Get All Access for $5/mo

Melinda French Gates Reveals Her Next Move After Leaving Gates Foundation: 'Set Your Own Agenda or Someone Else Will Set It For You' French Gates announced that she is donating $1 billion over the next two years.

By Sherin Shibu Edited by Melissa Malamut

Key Takeaways

  • Melinda French Gates is leaving the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation next week.
  • She announced on Tuesday that she is giving $1 billion over the next two years to organizations advocating for women.
  • French Gates has already started sending new grants through her organization, Pivotal.

In an op-ed published in the New York Times on Tuesday, Melinda French Gates gave a glimpse into the next stage of her philanthropic efforts.

She is departing the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation next week, which she co-founded in 2000, and announced that she is giving $1 billion over the next two years to organizations advocating for women.

"Set your own agenda, or someone else will set it for you," French Gates stated as a reason for leaving the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and spearheading new efforts.

Related: Melinda French Gates Resigns as Co-Chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

"Because I have been given this extraordinary opportunity, I am determined to do everything I can to seize it and to set an agenda that helps other women and girls set theirs, too," French Gates wrote.

French Gates has already started sending new grants through her organization, Pivotal, as part of the $1 billion committed. She also created a 12-person group consisting of top minds in women's health to distribute a $20 million fund to women's causes as they see fit.

One group member, Jacinda Ardern, was the former prime minister of New Zealand while another, Allyson Felix, is the most decorated track and field athlete in history.

American philanthropist Melinda French Gates. (Photo by Mustafa Yalcin/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

On Tuesday, The 19th, an independent, nonprofit newsroom dedicated to gender, politics, and policy reporting, shared that it received a three-year, multi-million dollar grant from Pivotal.

A separate effort is a $250 million initiative focused on women's mental and physical health that French Gates plans to introduce in the fall.

"For too long, a lack of money has forced organizations fighting for women's rights into a defensive posture while the enemies of progress play offense," French Gates wrote. "I want to help even the match."

The global fund will focus on grassroots organizations with personal ties to the issues and work with groups including the National Women's Law Center, the National Domestic Workers Alliance, and the Center for Reproductive Rights.

French Gates has been an advocate for women's health for decades. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation pledged $200 million last year to fund healthcare.

Read: Bill Gates Recommends These Books for Your Summer Reading List

Sherin Shibu

Entrepreneur Staff

News Reporter

Sherin Shibu is a business news reporter at She previously worked for PCMag, Business Insider, The Messenger, and ZDNET as a reporter and copyeditor. Her areas of coverage encompass tech, business, strategy, finance, and even space. She is a Columbia University graduate.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Editor's Pick


How to Close the Trust Gap Between You and Your Team — 5 Strategies for Leaders

Trust is tanking in your workplace. Here's how to fix it and become the boss your team needs to succeed.

Health & Wellness

Get a Year of Unlimited Yoga Class Downloads for Only $23 Through June 17

Regular exercise has been proven to increase energy and focus, both of which are valuable to entrepreneurs and well-known benefits of yoga.

Growing a Business

He Immigrated to the U.S. and Got a Job at McDonald's — Then His Aversion to Being 'Too Comfortable' Led to a Fast-Growing Company That's Hard to Miss

Voyo Popovic launched his moving and storage company in 2018 — and he's been innovating in the industry ever since.

Business News

'Passing By Wide Margins': Elon Musk Celebrates His 'Guaranteed Win' of the Highest Pay Package in U.S. Corporate History

Musk's Tesla pay package is almost 140 times higher than the annual pay of other high-performing CEOs.

Starting a Business

I Left the Corporate World to Start a Chicken Coop Business — Here Are 3 Valuable Lessons I Learned Along the Way

Board meetings were traded for barnyards as a thriving new venture hatched.

Business Culture

Why Remote Work Policies Are Good For the Environment

Remote work policies are crucial for ESG guidelines. Embracing remote work can positively impact your business and employees.