Bill and Melinda Gates answer 'tough questions' in annual letter

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Addressing the concerns of how impactful the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has been at tackling education, the two have opted to post a lengthy 13-page letter as well as a reference to a recent interview of the foundation's overall optimism for the future, despite growing geological and economic turmoil.

Wealth opens doors that are closed to most people, Melinda Gates wrote.

"Behind the scenes, these are the tough, tough questions that people are asking us, and yeah, we have to wrestle with them ourselves", Melinda Gates said in the February 1 interview.

As to President Trump, Bill writes that questions about the US leader and the effect of his policies come up "more often than all the other topics in this letter combined".

During the 2016 election campaign against Democrat presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, Trump was criticized for insulting women, and for his remarks, captured on video, in which he bragged about groping them. Since 2009, the couple has published such correspondence with the world about their philanthropic work and lessons learned each year.

"There have been some interesting tip-offs about where they're heading or their perspectives on things", said David Callahan, the founder and editor of Inside Philanthropy, a news site about charitable giving.

"A lot, but not as much as either of us would like", Bill Gates answered.

"I want to make it OK for women to talk about their real experience", she said.

They open the letter by noting that while the majority of headlines focus on the negative, they see a world that's getting better, citing that the number of children who die every year has been cut in half since 1990 and extreme poverty has declined by almost half in just 20 years. "I think it's a long time coming that the sexual harassment stuff worldwide comes out".

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And while the Microsoft co-founder loves to tuck into a good book about social progress (or five), he's also mindful of the criticism or scepticism sometimes directed at the massively wealthy foundation headed up by he and his wife.

Bill Gates added that while large corporates have the expertise, they often lack the incentive to build solutions for "poor people" due to the lack of return on investment.

The Gates made the statement in their annual letter answering the "10 toughest questions" they had received.

"The world is not a safer place when more people are sick or hungry", Gates added.

A White House spokesman did not respond to requests for comment. Last year, the White House tried to reduce foreign aid by one-third, but Congress did not approve the cuts.

Their approach to giving has shifted the philanthropy world as a whole.

Gates said although "we disagree with this administration more than the others we've met with", it's still important to work together whenever possible.

"We keep talking to them because if the United States cuts back on its investments overseas, people in other countries will die, and Americans will be worse off", Bill added.

One of the questions in the letter is about what happens when the two of them disagree. Bill's mom was known, and his dad still is known, for showing up to advocate for a dizzying number of important causes and support more local organizations than you can count.

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