Computer Programmer, Entrepreneur, and Philanthropist
Who is the Richest Man in the world? Right now it’s Bill Gates, who started Microsoft, the world’s largest personal computer company. Here’s an example of how much money this guy has – he made $15 billion dollars in only one year! So he’s good at making money, and he’s good at computer programming, but he is also really good at sharing his money.
Gates learned how to program computers when he was only 13 years old. At 14, his school asked him to write a program to schedule students in classes. He wrote the program so that all of the most interesting girls were in his classes. When he was 17, he started a business with his friend Paul Allen, programming traffic counters. Many years later, he and Allen started Microsoft together.
Gates really admired David Rockefeller and the Rockefeller family, who used their money to help solve global problems that governments and other organizations are not helping with. He sold some of his Microsoft stock in 1994 to start a charitable organization – it soon became the richest foundation in the world. As of 2007, after giving away over $28 billion dollars to charity, Bill and Melinda Gates was not only the richest people in the world, they were the second-most generous people in the United States (Warren Buffet was the first). Their plans are to donate 95% of their wealth to charity.
Where is all of this money going? The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation works in four areas: making healthcare better, reducing extreme poverty all over the world, making education and information technology easier for people to connect within America. Because it is so large, it gives money to a lot of different programs.
The foundation does things like providing microloans (very small amount of money) to women who want to start their own businesses in Latin America, helps figure out how to grow more rice to feed hungry people, makes sure people in Africa and Asia have clean water to drink, and helps victims of earthquakes.
Bill Gates and his wife Melinda, have made a huge difference in thousands of people’s lives all over the world with the money they have donated.