, which had been anticipated for some time, from The Associated Press.

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Comments | Category: Chips and semiconductors , Hardware , Intel , Philanthropy , Public policy & issues |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

May 12, 2008 10:03 AM

Microsoft vet Raikes to Gates Foundation as CEO

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano


DEAN RUTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Raikes at his Microsoft office in 2006.

Bill Gates is bringing one of his most trusted Microsoft generals with him to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Jeff Raikes will become CEO of the world's largest philanthropy beginning Sept. 2, the foundation announced this morning.

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January 24, 2008 9:51 AM

Capitalist Gates calls for 'creative capitalism' to aid poor at Davos

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

Addressing the World Economic Forum today, Microsoft chairman and world's richest man Bill Gates said free-market forces have failed the world's poor.

"We have to find a way to make the aspects of capitalism that serve wealthier people serve poorer people as well," he told the annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, according to coverage from Reuters. "I like to call this idea creative capitalism."

The Wall Street Journal today ran a front-page story on Gates' speech, having been given an advance copy and an interview last week. More after the jump.

Update, 1:20 p.m.: Microsoft has posted a transcript of Gates' speech. Tell us what you think of his vision for "creative capitalism" in the comments section.

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January 22, 2008 2:07 PM

Boys & Girls Clubs to get Xboxes ... or at least the guy who makes them

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano


MICROSOFT

Bach. Bringing Xbox 360s?


Boys & Girls Clubs of America today appointed Robbie Bach, president of the Microsoft division responsible for fun, as chairman-elect for 2009-10. Under his watch, Microsoft has plunged into the video game business with the Xbox and now Xbox 360 game console and the Zune digital media player.

Bach, officially president of Microsoft's Entertainment and Devices Division, has long been involved with the BGCA, which serves close to 5 million kids across the country through guidance and leadership programs at 4,000 club locations. He was on the board of the Bellevue club, including a term as chairman. He's currently heading the national organization's Marketing Committee, which scored a free advertising deal with McCann Worldgroup (which also happens to be the primary agency serving Microsoft).

The BGCA's press release today was silent on whether Bach would hook 'em up with Xboxes. The group did note that Bach's tech expertise overlaps well with its goals of exposing kids to technology. Furthermore, its "national technology program, Club Tech, was launched in 2000 with a $100 million commitment in software and support from Microsoft."

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December 17, 2007 10:19 AM

The gift that keeps giving

Posted by Kristi Heim

Microsoft raised a record $72 million in its employee giving campaign this year, and natural disasters both near and far have prompted an outpouring of generosity recently.

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October 30, 2007 11:41 AM

'In Redmond, you don't see 7-year-olds begging on the street'

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

That's a quote from this New York Times story about how beneficiaries of the tech outsourcing boom in India are trying to combat poverty in their own country.

Sean Blagsvedt, a veteran of Microsoft Research in India and founder of a kind of social networking Web site for poor people who don't have their own computers, was of course referring to his former employer's headquarters. "In India," he continued, "you can't escape the feeling that you're really lucky. So you ask, What are you going to do about all the stuff around you? How are you going to use all these skills?"

The story goes on to describe how technology companies are using India as a laboratory for technology to serve, as Microsoft execs might put it, the next billion people.

Microsoft earlier this year formalized its approach to doing business in the emerging economies of the world with its "Unlimited Potential" program. And during its last quarter, the company saw 40 percent growth in the fast-emerging economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China.

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September 24, 2007 7:28 PM

The story behind the story

Posted by Kristi Heim

So why are you journalists in Seattle spending so much time writing about malaria in Africa, when there are plenty of problems in your own back yard? This is a question I've been asked before, and no doubt I'll be asked again.

I can give all the standard arguments for why we should care:

-- It's Bill Gates.
-- It's a technology inventor's dream about changing the world.
-- Malaria is a lens to look at the extraordinary ambitions of the largest charitable foundation in history.
-- Global health is emerging as a defining industry in our region.
-- Imagine the headline: "World's richest human sets out to defeat tiny insect." No, make that "parasite within tiny insect."

