The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will increase its annual payout to $9 billion by 2026, almost 50 per cent up over pre-pandemic levels.
The decision will enable the foundation’s partners to accelerate their efforts towards Covid-19 pandemic recovery and regain ground in existing focus areas such as improving education, achieving gender equality and reducing poverty around the world, the foundation said in a statement on Wednesday.
The foundation's board of trustees is fully aligned with the plan to increase the annual payout, it said.
“Our focus will remain the same — but at this moment of great need and opportunity, this spending will allow us to accelerate progress by investing more deeply in the areas where we are already working,” said Bill Gates, co-chairman of the foundation.
“To help make this spending increase possible, I am transferring $20bn to the foundation’s endowment this month.”
The amount exceeds Mr Gates's and co-chairwoman Melinda French Gates’s joint commitment of $15bn last year and builds on businessman Warren Buffett’s $3.1bn annual gift to the endowment last month.
Since 2006, Mr Buffett has contributed $35.7bn to the foundation, while Mr Gates and Ms French Gates have contributed $39bn.
With the addition of the latest commitments, the foundation’s endowment will rise to about $70bn.
The new resources will enable it to increase its investments in its existing strategies, which include “global health and development, gender equality and education, primarily in low- and middle-income countries”, the statement said.
“The foundation is in a strong position to help respond to critical headwinds in health and development now and into the future,” said the foundation's chief executive Mark Suzman.
“The intention of the board to spend that money on today’s challenges will allow us to extend our transformational programme strategies, partnerships and impact.”
Over the past two years, the foundation has made commitments of $2.1bn to gender equality, nearly $1bn to advance global nutrition and more than $2bn to address the pandemic.
Since 2000, the foundation has spent a total of $79.2bn.
“Philanthropy has a unique role to play in helping people around the world recover from the pandemic and rebuild the underlying systems that left so many so vulnerable to begin with,” said Ms French Gates.