Boston Globe Examines Gates Foundation's Funding Approach, Effect on Health Research
October 24, 2006
The Boston Globe on Sunday examined the funding approach of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which has a $31.9 billion endowment and a commitment of $30 billion from Berkshire Hathaway Chair Warren Buffett. According to people involved in the Boston research community, the influence of the Gates Foundation can be seen in two ways: its "willingness to back long-term research at a time when many funding sources ... have shifted their focus to shorter-term projects" and its funding of "projects aimed at solving health problems in the developing world," the Globe reports. For example, the Gates Foundation over the summer pledged $2 million to support an HIV prevention and treatment training program run by Partners in Health in Rwanda, and it previously pledged $44.7 million to PIH for tuberculosis research in Peru and Russia. The Gates Foundation also has pledged $2.5 million to the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard to support the creation of a genetic map of malaria. "What the Gates Foundation has done is to come into the research marketplace with a new approach," Global Health Council CEO Nils Daulaire said, adding, "It's beginning to correct the market failure in research and development for the past 50 years: People most in need of product -- drugs and technology for better health -- have no purchasing power." According to Jim Yong Kim, founding trustee and former executive director of Partners in Health, "Bill and Melinda Gates are fundamentally changing the entire field of global health. They're changing the way we think about what is and is not possible." Groups that have not received funding from the Gates Foundation or that are not involved in its "core areas of interest" -- health and education -- also are "being drawn to the magnetic new force in research underwriting," according to the Globe (Weisman, Boston Globe, 10/22).
This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.