Having already given more than $28 billion in charitable donations and pledged to give 99% of his net worth over the course of his lifetime, few of the world’s financial elite use their wealth for good the way Bill Gates does.
Bill Gates is passionate about using his fortune to help the less-fortunate. Instead of writing checks, he has used his money to educate and empower the disadvantaged and the impoverished so that they can lead self-sustaining, purposeful lives. Bill Gates doesn’t just help individuals, rather he helps to build communities who support each other.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
Bill Gates started the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation with his wife, Melinda, in the year 2000. Since then, they have been committed to improving the health, economy, and education of those who need it most in both the US and around the World. The foundation has many programs, each with the ultimate goal of helping people help themselves through either better education or better health. (1) (2)
Access to Education
Bill and Melinda Gates believe that education is key to lifting people out of poverty. (3)
K-12 and Post-Secondary Program works with teachers, policymakers, parents, and communities to ensure all students have the tools they need to succeed, with the ultimate goal of increasing the number of university graduates. Read more on the K-12 program here and the Post-secondary program here.
The Family Planning Initiative educates women on family planning and help them make informed decisions on having children. Through education and providing access to various methods of birth control, the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation is helping to reduce rates of unwanted pregnancies, maternal, and new born deaths, as well as provide more economic opportunity for women. Read more on family planning initiatives here.
Access to Quality Health Care
The other cornerstone of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is access to quality health care. They believe that when you improve a person’s health and well-being, you empower them to pull themselves out of the cycle of poverty and make change for future generations. (3)
The nutrition program aims to reduce rates childhood death by focusing on nutrition for women and children. They believe that a healthy mother leads to a healthy child, allowing an entire generation to thrive and live productive lives. Read more on the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Nutrition program here and the mother and child program here.
The health care and vaccine program works with various partners to:
Partnered with governments, the public and private sector, they are helping to develop and deliver life-saving drugs, vaccines, and health care technology to the people who need it most. Read more about the Bill and Melinda Gates Vaccine program here and their HIV program here.
The Debate on Vaccines
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has focused many of its efforts on delivering vaccines to poverty-stricken areas of the world, however not without controversy.
There is much debate around the safety and efficacy of vaccines. While most scientists and doctors agree that vaccines are safe and an important part of disease prevention and eradication, there is still much fear around their long-term effects and many negative claims being made against vaccines. It is important for you to do your own research and speak with your doctor to determine what vaccines are right for you and your family.
3 Common Myths about Vaccines
1. Vaccines contain Mercury
Mercury, like all elements on the periodic table, can be found in many forms. Certain vaccines, such as the flu shot, may contain a preservative called thimerosal, which breaks down to ethylmercury once inside your body. The key here is it is the ethyl- part. It is confused with methylmercury, which is toxic in high amounts. Ethylmercury has been studied and found to be safe with the exception of infants. The flu shot and other ehtylmercury-containing vaccines are not recommended for babies. (4)
In the United States, no vaccines contain mercury, antifreeze, detergent, or aluminum and thimerosal-free flu vaccines are available. (4)
2. Vaccines and Autism
Since 2003, nine studies either funded or conducted by the CDC were done to determine if vaccines cause Autism in children. None of these studies have been able to link vaccines directly to autism, and new studies are continuing to be done to ensure the safety and efficacy of every vaccine that is or will be available. (5)
3. Vaccines make you more susceptible to disease
With certain vaccines that contain live strains, some skin reactions are possible immediately after an injection, and those who have compromised immune system are at higher risk for complications. Most vaccines, including the flu shot, do not contain live strains and won’t make you sick. Again, it is important to do your research and talk to your doctor before any immunizations to be sure the vaccine is the right decision for you. (4)
So basically, here’s what we know so far: Vaccines have saved millions of lives and have proven to be effective in preventing and fighting disease. At the Hearty Soul, we are aware of recent controversy and will publish up-to-date scientific research as it is made available. Based on current studies, the claims made against vaccines cannot be verified, however we are aware of the anecdotal evidence that is still valuable, and are on the look-out for further information that supports it.
Thanks to people like Bill Gates who use their wealth to benefit the greater good, thousands of women, children, and families lives have been improved. We commend Bill Gates and all those involved with The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for what they have achieved so far, and are excited to see what they will achieve in the future.
Visit here to get involved with any of The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation initiatives.