Gates foundation has spent $250m on journalism

Gates Foundation To Provide Additional $250M for Global Health ProgramMicrosoft founder Bill Gates at the opening of the 58th World Health Assembly in Geneva on Monday announced that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will provide an additional $250 million for efforts to solve “some of the world’s knottiest health problems,” the New York Times reports. The money will go to Grand Challenges in Global Health, an initiative that already has received $200 million from the Gates Foundation to establish a competition “intended to entice” scientists, researchers and inventors to find “groundbreaking” solutions to global health issues, according to the Times (Strom, New York Times, 5/17).

But that is not what today’s little piece is about.

This is a tale of four successful people with vision. There are hundreds more. Notably missing are Mark Zuckerberg, Warren Buffett, Elon Musk and Paul Allen. In case Mark, Warren, Elon or Paul, you happen to be reading, please know that you deserve your place in the Hall of Visionaries as soon as it is created.
Everyone knows your stories, though I confess when I met Paul Allen I was the one who must have been under a rock because I did not know at that time who he was (co-founder, Microsoft) and he was so polite he pretended my ignorance was charming or quaint or one of those words that can mean “out of it”.

Gates foundation has spent $250m on journalism

As of today, three vaccine candidates have emerged from the trials with high efficacy rates: Pfizer’s, Moderna’s, and AstraZeneca’s. Two antibody treatments have been authorized for emergency use. Another antiviral has been FDA approved.

The world now has much of the science it needs to end this pandemic, and as regulators start to put their stamp of approval on it, the field of action is widening beyond the lab.
It’s expanding to the factories that will make the drugs, tests, and vaccines; to the warehouses, planes, and refrigerator trucks that will deliver them; to the clinics and health workers that will sit at the end of the supply chain and administer them to patients.

The planet is about to be crisscrossed by a massive anti-covid manufacturing and delivery network. In some places, it’s already up-and-running.

Both are attempts to fill an information gap for the public.

There is, of course, a whole landscape of other relationships between philanthropy and journalism, some of it focused tightly on a single topic and some of it more general. Public broadcasting has for many decades taken sponsorship from philanthropic institutions, and this relationship has not always been without its issues. Readers may remember the flap at WNET concerning the influence wielded by David Koch over the airing of “Park Avenue: Money, Power and the American Dream.” David Koch, who featured prominently in the film, was on the board of—and a large donor to—WNET.
As we wrote in 2013, “The station was publicly pilloried, but that did not stop it from accepting $3.5 million from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, founded by former Enron trader John Arnold, to support its ‘Pension Peril’ series.

He was a young man in his native Jamaica losing money in his first hotel attempt.

Struggling to make ends meet and wanting to impress his well-known father, young Butch picked up the phone in desperation and called his old childhood friend, George Myers, who had relocated to The Bahamas and was now top exec at Resorts (precursor to Atlantis). He was hoping for a secret that would unlock the mystery of success that had alluded him and showed little signs of doing otherwise.

“I can’t tell you what I do or how to run a hotel,” Myers reportedly told him. “But if you come to The Bahamas, you can shadow me for a weekend and see if it helps.” Butch did and it was, he said years later, “the best education you could ever ask for.”

Four brilliant people who have each created an empire that bears their style.

By the end of February, more than 40 African countries had the ability to test for COVID-19.

Today, the big effort to manufacture and deliver these supplies is the ACT-Accelerator, which is operated by organizations like the WHO, Gavi, and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria. For 20 years, they’ve specialized in the task of procuring drugs, vaccines, and other lifesaving science. They also work with lower-income countries to transport them to health centers.
These groups are the ones leading this work while our foundation assists with expertise and funding.

In fact, we cannot even be their main source of funding. The task is too big.

It’s hard to give a sense of scale of the public health effort needed to end the pandemic. The closest analogue might be India’s campaign to vaccinate 400 million kids with the measles-rubella vaccine.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation says it will spend $120 million to boost access to generic versions of drugmaker Merck’s antiviral COVID-19 pill for lower income countries, if the drug gets approved by regulators.

The private foundation said in a statement released Wednesday it hasn’t determined how it will allocate the money, but will use the funds to “support the range of activities required to develop and manufacture generic versions” of the drug, molnupiravir.

Merck has licensed its technology with generic drug manufacturers in India. Under the agreement, the company said it will provide licenses to manufacturers to supply the drug to India and more than 100 other lower- and middle-income countries.

Susan Byrnes has spent her professional career in communications and journalism, with a focus on social impact. She joined the foundation in 2007 to lead communications for the Global Development Program and spent seven years in a variety of communications leadership roles, overseeing all aspects of the foundation’s global communications functions. In 2015, Susan joined foundation grantee Malaria No More as managing director, strategic communications.

Susan returned to the foundation in 2017.

Susan previously spent a decade in journalism, first as a news producer for Italian national television (RAI-Uno) and then as a reporter for The Los Angeles Times. She also worked as a reporter, columnist, and editorial writer at The Seattle Times.

Blakely parlayed her entire savings, $5,000, into the phenomenal sensation of the un-girdle – panties, bras, tank tops – that slim and win. She still jumps up on the boardroom table to try on a new product, see if it works, test for bumps or wrinkles or discomfort and she does not mind if there is a male member of the review team in the room.

Bill Gates did so well when everyone told him he wouldn’t that he and wife Melinda quit as billionaires and now dedicate themselves to making the world a better place. Their foundation has already given over $35bn, more money than many national budgets.

As for Butch Stewart, the affable, gregarious man alternatively referred to as the Cupid of the Caribbean, Daddy Cool or the Master of Marketing, the once struggling novice hotelier heads an empire with five brands and 24 properties in seven countries and more coming on stream all the time.

This is not, of course, the only basis on which philanthropy has been funding journalism. Some foundations give more generally to improve the information flow to a civic environment. The Knight Foundation is a good example of this approach, albeit with a marked attraction for new digital gadgetry over other approaches. Still, the Knight Foundation has made it its business to track the development of the business models of the new wave of nonprofit news sites, and that, as we have mentioned previously, is an enormous service to the field.

Long story short, there is plenty to be concerned about in the relationships between philanthropy and journalism.

At that time, it reported:

To garner attention for the issues it cares about, the foundation has invested millions in training programs for journalists. It funds research on the most effective ways to craft media messages. Gates-backed think tanks turn out media fact sheets and newspaper opinion pieces.

Magazines and scientific journals get Gates money to publish research and articles. Experts coached in Gates-funded programs write columns that appear in media outlets from TheNew York Times to The Huffington Post, while digital portals blur the line between journalism and spin.

The efforts are part of what the foundation calls “advocacy and policy.” Over the past decade, Gates has devoted $1 billion to these programs, which now account for about a tenth of the giant philanthropy’s $3 billion-a-year spending.

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