Last week’s New Yorker had a good profile (not online) of the Gates Foundation – and the man himself. It was a helpful reminder that the Gates Foundation deploys more money toward certain public health initiatives than entire governments or world organizations do…all without any political or economic restrictions. In many respects what the Gates Foundation says is more important than what the World Health Organization does.
There’s something really appealing about Gates’ work here, and it has nothing to do with the money. It’s about applying the same obsessive nature that made him successful in business and applying it to philanthropy. So often, you see rich people throw around their money to check the "doing good" box. Rare do you see the intellectual brainpower devoted to the cause. Gates could so easily get away with simply being the world’s #1 philanthropist in a pure monetary sense.
Imagine if everyone on Forbes’ Top 20 richest list all applied the same amount of intellectual vigor that Gates does to their philanthropy. Imagine the impact.