In the end, it comes down to a simple question of numbers.

As we sit here comfortably over three days reading this series, 9,000 people will be dead from malaria.

Talk about high impact.

But let's not focus solely on the negative. In a world saturated with crime and war, as one reader noted today, people want to see solutions.

They want to see how an entrenched problem that everyone thought would go on forever, given the will, the right tools and enough money, might just be fixed.

It's not for me to judge whether this is the right solution, or even whether it's the right problem, but I do think chronicling the effort is worthwhile.

Maybe travel and the Internet have simply distorted my world view. After the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, a French journalist made the now famous statement "We are all Americans."

With the equivalent of a 9/11 happening every day, shouldn't we say we are all Africans? Genetically speaking, it's probably true.

The Gates Foundation has spent $1 billion so far to fight malaria. That seems like a lot of money.

But if every person in the United States saved less than a penny a day, collectively we would have the same budget by the end of the year.

And if every person in Seattle gave up just one latte a month -- let's say $36 a year -- they could raise $22 million for the cause of their choice, it would be possible, for example, to buy one $5 bed net for the entire population of the Central African Republic.

Still not convinced? Read this.

Maybe Bill Gates is full of hot air. Maybe he's just trying to square his karma. If you've always wanted to say something to him, here's your chance. He might be reading.

Of course, nobody knows whether solving malaria, if it can be done, will ultimately help Africans have a better life. Considering the numerous problems they face, says economist Tyler Cowen, investing in one is almost like buying a lottery ticket.

I guess the only thing we know for sure is what doing nothing has achieved.


STEVE RINGMAN/SEATTLE TIMES

A 3-year-old child with malaria sits in a hospital bed in Zambia

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September 20, 2007 1:40 PM

Gates Foundation supports online activism

Posted by Kristi Heim

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's partnership with MTV is taking new shape as the U.S. election year approaches. The foundation is one of the key supporters of the thinkMTV social networking venture, launched today as "a platform for activist campaigns."

The site connects people and causes, with user-generated news and video and links to take action on issues such as poverty, war, politics, health, environment and education.

The Gates Foundation started supporting thinkMTV back in 2005 as part of its education efforts.

If you want to see Jay-Z talk about a water crisis or Pete Wentz explain why he put Ugandan refugees in a Fall Out Boy video, this is the site for you.

But MTV is also paying individuals for activism. For those who volunteer, donate blood or do other good works, it's giving "badges" that can be used for things like access to MTV events, media exposure, meetings with celebrities and video cameras. More on that here.

Comments | Category: Online Communities , Philanthropy |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

September 18, 2007 12:59 PM

Gates Foundation executive is knighted

Posted by Kristi Heim

Dr. Tadataka "Tachi" Yamada, president of the global health program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, today can add knighthood to his list of achievements.


RICHARD BROWN/GATES FOUNDATION

Tachi Yamada joined the Gates Foundation in 2006.

Yamada received the honor for his work at pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline, where he was head of research and development from 2000 to 2006. During that time he helped make GSK into an R&D powerhouse, the U.K.'s most innovative company and the commercial leader in researching diseases of the developing world, the U.K. government said in a press release. Yamada earned a B.A. in history from Stanford University, his M.D. from New York University School of Medicine.

The official title "honorary Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (KBE)" is given by the Queen. Foreign citizens are recognized for important contributions to relations between their country and Britain, but only U.K. citizens with knighthood get the title of Sir or Dame. Yamada is an American citizen.

"I am delighted and humbled to receive this great honor," he said in a statement. "The U.K. is at the forefront of scientific innovation, particularly in discovering new medicines and improving global health. It has been my privilege to work with extraordinary British colleagues throughout my career in academia, in industry, and now in the fight against health disparities throughout the world."

