The Shady Truth About The Bill Gates Foundation

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has tackled human problems like hunger, illiteracy, and lack of healthcare globally over 20 years. While founder Bill Gates has been praised for the time, money, and effort he donates implementing his vision for a better world, there are plenty of critics that don't believe he is as benevolent as he is portrayed (via Nonprofit Quarterly). 

The foundation's charitable contributions are so substantial that the government's efforts often pale in comparison. With no obligation to operate under any system but its own, there is little oversight or accountability, especially when it is filling unmet needs (via The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation). With assets just north of $50 billion, approximately 40 percent of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation's assets consist of funds that would have ordinarily been collected as taxes, but as a charitable foundation, they benefit from massive tax breaks and have the freedom to do what they please with the money. 

The Nation reported last year that the foundation earned $28.5 billion in investment income over the last five years while giving away $23.5 billion in charitable grants — a gap that leaves a significant chunk of change with the foundation. The foundation has also given more than $250 million to companies that it has a special interest in — in the form of corporate stocks and bonds, which could represent a huge conflict of interest. These grants help fund a variety of projects — for example, mobile banking services and health monitoring systems. 

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation efforts don't always work

NPQ has several articles criticizing the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and one discussed how the foundation contributed to the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa's (AGRA) failed regenerative agriculture efforts (via Nonprofit Quarterly). As the main funder for the project, Gates believed that improving the landscape through modern methods with the aid of the private sector would produce more food, thus increasing profits.

AGRA promoted the foundation's western business model using their sources to buy the needed seeds and fertilizers. The typically hybrid and synthetics supplies were utilized through farm input subsidy programs or FISPs that AGRA promoted. These programs were favored over traditional food production methods and 14 years later, the project was deemed a failure via a report titled False Promises. Several organizations contributed to the report, saying the program did more harm than good. 

So, while the public's perception is one of gratitude, critics believe the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is nothing more than a tax shelter that uses philanthropic investments to avoid paying taxes while furthering their own agenda.