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Bill and Melinda Gates take on the "tough questions" about their foundation

16 February 2018

Bill and Melinda Gates used their 10th annual letter to answer tough questions about their work at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation - and to defend funding for health work and worldwide aid, just a day after President Donald Trump's budget proposed slashing resources to these areas.

We've been asked that question more than a few times in the 18 years since we started our foundation.

Philanthropists Bill and Melinda Gates say the outrageous nature of the Trump administration make their work more hard.

In his answer to the question 'How are President Trump's policies affecting your foundation's work, ' Gates also spoke about how American foreign aid has been instrumental in fighting disease and poverty around the world. "We keep talking to them because if the USA cuts back on its investments overseas, people in other countries will die, and Americans will be worse off".

"The "America First" world view concerns me", Mr Gates said.

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Our answer? No. It's not fair that we have so much wealth when billions of others have so little.

"Although we disagree with this administration more than the others we've met with, we believe it's still important to work together whenever possible", he writes in the letter.

Is it fair that you have so much influence?

Listing some of the areas where he thinks the foundation's work has made a difference to India, Gates picked "working with the government to introduce new vaccines for children"; "Avahan - which helped to get the HIV epidemic - getting super large; and "partnerships with Serum Institute of India, Bio-E and Bharat Biotech to make vaccines not only for India, but the world".

"We're acutely aware that some development programs in the past were led by people who assumed they knew better than the people they were trying to help".

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When asked if the national reckoning over sexual harassment had affected her investments through Pivotal, Melinda Gates said that it hadn't so far, but that it had encouraged her to use her voice to encourage more women to speak out.

One of the questions in the letter is about what happens when the two of them disagree. The answer may seem counterintuitive, she wrote, but the evidence is clear in historical birth trends from around the world. Even before we got married, we talked about how we would eventually spend a lot of time on philanthropy.

Melinda agreed, and said that the passion the two feel for their actions through the Foundation was born from a desire to leave the world better than they found it, and to "do our part to make the world better".

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Bill and Melinda Gates take on the