Melinda French Gates Decides to Co-Run Family Foundation With Bill Gates

After a two-year trial run, Melinda French Gates has decided to remain as coworkers with her ex-husband.

Melinda French Gates
Melinda French Gates launched her own nonprofit, Pivotal Ventures, in 2019. Christian Liewig - Corbis/Getty Images

Melinda French Gates will remain as a co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation after all, ending a two-year management trial run after her high-profile divorce from Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates. Bill and Melinda ended their 27-year-long marriage in August 2021. Aside from tabloid theatrics and antics, the divorce’s largest impact was on the couple’s family foundation, the largest of its kind in the U.S. Warren Buffett, a longtime major donor, resigned as a Gates Foundation trustee in June 2021, a month after the couple announced their split. The foundation added four outside board members for the first time ever and co-chairs Bill and Melinda said they would try co-running the nonprofit for two more years. If things didn’t work out, they said, Melinda would leave at the end of the term.

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Melinda recently decided to stay on as Gates Foundation co-chair, the Wall Street Journal reported on July 28, confirming CEO Mark Suzman’s comments in June that Melinda and Bill were “both fully committed to the foundation, as they always have been and continue to be.”

Melinda will continue shaping the Gates Foundation’s future

The Gates Foundation is known for its programs supporting medical research and fighting poverty, especially in underdeveloped countries. Melinda has expressed a particular philanthropic interest in improving gender equality. In 2019, she launched an investment company—separately from the Gates Foundation—to achieve that goal. “I formed Pivotal Ventures because I felt I could do the work there, and it’s a company, not a foundation so I have more tools in my toolbox,” Melinda told the Journal in an interview in December 2022.

Following her divorce, Melinda published her first individual Giving Pledge letter, which she used to co-author with Bill, at the beginning of 2022. In the letter, she vowed to give away the bulk of her wealth to a variety of charitable causes, including through Pivotal Ventures. Melinda currently has a net worth of about $12 billion, and her ex-husband boasts a fortune of more than $130 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. The Gates Foundation had an endowment of about $67 billion at the end of 2022, according to its website. Both Bill and Melinda seem to have moved on.

The Microsoft founder has been dating Paula Hurd, the widow of former Oracle co-CEO Mark Hurd, for at least five months, according to the Daily Mail. The couple were first spotted in public at the Australian Open in Melbourne in February. Earlier this month, Bill Gates was seen with Hurd at the Sun Valley Conference in Idaho, an annual private business gathering where Bill used to bring Melinda. As of November 2022, Melinda was reportedly dating Jon Du Pre, a former Fox News reporter. It’s unclear if they are still together.

Bill Gates and Paula Hurd
Bill Gates and Paula Hurd at the Allen & Company Sun Valley Conference on July 13, 2023 in Sun Valley, Idaho. Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

Melinda French Gates Decides to Co-Run Family Foundation With Bill Gates