Yamada joins a list of American recipients that includes former Presidents George Bush and Ronald Reagan; Secretary of State Colin Powell, General Norman Schwartzkopf; actor Bob Hope; composer/conductor Andre Previn; director Steven Spielberg and Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates, who was given the honor in 2005.

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September 6, 2007 4:30 PM

Xbox exec takes on finance for the poor

Posted by Kristi Heim

A former Microsoft executive who led the launch of Xbox and the co-founders of both Classmates.com and Jobster.com have all joined a local non-profit dedicated to helping poor people gain access to credit.

They're part of a wave of experienced technology people leaving the business world to apply their skills to problems of inequality.

Maybe they were listening to Bill Gates' Harvard commencement speech...

Their business experience is valued at Redmond-based Unitus, which looks at microfinance, or providing tiny loans and other services to working poor, as "an up-and-coming business sector, not a charity," in the words of its spokesman. Unitus also operates a separate, for-profit investment fund.

That for-profit approach is somewhat controversial and has its share of critics. But in microfinance the line between doing good and making money is blurring.

Unitus reaches more than 2 million people now with loans, insurance and other services that would not be available to them through traditional banks. Like an aggressive tech startup, it plans to expand to a million more by the end of the year.

Xbox veteran Ed Bland, who was a general manager in Microsoft's Entertainment and Devices Division, left to join Unitus as chief operating officer.


SOURCE: Unitus

Ed Bland's job is anything but.

Other techies that have recently joined Unitus are Derek Streat, co-founder of Classmates.com and now Unitus VP of microfinance solutions; Jobster.com co-founder Jonathan Weinstein, now Unitus director of product development; former Microsoft and BEA employee Diana Reid, now Unitus VP of donor and investor relations; and RealNetworks and Microsoft veteran Sandra Winters, who is Unitus director of strategic alliances.

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August 29, 2007 4:12 PM

Paul Allen's new brain trust

Posted by Kristi Heim

Now that the Allen Institute for Brain Science has created a detailed map of the brain, it has been busy mapping its own future.

The institute this week named a new scientific advisory board to help define and advance its scientific agenda. The board members are David Anderson and Christof Koch from CalTech, Thomas Daniel and Phyllis Wise from UW, Catherine Dulac from Harvard, Steven Paul of Lilly Research Labs, Michael Stryker of UC San Francisco, Joseph S. Takahashi from Northwestern University and Marc Tessier-Lavigne from Genentech.


GREG GILBERT / SEATTLE TIMES

Lab assistants help unlock the mysteries of the mouse brain, genetically similar to the human brain.

Allen provided a $100 million donation of seed money to fund the institute, and it has used $40 million to build the Allen Brain Atlas. Now the institute needs more funding to take on the next challenge. That money could come from federal grants, foundations and other sources, as well as from Allen himself. But the institute is intended to run as a business, says Chief Operating Officer Elaine Jones, so it's looking at new models for future investments in projects that could later be commercialized.

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July 10, 2007 2:56 PM

Gates Foundation center as new tourist attraction?

Posted by Kristi Heim

The visitor's center at heart of the new Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation campus is being designed by Ralph Appelbaum Associates, the same firm that designed the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.

Scheduled to open in 2010, the 15,000-square-foot center will be a public window on the foundation's work in global health, development and education.

In this interview founder Ralph Appelbaum says he intends to convey a message of optimism, that "all lives, no matter where they're lived, have equal value; that there are inequities, but today's problems are solvable."

The center aims to open people's eyes to global problems through a journey or personal encounter, similar to the way visitors experience the Holocaust Museum.

In Seattle, visitors will see "how an American family became engaged with complex and serious issues and found their own way to contribute," he said.

Since the new campus is at Seattle Center, just across the street from the Space Needle and Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen's Experience Music Project, it could become a regular stop for visitors to Seattle. Maybe they'll think of it as the Experience Philanthropy Project.

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July 9, 2007 11:48 AM

Is charity contagious?

Posted by Kristi Heim

In the year following Warren Buffett's highly publicized donation to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, all that generousity is clearly having one effect: peer pressure.

