Melinda Gates, an American philanthropist, and former general manager at Microsoft, has, for many years, maintained her position on Forbes list of the most powerful women as a result of her philanthropic activities as co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. She chairs the foundation with her husband, Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft, who has also been named among the world’s most powerful men for many years in a row.
Founded in the year 2000, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is the largest private charitable foundation in the world with a $40 billion trust endowment as of December 2018.
Melinda Gates’ Age and Early Life
Born Melinda Ann French on the 15th of August, 1964, in Dallas, Texas, the philanthropist is the daughter of Raymond Joseph French Jr. and Elaine Agnes, an aerospace engineer and homemaker respectively. She is the second child of her parents and has an older sister and two younger brothers. Raised in the Catholic faith, Melinda Gates was a student at St. Monica Catholic School, where her excellent academic performance and personal qualities caused her to emerge as the top student of her class. As a 14-year-old girl, her father introduced her to the Apple II and this subsequently kindled her interest in computer games and the BASIC programming language.
Moving on from St. Monica, Melinda Gates enrolled at the Ursuline Academy, a Catholic college preparatory high school for girls located in Dallas, Texas. She graduated from there in 1982 a valedictorian and continued her studies at Duke University, bagging a bachelor’s degree in computer science and economics in 1986. Melinda went further to study in Duke’s Fuqua School of Business from where she earned an MBA in 1987. As a student of the university, she was a member of the Kappa Alpha Theta sorority, Beta Rho Chapter.
Before her graduation, Melinda Gates got her first job, teaching children math and computer programming. By the time she was done with her studies, she was employed as a marketing manager by Microsoft and in carrying out her responsibilities, she led the development of different multimedia products such as Cinemania, Encarta, Publisher, Microsoft Bob, Money, Word, and Expedia.
She was appointed as General Manager of Information Products in the early 1990s and she served in the position until she left the company in 1996.
Melinda Gates is deeply involved in her work as a philanthropist and nothing has so far been mentioned about her having any personal business of her own. This makes it difficult to peg her net worth at any amount. However, she shares an estimated net worth of nearly $110 billion with her husband, who has been the world’s richest person for the past two decades, even though he has slipped to the second spot a number of times.
Melinda Gates’s Kids
Even though she had it all going for her at Microsoft, Melinda Gates had to quit her job to focus on starting and raising her family. She has three children with her husband- two daughters and a son. The first, a daughter named Jennifer Katharine Gates, was born in 1996 while the second, son Rory John Gates, was born in 1999 with the third child/second daughter, Phoebe Adele Gates, following in 2002.
Despite being born into affluence by parents who are at the fore of information technology in the world, the Gates children were not allowed to own cellphones until they turned 14. They were also raised in the Catholic faith just like their mother and busy schedule notwithstanding, Melinda and her husband are very much involved in their children’s lives.
According to Bill, each of their children will inherit only $10 million of their $98.1 billion fortune while the rest goes to charitable causes. This, according to the power couple, is because they do not want their kids to be lazy. Meanwhile, Melinda is raising her children in a sprawling estate, nicknamed Xanadu 2.0., worth about $124 million.
Other Facts About Bill Gates’ Wife
Melinda Gates’ Marriage to Bill
Melinda Gates met her husband Bill in 1987 when she began working in his company. He approached her at a company picnic and asked if she would want to grab dinner (with him) in two weeks and in response, she said his manner of asking her out on a date wasn’t spontaneous enough for her. She, however, gave him her number, asking him to call her.
Bill called her up later that night asking if the call was spontaneous enough for her and yes, it was. The duo began dating afterward and according to Melinda, her mother, in the beginning, did not think it was a good idea to date the CEO. Nevertheless, they kept their relationship quiet at work and ensured their colleagues and family members respected their privacy.
After seven years of dating, Melinda and Bill Gates got wedded on January 1, 1994. The ceremony, which reportedly cost close to $1 million took place on a golf course in what was then Manele Bay Hotel, located on the Hawaiian island of Lanai. In a bid to ensure that the wedding is kept private, Bill Gates booked all the rooms in the hotel. He also booked all the helicopters on the island and this, according to Forbes, was to prevent unwanted visitors from flying over.
Melinda’s Wedding Gift From Her Parent’s In-law
Bill’s parents gave the newlyweds a sculpture of two birds, sitting beside each other and looking towards the sky. It’s been more than two decades after and this rare wedding gift is still very much around. Writing in the couples’ 2018 annual letter, Melinda revealed that the birds were still in front of their house and she thinks about it always because fundamentally, she is looking in the same direction as her husband just like the piece of art.
Conception Of The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
After Melinda Gates got engaged to Bill, they traveled to Africa towards the end of 1993 and in the course of the trip, they came in contact with people living in abject poverty. As they took a walk on a beach in Zanzibar, Tanzania, they began discussing how they could help the lives of others with their fortune; that was how the idea of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation was born.
Positions Of Service
Melinda Gates has been a member of Board of various companies, including the Duke University’s Board of Trustees (1996 to 2003), The Washington Post (2004-present), and Drugstore.com (left in 2006 to concentrate on philanthropy projects). She also attends the yearly conference of the Bilderberg Group.