Bill Gates is a technologist, business leader, and philanthropist. He grew up in Seattle, Washington, with an amazing and supportive family who encouraged his interest in computers at an early age. He dropped out of college to start Microsoft with his childhood friend Paul Allen. Today, Bill co-chairs the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation with Melinda French Gates, where he works to give his wealth back to society.
Bill grew up in Seattle with his two sisters. His late father, William H. Gates Sr., was a Seattle attorney and one of the co-chairs of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. His late mother, Mary Gates, was a schoolteacher, University of Washington regent, and chairwoman of United Way International. Bill has three children.
These days Bill focuses most of his time on the work he is doing through his foundation. People are often surprised to hear him say that this work has a lot in common with his work at Microsoft. In both cases, he gets to bring together smart people and collaborate with them to solve big, tough problems.
Bill is gratified to know that the foundation and its many partners are helping people all over the world live healthier, more productive lives.
In addition to the foundation’s work, Bill has separately taken on some projects to address issues that interest him personally, such as delivering clean energy to everyone who needs it.
In all his work—with the foundation and otherwise—he’s focused on what he calls catalytic philanthropy: investments in innovations that will improve life for the poorest. They’re solutions to problems where markets and governments underinvest.