The act has spurred its share of philanthropic impulses around the globe. In case you missed it, Hong Kong superstar Jackie Chan said recently he is giving half of his fortune to charity.

While Chan didn't reveal his net worth, he did mention the influence of Buffett and Gates.

"I admire the efforts by Buffett and Gates to help those in need a lot," Chan said.
"Like Buffett and Gates, I want to help people, but I don't have as much money as they do," he said in an interview with the Associated Press.

Chan, 52, said his donation would go into his Jackie Chan Charitable Foundation, started in 1988 to help poor youth in Hong Kong and later broadened to include disaster relief, medicine and the arts.

Observers have also taken a closer look at the wallets of the world's richest and asked -- why hold out?

Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim has a fat piggy bank, adding $3.5 billion to his riches every month, according to Business Week. Now he is estimated to have overtaken Gates as the richest man in the world.

Slim's charities include a $1.2 billion endowment of his telecom company's Telmex Foundation and a family charity worth $2.5 billion. And he recently donated $100 million to the Clinton Foundation.

Slim pickings compared to Gates' philanthropy? Maybe, but better than none at all.

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June 19, 2007 12:39 PM

Musical chairs in the philanthropy world

Posted by Kristi Heim

We knew about big changes going on over at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, but it's getting hard to keep track of all the comings and goings.

The Gates Foundation hired a new communications director, Heidi Sinclair, a Seattle native who is currently president and CEO of PR firm Burson-Marsteller in Europe. In September, Sinclair will start to oversee the foundation's communications strategy and act as senior adviser to Bill and Melinda Gates.

Her past positions include vice president of corporate strategy at software company Borland, hardly Microsoft's biggest fan. Back then Sinclair complained Microsoft was stifling competition.

"Microsoft resembles the IBM of yore: the 800-lb. gorilla that sits anywhere it wants," she said in a 1993 Time magazine article.

She's not the only one swapping seats. Senior policy officer Monica Harrington will leave the foundation this month to work with NGOs on innovation initiatives and help build a new online photo editing service called picnik.com.

Two figures in the Seattle philanthropy scene recently moved to Google.
Jacquelline Fuller, former deputy director of the global health program at the Gates Foundation, is now leading Google.org's advocacy efforts.

And Blaise Judja-Sato, founder of Seattle-based non-profit VillageReach, is now working on global economic development at Google.org.

Incidentally, Gates' recent commencement address puzzled Harvard economics professor Robert Barro, who argues Microsoft provides more benefit to society than the charitable foundation.

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June 11, 2007 2:56 PM

John Stanton joins United Way

Posted by Tricia Duryee

The United Way of King County said John Stanton, the incoming campaign chair, will announce a major new campaign at a breakfast Tuesday.

Stanton is considered one of the pioneers of the wireless industry, having worked alongside Craig McCaw to build McCaw Cellular Communications, which was acquired by AT&T and spun out to become AT&T Wireless.

Stanton also built VoiceStream Wireless -- now T-Mobile USA -- and helped to spin it off from Western Wireless. It later was sold to German telecommunications giant Deutsche Telekom for $30 billion.

Two years ago, Stanton sold Western Wireless, a Bellevue carrier focused on rural areas and smaller markets, to Alltel. He's now at Trilogy Equity Partners, an investment company that makes mobile bets.

The breakfast Tuesday, at the Paramount Theatre, will highlight United Way programs aimed at ending homelessness and ensuring all children are ready for school, the United Way said. The breakfast will also feature keynote speaker Scott Carson, executive vice president of The Boeing Company.

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April 11, 2007 9:41 AM

Steve Davis 2.0

Posted by Kristi Heim



Steve Davis is stepping down as chief executive of Corbis.

Now that Corbis CEO Steve Davis is going to spend more time writing, it's a good time to check out his blog, Creativity 2.0.

So far, he has been exploring a variety of topics related to digital media, including the rights of creators, the role of Google in archiving, Yahoo! and censorship in China and more.

