For years, Bill Gates was content to concentrate on Microsoft
and kept postponing his father's and wife's attempts to nudge him towards
charity. What little he did contribute was solely in donating Microsoft
technology, which many saw as a selfish way to add to
Microsoft's dominance. But a few years ago he had a change of heart.
At his wife's urging, he saw firsthand the horrors that continue to plague the
developing world - problems that reach far deeper than computer literacy.
So he and his wife started a foundation, one that instantly had more
money than any charitable organization in history.
But more money
would do little good in the hands of some charities, often infamous
for their inefficiency. The key innovation here is their ability to run
the Foundation using the private tech sector as an model - invest small amounts of
money in many diverse technological innovations, and concentrate on the
worst problems first, problems so basic that they affect everything else
- health and education. So far, they've had incredible success.