Bill Gates says he and his ex-wife, Melinda French Gates, plan to run foundation together for 25 more years

  • Bill Gates and ex-wife Melinda French Gates hope to keep their foundation running for 25 more years, at which point he’ll be 91 and French Gates will be 83.
  • “We think spending all the money in that time frame makes sense,” Gates told Forbes.
  • He says they’ll be focused on infectious diseases with the aim to “bring those largely to an end.”

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has been around for 25 years, and Bill Gates says that’s just its halfway mark.

Gates and Melinda French Gates established the philanthropic organization in 2000. They were married at the time but have since divorced.

“The goal for the foundation is to run for another 25 years,” Gates said in the keynote conversation at this year’s Forbes 400 Summit on Philanthropy. “That’s probably the period of time where Melinda and I will be around to help make sure it stays on track.”

In 25 years, Gates will be 91 years old, and French Gates will be 83. Alongside Warren Buffett, Gates and French Gates in 2010 created the Giving Pledge, which asks billionaires to publicly commit to give most of their wealth away to philanthropic efforts either during their lifetimes or in their wills.

“We think spending all the money in that timeframe makes sense,” Gates continued to Forbes. “So we’ll be shifting money over more and more, we committed to raise the spend level up.”

In that time, they will “try and bring infectious disease, or all of the diseases that make the world inequitable, to bring those largely to an end, either through eradication or getting them down to very low levels,” Gates said.

Earlier this week, the foundation announced a commitment of $912 million to the Global Fund to help tackle AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria.

Gates predicted a pandemic was coming for years before COVID-19 struck, saying in a 2015 Ted Talk that the world was “not ready for the next epidemic.” Earlier this year, he called for a global task force to monitor for future pandemics, and in May, he released a book called “How to Prevent the Next Pandemic.”