The 13-page letter from Bill and Melinda, out today, begins with a defense of their optimistic outlook that the world is getting better, while some might argue that growing climate change, massive refugee crises and uncertainty around the Trump administration suggest otherwise.
It's an ever-pertinent question when it comes to philanthropy, and Bill says there are two main reasons why he and Melinda pour their time, effort, and funds into the Foundation. "And it's not fair that our wealth opens doors that are closed to most people", Melinda Gates wrote.
For instance, while running for president, Trump floated the idea of asking Gates to help close "that internet up in some way" to curb communications by terrorists online.
In terms of education, the Gates Foundation primarily targets high school-related endeavors and also supports early learning and postsecondary education.
"Cash-strapped school districts are more likely to divert money and talent toward ideas they think we will fund", Melinda said.
On the couple's global wealth and influence, Melinda wrote: "It's not fair that we have so much wealth when billions of others have so little".
Their vast wealth, privilege, and influence is one reason why they launched the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, they wrote.
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"When we cut funding for the programs that are keeping women and children alive, it sends a signal to the world that we do not care about their lives or futures", she said in the statement, according to Time.
"We are partners in both senses that people use the word these days: at home and at work".
"If we think it's unfair that we have so much wealth, why don't we give it all to the government?"
And speaking to this criticism of the Foundation, Bill said while they do their best to encourage feedback, many critics don't speak up because "they don't want to risk losing money".
"I believe one of the duties of the president of the United States is to role model American values in the world", Melinda Gates wrote.
"It's always been important to us that we are equal partners in our foundation's work".
Though Gates admitted that we "disagree with this administration more than the others we've met with", he reiterated the need to "work together whenever possible". They also create United States jobs.
One of the questions in the letter is about what happens when the two of them disagree. First, we agree on basic values.... "Equality is an important national principle", she wrote.
Christopher Lubienski, an education policy expert who studies philanthropy, said he found the couple's honesty refreshing but noted their foundation's overall approach means it will continue to systematically influence education reform. An analysis by the Institute for Policy Studies estimated that America's three richest people - Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, have more money than the 160 million Americans at the bottom of the economic ladder combined.