I’d recently written an article about Bill Gates and his very generous commitment to donate $100 million to help find a cure for Alzheimer’s. Bill Gates is known the world over for being the world’s richest person and co-founding Microsoft; and in recent years, he’s getting much more recognition for becoming one of the world’s leading philanthropists. But Bill is only half of the philanthropic force that is the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the billionaire’s philanthropic branch. So then, who exactly is Melinda Gates?


Born in Dallas, Texas in 1964, Melinda Ann Gates was always supported by her family to pursue a college degree. Early on in her academic career, Melinda showed a deep interest in computers and earned a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Duke University in 1996, and later earned her master’s degree in business administration from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business.


Eventually, Melinda earned a job at Microsoft in 1987 as a product manager, and after 9 years of hard work and determination, she rose through the ranks to become the general manager of information products. The same year, Melinda met Bill and the two hit it off. They dated for about six years before Bill officially proposed and the two were married in 1994.


Since then, Melinda has played a huge role in Bill’s philanthropic endeavors. After combining several pre-existing philanthropic institutions, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation was formed. Initially designed to assist in placing Microsoft products in libraries across the country, Melinda took the foundation and expanded it into something much more important. She assisted in making the foundation focus on improving education around the world.


In 2006, Melinda then restructured the foundation’s goals into three separate departments: worldwide health, global development and U.S. economy and education.


Melinda Gates has helped turn the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation into a worldwide powerhouse in philanthropic endeavors. Through her efforts, the foundation has become one of the world’s leaders in promoting education and worldwide health.


While Bill Gates might be a master behind the computer, Melinda Gates is a master philanthropist.