Gates Foundation: 3 emerging funding priorities you should know

By Manola De Vos 12 October 2015

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation headquarters in Seattle, United States. With annual spending pegged at over $3 billion per year, the foundation plays an instrumental role in setting the global development agenda. Photo by: Nam-ho Park / CC BY

From eradicating infectious diseases to ending global hunger, no development challenge seems too big for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. But what do some of the foundation’s latest and biggest grants say about its strategic direction and priorities?

With annual spending pegged at over $3 billion per year, the Gates Foundation is the largest and most well-known private foundation in the world. The charity plays an instrumental role in setting the global development agenda, and the sheer scale of its grants — which range from $100,000 to more than $150 million — can be game-changing and catalytic for any cause or organization.

Guided by a belief in the “transformative power of technology and science”, the Seattle-based philanthropy usually funds innovative initiatives aimed at tackling persistent global health and development problems. But what really sets the foundation apart is its data-centered grant-making: Development strategies and interventions are selected and designed based on a rigorous, results-driven approach.

To get a better sense of the latest priorities driving the Gateses’ global giving, Devex decided to dig into the numbers. Using the Gates Foundation’s online database, we took a closer look at the biggest global development grants — $5 million and above — disbursed in 2015. Below are three emerging funding trends that we’ve uncovered.

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About the author

Devos manola
Manola De Vos

Manola De Vos is a development analyst for Devex. Based in Manila, she contributes to the Development Insider and Money Matters newsletters. Prior to joining Devex, Manola worked in conflict analysis and political affairs for the United Nations, International Crisis Group and the European Union.


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