While some consider the Prince and Princess of England across the pond to be their lifelong dream, I tend to look to those champions of good in the world, Bill and Melinda Gates.
Unfortunately, being a good person and having a deep commitment to making a difference in the world does not necessarily translate into a successful marriage. Bill Gates, co-founder and former CEO of Microsoft, and his wife, Melinda French Gates, announced their divorce on Monday after 27 years of marriage. The ad shattered the idealized image of the philanthropic couple praised for building an equal partnership throughout their marriage and working together. Bill and Melinda Gates wrote in a statement that Bill Gates tweeted: “After a lot of thought and a lot of work on our relationship, we have made the decision to end our marriage.”
Bill and Melinda pioneered “great philanthropy” by donating more than half of their net worth to important causes focused on education, gender equality and health care. Today, the foundation has over $ 51 billion in assets, making it one of the richest foundations in the world. According to the website, the Gates Foundation has awarded grants to 1,190 charities, and many more dollars have been donated directly.
This philanthropy-driven power couple single-handedly raised the bar for giving big and helping inspire others to give more. The Gates were instrumental in launching The Giving Pledge, encouraging billionaires to pledge the majority of their wealth to charity. Bill Gates explains, “It’s about building on a wonderful tradition of philanthropy that will ultimately help the world to be a much better place. “
Today, The Giving Pledge is made up of over 200 of the world’s richest individuals, couples and families, representing more than 25 countries around the world. To harness the impact of donated dollars, the Giving Pledge team helps billionaire members make the most of their dollars to tackle some of the world’s biggest challenges.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, launched in 2000, made me want to give so big. Soon after, I founded Savvy Ladies, a non-profit organization that advocates for women, encouraging them to take control of their finances and achieve financial security, in order to advance women’s empowerment. I have a strong desire, passion and laser focus to tackle the economic instability that millions of women face every day. Growing up, I saw my grandmother struggling in a physically and emotionally abusive marriage. Grandma explained to me that she felt financially trapped and eventually died as a result of the violence. I will never forget sitting in the hospital holding her hand and saying goodbye. This pain has transformed me into the agent of change that I continually aspire to become.
At the age of 27, financial resources were limited and I realized that hard work alone would not allow me to expand the services provided by Savvy Ladies. I made it my mission to be financially successful by following Gatese’s roadmap. My obsessive motivation paid off and I created Francis Financial, one of the most successful female-owned wealth management practices in the country. With my financial security in place, I was able to increase my donations by donating the essential funds needed to expand the mission-oriented work of Savvy Ladies.
Over the past two decades, Savvy Ladies has worked with thousands of women, helping them cope with some of the most difficult financial situations. I in no way compare myself to Bill and Melinda and their tremendous success in solving some of the most difficult education, health and gender issues of the time, but we share a commitment to give back. and build a better future.
While the financial details of Bill and Melinda Gates’ divorce are not yet clear, what is evident is their commitment to their family and their foundation. Millions of lives depend on the generous support of the Bill and Melinda Foundation, and I have no doubt that they will both continue to support the foundation and remain role models for meaningful, high impact giving. I have no doubt that as Bill and Melinda go their separate ways, they will each make their own way while continuing to do good in the world.