The world's richest man is about to become the world's biggest benefactor: Microsoft CEO Bill Gates, currently worth about $100 billion, will soon begin virtually his entire fortune to charities that will fund AIDS and malaria research. The goal is to use the money to rid the world of some of its worst diseases, according to Gates' father, who unveiled the plan this weekend in the London Times. So far, Gates has given away about $350 million through his William H. Gates Foundation, which is managed by his father. The rest will be given away over the course of the CEO's lifetime, with the exception of $20 million, which will be split evenly between each of his children.
"My son is going to have critics all his life because of his wealth," Gates' father. "But I'm optimistic now that we have put to rest any criticism on the basis of his not being sufficiently generous. We've pretty much drowned that out."
"A widely distributed vaccine can help make the goal of a world without AIDS a reality," says Gates. "Melinda and I want our children--and all children--to grow up in a world without AIDS."
In a related move, Gates recently sold off 3 million shares of his stock in Microsoft Corporation, a move that netted the billionaire about $270 million. The William H. Gates Foundation also sold 4.2 million shares of Microsoft stock earlier this year.