With a net worth of more than $90 billion, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates is the second richest person in the world, behind only Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, according to Forbes. He has so much money, in fact, that it has become a full-time job for him, his wife, Melinda, and 1,500 employees of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to give it all away.
So why do the Gates work so hard to give their billions to philanthropy? In the couple's 10th annual letter describing their foundation's charity work released Tuesday, the billionaires opened up about the subject.
It provides purpose
"There are two reasons to do something like this," the letter says, referring to the $4 billion a year the foundation spends in developing countries trying to end child mortality, distribute vaccinations and improve access to education, plus another $500 million it shells out in the United States.
First, "it's meaningful work," according to the letter.
"Even before we got married, we talked about how we would eventually spend a lot of time on philanthropy," writes Bill. "We think that's a basic responsibility of anyone with a lot of money. Once you've taken care of yourself and your children, the best use of extra wealth is to give it back to society."
This is our 10th Annual Letter, and we're marking the occasion by answering 10 tough questions that people ask us.
To that end, the Gates have also co-founded The Giving Pledge with their billionaire buddy Warren Buffett. The platform invites billionaires to commit to giving away the majority of their money to charity.