Gotta Love Bill Gates

Many years ago, it was often fashionable to hold Bill Gates in scorn, as the founder and leader of a monopolistic firm that squashed its competition. Today, many folks still have trouble liking the guy -- as his company, Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT  ) , hasn't exactly experienced much shrinkage in the market share department. It still dominates its world -- and our world -- and sour grapes abound.

But these days, if you look at the big Bill Gates picture, you might see a lot to like -- and even admire. One good place to look is the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, started by Gates and his wife and run by his father, among other people, with much involvement from the founders. Gates has amassed more money than anyone else on earth, and it's nothing but heartening to see that he's giving much of it away to improve life on this planet -- for billions of people. And better still, he's begun giving away a lot of money now, having already infused his foundation with billions of dollars.

Here are just a few things the foundation has been up to recently:

  • It is giving $51 million to the New York City Department of Education to start 67 "new small, challenging high schools citywide to prepare underserved students for success in today's demanding economy." More than $15 million in additional funds are supporting other small-schools initiatives.

  • It is donating $168 million to fight malaria in Africa. Gates noted that, "It is unacceptable that 3,000 African children die every day from a largely preventable and treatable disease. Beyond the extraordinary human toll, malaria is one of the greatest barriers to Africa's economic growth, draining national health budgets and deepening poverty."

The Gates Foundation's big ambition (happily linked to big bucks) shares a few goals with our own Foolanthropy tenets, such as high expectations, epic grandeur in its mission, and sustainable solutions.

Click over to the Gates Foundation website to learn more about its operations. And if you'd like to read about five amazing organizations that could use your support, check out the charities the Fool has supported in years past.

If you're now eager to earn lots of money to give away so that you can cure a disease or educate a nation, consider checking out our suiteof investment idea newsletters, each of which delivers several promising stock ideas each month.

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