Melinda Ann French is an award winning philanthropist who has contributed immensely in changing the lives of the disadvantaged through the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation. She worked for Microsoft until 1996 when she left to concentrate on other duties. She has managed to remain top 10 in Forbes List of 100 most powerful women in the world. Since 2000, she has been in the limelight, stating “As I thought about strong women of history, I realized that they had stepped out in some way.”
Melinda Ann French was born on 15th August 1964 in Dallas, Texas.
The award winning philanthropist was born to Raymond Joseph French Jr., an aerospace engineer, and Elaine Agnes Amerland, a homemaker. She was the second born in a family of four children, two girls and two boys.
Melinda went to St Monica Catholic School and was top student in her class. She was introduced to Apple II at the age of 14 by her father and a school teacher who advocated teaching the students at the all-girls school computer science. Through this she developed interest in computer games and BASIC programming language.
In 1982, she graduated valedictorian from Ursuline Academy of Dallas. She then proceeded to Duke University where she earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science and Economics.
In 1987, she got an MBA from Duke’s Fuqua School of Business.
At first, she tutored children in mathematics and computer programming. After graduation, she worked for Microsoft as a marketing manager. In this role, she was in charge of development of multimedia products including Cinemania, Encarta, Publisher, Microsoft Bob, Money, Works (Macintosh) and Word. She worked on Expedia, which is one of the most popular travel booking websites.
In the early 1990s to 1996, she was general manager of information products. In 1996, she left Microsoft.
From 1996 to 2003, she was a member of Duke University’s Board of Trustees. She was also on the Board of Directors at Drugstore.com and left in August 2006 to focus on philanthropy.
In 2015, she founded Pivotal Ventures as a separate, independent organization to identify, help develop and implement innovative solutions to problems affecting women in the US and families.
Melinda released her first book, The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes The World in 2019. Former US president Barack Obama starred in a comedy to promote it. The book shows the failure to acknowledge women’s unpaid work, drawing on female economist Dame Marilyn Waring’s book If Women Counted.
Bill and Melinda began dating in 1987 after meeting at a trade Fair in New York. In 1994, they got married in a private ceremony in Lanai, Hawaii. They have three children: Jennifer, Phone and Rory Gates.
In May 2021, Melinda and Bill Gates announced in a joint statement on social media their decision to divorce, ending their 27 years of marriage and 34 years as a couple.
Jeffrey Epstein Would have been the cause of the breakup?
According to the Wall Street Journal, Melinda was uncomfortable with the relationship between Epstein and Bill Gates and he told her husband as much. Her reservation did not stop the billionaire and the Gates Foundation from engaging the sex predator. This is partly blamed for their divorce which culminated in 2021 and was a long way coming.
A History Of Bad Behaviour
Bill’s past was not squeaky clean as most people thought. He was accused of having an affair with a female engineer at the company while he was married to Melinda prompting the board to ask him to step down as the CEO.
A Microsoft spokesman told the Journal of the relationship and action taken:
A committee of the Board reviewed the concern, aided by an outside law firm to conduct a thorough investigation. Throughout the investigation, Microsoft provided extensive support to the employee who raised the concern,”
Bill Gates admitted to the affair and said it ended amicably 20 years ago.
2002: Award for greatest public service benefiting the disadvantaged, the Jefferson annual awards.
2006: Spanish prince of Asturias Award for International cooperation in recognition of their world impact through charitable giving. Also awarded the Insignia of the order of the Aztec Eagle.
2009: Honorary degree from the University of Cambridge.
2013: UCSF medal
2015: India’s third highest civilian honor padma Bhushan
2016: Awarded presidential medal of freedom by Barack Obama for their philanthropic efforts.
2017: France’s highest national award, the Legion of Honor.
Melinda Gates Net Worth
Her net worth is going to increase tremendously. So far, Bill Gates has transferred stock in stock in Deere & Co. to his ex-wife after their divorce. She has received more than $3 billion. According to lawyers, not all their wealth has been divided meaning Melinda worth will be much more once everything has been settled.