It's hard to imagine a more wide-ranging career than the one Davis has had, from resettling refugees to learning Chinese language and law, advocating civil rights for gays and lesbians, working as an intellectual property lawyer and leading the private company of the richest person in the world.

He told me that a transformative moment in his life happened just out of college during a visit to a refugee camp in Thailand as Cambodians were fleeing from the Killing Fields. That inspired a fundamental interest in social justice, he said.

Now his career is coming full circle, but he resists the notion of "giving back." "I actually hate that expression," he said. "It suggest you've been taking all along."

Davis said he's thinking more about how to address the big problems of our time, such as climate change and global health. When he applies his full creativity to philanthropy, the results will be worth watching.

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March 9, 2007 12:09 PM

Gates Foundation hires former Mexico health secretary

Posted by Kristi Heim

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has hired Julio Frenk, the former health secretary of Mexico, as a senior fellow in its global health program. It's an interesting choice for a few reasons.

Frenk is a physician who directed health policy for six years in the administration of President Vicente Fox.

During that time, the foundation notes, Mexico's maternal mortality rate fell more than 20 percent, and the country was one of only seven to make sufficient progress toward achieving the Millennium Development Goal of reducing child mortality by two-thirds by 2015.

Frenk came under fire from some conservatives for his decision to provide free "morning after" birth control pills in government hospitals and clinics. He also introduced a broad health insurance system for the country.

His experience at the World Health Organization could prove valuable for the foundation. At WHO, he was executive director of evidence and information policy, and later a candidate for director general. There Frenk worked closely with Christopher Murray, a Harvard professor whom the foundation and the UW are trying to recruit to head a new Health Metrics Institute at the university.

The institute, which would be launched with a $100 million grant from the Gates Foundation, would specialize in measuring and evaluating the health of people in the world's poorest countries. At the foundation, Frenk's new job description includes strengthening the monitoring and evaluation of health programs. Maybe he's already given Murray a call.

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February 20, 2007 1:12 PM

Gates Foundation gets new CFO

Posted by Kristi Heim

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation said today it has hired investment banker Alexander S. Friedman as its chief financial officer.

Friedman is a mergers and acquisitions specialist at international investment bank Lazard (NYSE: LAZ).

Friedman is charged with overseeing the world's largest foundation's finance and accounting, financial and strategic planning, facilities and real estate, among other activities. At a time when the foundation has come under scrutiny for its investments, he'll have his hands full.

That is, if he gets involved in the funding side at all. Last year the foundation separated its operations and grant programs money from its endowment, which is handled by outside investment managers. Its endowment is worth more than $30 billion, with a gift of $30 billion more from Warren Buffett.

Friedman also has experience in biotechnology, having led corporate development at Medarex. And he is another Clinton Administration veteran to join the Gates Foundation. Like Sylvia Mathews, president of Global Development at the foundation, Friedman served under President Clinton. He was a White House Fellow and Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Special Projects. He is on the board of the New York-based NetAid Foundation, an initiative of Mercy Corps.

He will begin working on March 19, reporting to Chief Operating Officer Cheryl Scott.

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February 16, 2007 12:24 PM

Gates Foundation, NBA players reach for the net

Posted by Kristi Heim

At Sunday's NBA All-Star game in Las Vegas, players will be shooting for something more than a basket. Five NBA All-Stars are donating funds to a grassroots campaign to fight malaria in Africa, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is matching their pledge.

The campaign Nothing But Nets, which raises funds to provide insecticide-treated bed nets for families in Africa, will get help from Atlanta Hawks guard Joe Johnson, who will contribute $1,000 per basket made in the game. Other players will donate money and participate in charity events around the game.

Nothing But Nets was created by the United Nations Foundation and spurred by Sports Illustrated Columnist Rick Reilly. He challenged each of his readers to donate $10 to buy a bed net to protect a family from malaria, a disease that kills more than a million people a year. The Gates Foundation matches contributions dollar for dollar.

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