William Henry Gates III was born on October 28th, 1955 in Seattle, Washington with his two sisters, Kristi and Libby. He was the second child of William Henry Gates II, a Seattle Attorney, and Mary Gates, a schoolteacher, University of Washington regent, and chairwoman of United Way International. Bill Gates attended Lakeside School where he discovered his interest in computers and technology at the age of 13. He well earned his way into Harvard University when he scored a 1590 out of 1600 on his SATs (Strother 7). During college, he created a software called BASIC for the computer system of the Altair miniature computer. During his junior year of college, he dropped out of Harvard University in 1975 (Bourgoin 1). He left Harvard to establish the company Microsoft with co-founder Paul Allen, a former schoolmate of his.
Microsoft was an extremely successful computer company creating numerous software programs to make computers easier to understand. By 1983, 30% of the world’s computers ran on some version of Microsoft’s software (Boyd 31). At age 23, Gates had placed himself at the head of Microsoft, a company, at the time, worth roughly $2.5 million. In 1987, Gates took Microsoft public with $21 per share: Gates withheld 45% of the 24.7 million shares. In 1987, at age 31, Gates became a billionaire. Ironically, he told his college professors he would be a millionaire by the age of 30. During that same year, Gates topped Forbes’s 400 list of wealthiest people in the world. By 1999, his stocks reached an all time high bringing his earnings to a total of $100 billion.
In 1994, Gates established the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Their foundation is mostly focused on major donations to education, world health, and investments for low-income communities (Gale 3). The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is the largest transparently operated private foundation in the world. Many of their primary aims include enhancing healthcare and reducing extreme poverty in third world countries to expand educational opportunities and access to information technology. As of September 2012, their foundation had a donation total of $36.2 billion, making Bill Gates the global leader of philanthropy. Philanthropy means “love of humanity” in the sense of nourishing, developing, and enhancing general human life as we have known it.
In 2010, its founders had started The Commission on Education of Health Professionals for the 21st Century titled as "Transforming education to strengthen health systems in an interdependent world". In 1994, the foundation was originally created as the William H. Gates Foundation with a stock gift of $94 million. In 1999, the foundation was renamed the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. After merging with the Gates Learning Foundation in 2000, Gates gave an additional $126 million. Within the next few years, the foundation’s earnings grew to a total of approximately $2 billion. In June of 2006, Gates announced he planned on devoting much more time on the foundation. His last full day at Microsoft took effect July 31, 2008 (Gale 4).
To maintain its status as one of the most charitable resources, it requires itself to donate at least 5% of its total earnings. With that said, the foundation gives at least $1.5 billion every year. As of 2006, the foundation has been branched into three separate programs: the Global Health Program, Global Development Program, and the United States Program. The Global Health Program donates to research of fatal and spreading diseases such as AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria. As of 2012, over $1.3 billion has been donated to research of said disease. The Global Health Program has also donated to areas of worldwide vaccinations of adults and children, polio eradication, HIV research, and even sanitation improvements.
The Global Development Program combats extreme poverty. Their battles also include help in things such as agricultural development and global special initiatives. Developments in rice research and development of farms in Africa have been mainly pressed in more recent years. The foundation made large donations to natural disaster conflicts such as $3 million given to the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and $500,000 to the 2005 Kashmir earthquake. They have also given $1.2 million to global sanitation and hygiene. The US Program has made contributions to developments of libraries and donations to many minor schools struggling financially (Gale 3).
TIME magazine naked Bill Gates one of the most influential people of the 20th century (Strother 45). They also presented Gates & his wife the title of the 2005 Persons of the Year. Queen Elizabeth II gave Gates the Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire title. His wife and he were awarded Order of the Aztec Eagle by the Mexican government in 2006 for their mass contributions in health & education (Gale 4). In 2010, Gates, his wife, and Warren Buffett created the Giving Pledge: a pledge that other billionaires will donate half of their earnings to charity. As of November of 2012, roughly 91 billionaires signed this pledge, promising to donate their earnings.
It is a major thanks to Bill Gates for his contributions to not only shaping the way computers are made today, but also to helping people who need it, by not being how most people would be if they had such a mass amount of earnings as he and giving over 50% of his makings to others who need it more than he does. His programs provide the care that people need such as vaccinations to modern issued diseases, put food on people’s tables for their families and a roof over their heads, and generally improving how the world functions today. Bill Gates is a prime example of a modern day hero. “Until we're educating every kid in a fantastic way, until every inner city is cleaned up, there is no shortage of things to do.” -Bill Gates