Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates said Wednesday he plans to vacate the list of the world’s richest people by giving a percentage of his wealth to the philanthropic foundation he shares with ex-wife Melinda French Gates.
With “the support and guidance of our board,” Gates said he will increase the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s spending from $6 billion to $9 billion in 2026 by donating $20 billion of his own money toward its endowment. He is currently worth about $100 billion, according to Forbes.
“As I look to the future, I plan to give virtually all of my wealth to the foundation,” Gates said on Twitter. “I will move down and eventually off the list of the world’s richest people.”
Gates first appeared on the Forbes 400 list in 1986, shortly after Microsoft became a publicly traded company. He held the title of the world’s richest person from 1995 until 2010, then once more from 2013 until 2017 before being dethroned by Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk in subsequent years.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation was established in 2000 to combat world hunger and poverty, help control the spread of diseases, and provide educational funding to students seeking higher education.
One of the biggest donors of the foundation is billionaire investor Warren Buffett. Buffett, who served as a trustee with the foundation for 15 years, has gifted over $36 billion to the organization since 2006, according to the foundation’s website.
Gates’ charitable actions come after what he described as “global setbacks,” including the COVID-19 pandemic, war in Ukraine, and the overturning of Roe v. Wade, which have “left many people discouraged and wondering whether the world is destined to get worse.”
Gates believes he is “obligated to return my resources to society in ways that have the greatest impact for reducing suffering and improving lives.”
“And I hope others in positions of great wealth and privilege will step up in this moment too,” Gates said.