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January 20, 2007

OpEd: Thoughts on the Gates Foundation's Investment Practices

From an OpEd piece I wrote this week:

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is transforming global health care by using its financial heft to alter the economics of fighting disease. Yet having taken on malaria, tuberculosis and AIDS, the foundation says it has met its match in the challenge of investing its assets responsibly.

The Los Angeles Times last week reported that 41 percent of the foundation's assets are invested in corporations operating counter to its mission. Having declined to comment as the Times prepared its articles, after their publication the foundation pledged to perform a comprehensive review of investing practices.

Then the foundation changed its mind. In a letter to the Los Angeles Times, Gates Foundation CEO Patty Stonesifer wrote, "Changes in our investment practices would have little or no impact on these issues." This response is not credible.

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Posted by Jeff on January 20, 2007 at 10:18 PM in Miscellany | Permalink

Comments

What they said:

a) Cheryl Scott (Chief Operating Officer): "You would have to have a staff of 500 people screening investments. We would like to have a staff of 500 people doing program work."

b) Patty Stonesifer (Chief Executive Officer): "Changes in our investment practices would have little or no impact on these issues."

Translation:

a) It's too hard and we don't have the manpower.

b) Who cares? It wouldn't mean anything anyway.


Is it just me, or does it seem that those at the helm of the Gates Foundation can't get their stories straight?

Posted by: shoephone | Jan 21, 2007 1:12:52 AM

xenubarb at dailykos had a good diary about this:

http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2007/1/7/145417/2352

Posted by: none | Jan 22, 2007 2:43:48 PM

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