Melinda French Gates, her ex-husband Bill Gates, offered a timetable this week for the future development of the Gates Foundation that is different from the one he had set last month.
Fortune’s French Gates spoke at the Most Powerful Women Summit in California Tuesday and stated that her foundation, which is based in Seattle, would operate for 20 years beyond the passing of Bill Gates or herself.
“Just to be clear, the governance documents of the foundation, which I’m a cosignatory on as co-chair, say that it will last until 20 years after the death of the last of us. So that is the current state and plan,” French Gates said, as reported by Fortune.
Talking at a different place Fortune event last month, Bill Gates said that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation would shutter in 2047.
“That’s probably the period of time where Melinda and I will be around to help make sure it stays on track,” Gates said at the Forbes 400 Philanthropy Summit in New York City. “We think spending all the money in that timeframe makes sense. So we’ll be shifting money over more and more, we committed to raise the spend level up.”
At the time of Gates’ announcement in September, a foundation spokesperson also cited the governing documents, which state that the foundation’s assets “are to be distributed within 20 years of the death of the last of Bill, Melinda, or Warren [Buffet].”
Co-chairs Gates and French Gates have the option of working with the foundation’s governing board to increase their spending levels or modify the governing documents, the spokesperson added in an email to GeekWire.
The future of the Gates Foundation was called into question following last year’s divorce of its namesake co-leaders. In July 2021 the foundation announced a two-year trial period to see how effectively the pair could work together.
French Gates made a strong statement at this conference, reaffirming her dedication to the foundation.
“My values are baked into that institution,” she said. “And so what I know is that I have to show up as my best self every single day.”
Globally focused foundation on health, it has over $70 billion of assets and have given out $65.6 million since its launch in 2000. This foundation, which addresses poverty and education issues, also has assets of more than $70 billion. It recently announced that its annual giving would rise to $9 billion by 2026 from $6 billion.
Gates and French Gates will be 91 if the foundation is completed by 2047.
Buffett (92) has given $35.7 billion to this foundation.