Thursday, March 29, 2007

The Heart at the Heart of the Gates Foundation

I went from working as a Program Manager in Microsoft's education department to working in a partnership with the Gates Foundation (I don't work for them, but 100% of our work is with them), so I have what might be considered a somewhat unique perspective on Gates-run companies.

I can't even begin to tell you how different Microsoft and the Gates Foundation are! This exemplifies that difference in a way that I could never explain more vividly:

We're working with the Gates Foundation in planning the launch of the website were producing for them. This will take place in July as part of a bigger conference for Gates Foundation grantees from around the world. In planning specifics, we were looking at various give-away options -- you know, the typical freebees you get at conference exhibit booths. We mentioned various options to the Foundation representative -- things spanning from pencils to jumpdrives.
The official Gates Foundation policy, it turns out, is that they frown on spending any money on silly trinkets and the like "when that money could go to vaccines."

I'm newly inspired... and just wish I could work more closely to the Foundation's actual mission. My day-to-day responsibilities are so far removed from the details of carrying out that mission! It's frustrating -- and yet I am grateful to be even this close to really helping to make a difference.

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1 comment:

sandy said...

I just 'stumbled' to your blog while I was reading Richard's "German Diary". From what I've read so far, your current (as well as your former, by the way) work seems to be quite interesting; keep writing about it...

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