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Bill Gates reveals why he’s giving away his $90 billion fortune

Bill Gates MelindaScott Olson/Getty Images

  • The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has released its
    annual letter.
  • In the letter, Bill and Melinda say that they give away
    their money because doing so is both meaningful and
  • The pair says they do the work “because it’s our


In 2010, Bill and Melinda Gates started
The Giving Pledge
along with friend (and fellow billionaire)
Warren Buffet.

As part of that effort, they pledged to 
give over half
their wealth to charity during their lifetime or after death. The
Gates family has been making good on this pledge for nearly two
decades through The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which
donates money to improve healthcare and cut down on poverty
across the world, among other things.

In the foundation’s annual
, released this week, Bill Gates explains why he and
Melinda are giving away the Microsoft fortune.

According to Bill, it comes down to two reasons: the work is both
meaningful and fun.

“Even before we got married, we talked about how we would
eventually spend a lot of time on philanthropy. We think that’s a
basic responsibility of anyone with a lot of money. Once you’ve
taken care of yourself and your children, the best use of extra
wealth is to give it back to society,” he wrote in the letter.

Melinda attributes her interest in philanthropy to her upbringing
in the Catholic Church, which taught her to value social justice.
“We both come from families that believed in leaving the world
better than you found it,” she wrote.

Bill and Melinda’s love of the work is easy to see in the way
they discuss their various initiatives on Facebook and in the
Gates Notes blog.
classic example
of this is the video in which Bill takes a
few sips from a device that turns feces into drinking water.)

“At Microsoft, I got deep into computer science. At the
foundation, it’s computer science plus biology, chemistry,
agronomy, and more. I’ll spend hours talking to a crop researcher
or an HIV expert, and then I’ll go home, dying to tell Melinda
what I’ve learned,” Bill wrote in the letter.

has said in the past
that his children won’t be billionaires
since he’s giving so much money away — but that they are heavily
involved in the foundation. 

“Bill and I have been doing this work, more or less full-time,
for 17 years. That’s the majority of our marriage. It’s almost
the entirety of our children’s lives,” Melinda wrote. “We do the
work because it’s our life.”

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