Tales of Transformation.

Gates and friends launched a transformational new donor. Did you notice?

Gates has done it again, with some help from a few like minded billionaires.

About six weeks ago, after three years of due diligence,  Gates (aka Billy) launched the  "Co-Impact" fund. Which is....what?

The "Co-Impact"  fund is a reboot of Billy's "Giving Pledge," a sort of billionaire's club where everyone (171 of them) committed to giving away "most" of their money.  I kid you not. Billy (and Warren and Melinda) convinced 171 of their best billionaire friends to give up most of their money.  Most here means "most" of $800 billion, or over 400 billion. This is all swell, and everyone felt wonderful about wanting to give so much, but truth be told...nothing really happened.   So the "Giving Pledge" seriously needed a reboot. 

Co-Impact is that reboot. It provides grant making infrastructure (The Rockefeller Foundation), a purpose (Education, Health, and Livelihoods), and methodology (support a systems approach), and a clear goal of giving away, get this, $500,000,000 in awards of up to $50,000,000 in 2018 (which started yesterday).  But they are just getting started.  $50m is nothing. 

Wave a magic wand and assume that the 171 billionaires keep their promise and give up half of their wealth, and you magically get to $400b working capital.  Now, the fun part is to stir in the legal requirement that non profits give away 5% of their working capital every year...which means that the Co-Impact fund capitalized at $400b would need to give way...wait for it...  $20 billion annually.  By comparison, the Gates Foundation (and God Bless them...) hand out "only" around $3b annually for global health (see their last 990).   To give you a sense of size here, the entire  US Government provided a total of  $12.8 billion for international health programs in the last fiscal year...a tad over half what the potential is for the Co-Impact fund.    

So, even if there are no new billionaires joining the club, then we're looking at a "super donor" order of magnitude greater than any foundation or government we've ever seen. Now that is transformational.  

To  be continued... 

Happy New Year!


Beatrice BermanComment