The New York Times - January 26, 2012
In a show of faith in the faltering Global Fund to Fight AIDS,
Tuberculosis and Malaria, Bill Gates donated $750 million to the
fund on Thursday.
The donation was made as a promissory note intended to tide the
fund over regular cash shortages.
Mr. Gates, who made the announcement at the World Economic Forum
in Davos, Switzerland, said tough economic times were "no excuse
for cutting aid to the world's poorest," and called the fund one
of the "most effective" entities to which the Bill and Melinda
Gates Foundation donates.
The Global Fund, which pays for AIDS drugs for more than 3
million poor people, has distributed more than 200 million
mosquito nets and says it has prevented more than 4 million
tuberculosis deaths. Now observing its 10th anniversary, it has
been struggling to raise
last fund-raising drive fell more than $1 billion short of the
$13 billion the fund said it needed to continue existing grants.
It recently said it could not make new ones.
Some government donors have backed away, either because of their
own budget crises or because of thefts of the fund's money in
different countries. While not large, the thefts have made
persistent headlines and been seized on by opponents of foreign
Mr. Gates has argued that a certain level of theft is inevitable
in foreign aid and that the overall good outweighs that. Although
national governments often make bigger donations, his foundation
is a powerful force in global health both because of its wealth
and because it speaks with one voice -- or, more accurately, with
his voice and that of his wife.
"It's particularly important that we got a big whopping vote of
confidence from a guy who is thought to have business sense,"
said Jon Liden, a spokesman for the fund.
Before the fund can make a new grant, Mr. Liden said, its own
rules require it to have enough money in the bank to cover at
least two years of expenses. Mr. Gates's promissory note "counts
as cash in the bank," the fund said in a press release on its Web
The fund has also experienced inner turmoil. Its executive
director, Dr. Michel Kazatchkine, resigned[www.aegis.org/news/nyt/2012/NYT120105.html] on Tuesday after the
board split his job in half and appointed a manager to run
day-to-day operations, essentially leaving him to raise funds and
serve as an advocate.
Endorsing AIDS treatments represents something of a shift for Mr.
Gates. Although he has given $650 million to the fund in the
past, he has preferred to search for radical breakthroughs like a
vaccine for H.I.V., which causes AIDS, arguing that others could
pay for supplies like antiretroviral drugs.