Co-trustee of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Warren Buffett once said about philanthropy: “Don’t just go for safe projects. Take on the really tough problems.”
To do this, The Gates Foundation teams up with partners around the world to take on some of the world’s toughest problems: extreme poverty and poor health in developing countries and the failures of America’s education system. By focusing on a few issues, The Gates Foundation hopes to increase its impact, in particular focusing on issues it believes are the biggest barriers that prevent people from making the most of their lives.
For each issue The Gates Foundation seeks to fund innovative ideas that could help remove these barriers: new techniques to help farmers in developing countries grow more food and earn more money; new tools to prevent and treat deadly diseases; new methods to help students and teachers in the classroom. While The Foundation recognizes that some of the projects will fail, it accepts and expects it — working under the belief that an essential role of philanthropy is to make bets on promising solutions that governments and businesses can’t afford to make.
As The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation learns which bets pay off, it adjusts its strategy, and shares the results so everyone can benefit.