The co-chairman of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the co-founder of Microsoft spoke to Hindustan Times over phone on the occasion of the release of their 10th annual letter to the public on work of their foundation, and, in some ways, on their own philanthropic journey. And they make Americans more secure by making poor countries more stable and stopping disease outbreaks before they become pandemics.
Are you imposing your values on other cultures? "They go down", the letter says. "Despite the headlines, we see a world that's getting better". They're answering questions from their foundation's critics. It was held at bgC3, a company that oversees many of Bill Gates' independent projects, including for-profit investments in clean energy.
It's an ever-pertinent question when it comes to philanthropy, and Bill says there are two main reasons why he and Melinda pour their time, effort, and funds into the Foundation. Not long ago, she moved Pivotal to its own private office near her husband's.
Answering the question, Melinda Gates laid the answer out simply: "because they can do things no one else can".
In their tenth annual update for the Gates Foundation, the world's largest charitable entity, the couple said that the American president's plan to "impose severe cuts" on foreign aid would affect the foundation's work.
"The "America First" world view concerns me", Mr Gates said.
Why do you work with corporations?"Although we see a lot of disease and poverty in our workâ€"and many other big problems that need to be solvedâ€"we also see the best of humanity".
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According to Melinda Gates, "We do the work because it's our life". And we use our resources in a very specific way: to test out promising innovations, collect and analyze the data and let businesses and governments scale up and sustain what works.
Melinda Gates also acknowledged that the foundation wields outsized influence because of her family's vast wealth.
"I wish our president would treat people, and especially women, with more respect when he speaks and tweets", she wrote.
A White House spokesman did not respond to requests for comment.
Bill Gates said he was anxious about Trump's pledge to significantly slash foreign aid, which he says is critical to the Gates Foundation's global efforts to combat disease and poverty. He said that he was reassured that Congress had so far resisted the president's demands to cut aid and that he and his wife had increased their visits to Republican members of Congress to stress the importance of maintaining the aid budget. "We've learned over the years that listening and understanding people's needs from their perspective is not only more respectful-it's also more effective", said Melinda Gates. "We keep talking to them because if the U.S. cuts back on its investments overseas, people in other countries will die, and Americans will be worse off".
"What happens when the two of you disagree?": Melinda, answering this question said: "We never disagree". Bill's mom was known, and his dad still is known, for showing up to advocate for a dizzying number of important causes and support more local organizations than you can count.