Bill GatesMany people, including myself, criticize the excesses of corporate America. So it's only fair that I give someone plaudits who earns it. The foundation of Microsoft boss Bill Gates made a donation this week of $750 million to address the shortage of vaccinations in poor countries. This was after the foundation made a similar gift in 1999.
Like any well-crafted large donation, it spurred other donations. Notes The Washington Post, Over the past five years, the Vaccine Fund [created by the original Gates' donation] has raised $580 million from other sources, notably $219 million from the United States and $150 million from Norway. Yesterday the announcement of a second Gates grant was accompanied by a promise of a further $290 million from Norway.
Some will dismiss this as merely public relations, as a controversial figure trying to improve his image. As cynical as I can be sometimes, I frankly don't care. I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt simply because of the good it's doing. Besides, it's an awful high sum for it to be merely a PR expense.
Thanks to the Vaccine Fund, an extra 42 million people have already received the hepatitis B vaccine, and vaccines for yellow fever, influenza and other killers have also had their reach extended. As a result, an estimated 670,000 deaths have been prevented.
So to Bill Gates: nice job. You've got a ton of money and you're using some of it to help millions of people around the world. I'll tip my cap to that and hope it spurs more people do the same.