Bill Gates Releases Annual Letter

By Bill Melinda Gates Foundation, PRNE
Sunday, January 24, 2010

Gates Discusses How Innovation Can Make the Difference between a Bleak Future and a Bright One

SEATTLE, January 25 - Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, today
released his second annual letter — a personal appraisal of the foundation's
efforts to date and how innovation impacts priorities of the foundation.

Gates is optimistic that, despite the tough economy, a combination of
scientific innovations and strong partners working on behalf of the world's
poorest people will continue to improve the human condition.

"Although innovation is unpredictable," says Gates, "there is a lot that
governments, private companies, and foundations can do to accelerate it. Rich
governments need to spend more on research and development, for instance, and
we need better measurement systems in health and education to determine what

Throughout his letter, Gates highlights innovations that are saving or
improving lives and expanding opportunity. In the developing world, vaccines
are thwarting preventable disease in children, new tools are aiding in the
fight against malaria and HIV, and improved seeds and farming techniques are
increasing agricultural productivity. In the United States, innovations are
helping educators improve teaching and learning so that high school students
graduate ready for success and are prepared to earn postsecondary degrees.

Gates defines the foundation's role as investing in innovations that
would otherwise go unfunded — including some that may ultimately fail. He
discusses the foundation's support of a range of innovations — from low to
high risk, some with timeframes as long as 15 years — aimed at combating
disease, hunger, and poverty in the developing world and improving education
in the United States.

Since its inception in 1994, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has
committed more than US$21 billion in grants. As of September 30, 2009 the
foundation's endowment was valued at US$34.17 billion.

To download Bill Gates' annual letter, visit: High-resolution images and video
footage of Bill and Melinda Gates meeting with grantees globally are
available at:

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

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. Based in Seattle, Washington, the foundation is led by
CEO Jeff Raikes and Co-chair William H. Gates Sr., under the direction of
Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett. Learn more at or join the conversation at Facebook
( and Twitter

Amy Enright, +1-206-709-3400, media at or Ben Evetts, +44-7879-614941, both of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

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