By Will Fifield
ALL YOU HAVE to do is read a newspa- per or listen to the radio to be reminded that extreme poverty and rampant health risks are an everyday part of life for most of the world’s population. According to World Bank estimates, more than 2. 5 billion people—about 15 percent of the people in the world—earn less than they need to live at even the most basic subsistence level. On most days, the pressing topic for these families is finding enough food to eat. The World
© BILL & MELINDA GATES FOUNDATION/ FREDERIC COURBET
Health Organization reports that, in
2010, more than 7. 5 million children
under the age of 5 died, many from
treatable ailments such as pneumonia
and diarrhea, others from maladies such
as malaria, measles and HIV/AIDS.
Jeff Raikes (right top
and center left) meets
with other agencies to
work toward improving
health and sanitation
conditions at the Kibera
slum in Nairobi, Kenya.
The good news is that many powerful
charities work tirelessly all over the world
to provide much-needed help in countries
with little money, almost no healthcare and
even less hope. The Bill & Melinda Gates
Foundation is one of these bright lights
shining in some of the darkest corners in
the world, including the United States.
With more than $36.2 billion in its trust
donated by Bill and Melinda Gates and
investor/philanthropist Warren Buffett, it is
the largest philanthropic organization in
the world. In 2011 alone, the foundation
paid $3.4 billion in grants to organizations
that work in one of its focus areas: global
health, global development and education.
Since it was established in 2000, the foun-