Monday, January 26, 2015

The Bill and Melinda Gates Annual Letter – Making a Big Bet on the Future and Asking Us to Join In

Bill and Melinda Gates write a personal annual letter - separate from their Foundation’s Annual Report every January.  This is the 15th year of the foundation and they say that they started with the bet that by backing innovative work in health and education they could help dramatically reduce inequity.  They are excited by the level of progress made and this year they are doubling down on the bet. Rather than rest on their laurels, this year they are inviting all of us to join them in making their bet of the future a success.

The theme for this year’s letter: Our Big Bet: The lives of people in poor countries will improve faster in the next 15 years than in any other time in history. And their lives will improve more than anyone else’s.  
The four areas that are part of this bet are health, farming, banking and education.  Some  key specifics of the bet are:
   1.       Child deaths will go down and more diseases will be wiped out
   2.      Africa will be able to feed itself
   3.      Mobile banking will help the poor transform their lives
   4.      Better software will revolutionize learning

Very much like Bill and Melinda there are specifics – both of accomplishment in the last 15 years and expectation for the next 15 for each of these categories.
The letter ends with a call for each of us to join in as a Global Citizen at . It is time again this year for the world leaders to meet to set goals and make commitments to make the world a better place 15 years from now.  Bill and Melinda are using their influential annual letter to encourage all of us to sign up and be part of the global citizen team supporting the goals and staying with the movement to meet the commitments made.

To be fair, the Gates' letter is taking some heat for being so upbeat and not providing more balance of the realities and enormity of what is required to make this happen.  But I must say, we have enough of that "it is too overwhelming" information and it is good to have this clean, visionary, "it really can happen" view.  They are familiar with knowing what can happen if you set goals.  First, you have to have the vision.  Here it is.
This year’s letter is different than the ones in the past.  Bill and Melinda are taking the next great leap in their journey to make the world a better and more equitable place.  They have already gotten billionaires to take the Giving Pledge which gave a huge boost and changed philosophy about how the rich give.  Now the Gates are asking all of us to join in and be part of this effort to bring about global change.  I’m in.  It’s a great idea.

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