Here, AFP takes a look at the Gates Foundation, from how it works and what projects it finances, to its impact on the pandemic and how the non-profit may be impacted by the split.
Its mission, and vast budget
The couple say the idea for the foundation came to them as young parents when they read a newspaper article about millions of children in developing countries dying from easily treatable illnesses such as diarrhea and pneumonia.
In 2000, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation was launched to fight disease and poverty around the world. In the United States, an initial focus on providing access to computers and the internet was expanded to improving education in general.
With 1,600 staff members in offices around the world, the Gates Foundation gives away roughly $5 billion each year in areas like global public health and development.
The foundation says it has spent $54.8 billion since its inception.
More than $2 billion has gone towards fighting malaria alone with the aim of eradicating the mosquito-borne disease within a generation.
The charity has also contributed several billion dollars towards a global campaign to end polio through the widespread immunization of children. It donated more than $50 million during the Ebola outbreak in 2014.
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