The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is the largest transparently-operated  charitable foundation in the world. Founded by Bill Gates, the aim of the foundation is to provide lifesaving health care products and technology for the poorest parts
of the world. The foundation is based in Seattle, Washington and is led by William H. Gates, Sr. (Bill Gates' father) and Patty Stonesifer. It currently has an endowment of approximately $29.1 billion .
Initially funded by Bill Gates with $106 million in 2000, during the
foundation's first two years, funding grew to $2 billion. The B&MG Foundation was endowed by Bill Gates, chairman and founder of Microsoft, and his wife, Melinda Gates in January 2000 through the merger of the Gates Learning Foundation and the William H. Gates Foundation. On June 15, 2006, Gates announced his plans to transition out of a day-to-day role with Microsoft effective July 31, 2008, to allow him to devote more time to working with the foundation.
On June 25, 2006, Warren Buffett, the world's second richest person after Gates, pledged to give the foundation approximately 10 million Berkshire Hathaway Class B shares (worth $30.7 billion on June 23, 2006) spread over twenty annual contributions. Buffet set conditions so that these contributions do not simply increase the foundation's endowment, but effectively
work as a matching contribution, doubling the money the Foundation disperses yearly: "Buffett's gift came with three conditions
for the Gates foundation: Bill or Melinda Gates must be alive and active in its administration; it must continue to qualify
as a charity; and each year it must give away an amount equal to the previous year's Berkshire gift, plus another 5 percent
of net assets. Buffett gave the foundation two years to abide by the third requirement."  The Gates Foundation will receive 5% (500,000) of the shares in 2006, and will receive 5% of the remaining
earmarked shares each year (475,000 in 2007, 451,250 in 2008, and so on). 
Bill and Melinda Gates, along with the singer Bono, were named by TIME as Persons of the Year 2005 for their charitable work. In the case of Bill and Melinda Gates, the work referenced was that of the Bill &
Melinda Gates Foundation. On May 4, 2006, the Foundation received the Prince of Asturias award for International Cooperation.
The foundation's grants have provided funds for underrepresented minority
college scholarships, AIDS prevention, diseases that strike mainly in the Third World, and other causes. The Foundation currently provides 17% (US$86 million in 2006) of the world budget for the
attempted eradication of poliomyelitis (polio). In June 1999, Gates and his wife donated US$5 billion to the foundation. They have donated more than US$100 million to help children suffering from AIDS. On January 26, 2005, it was announced that the Foundation had made a further contribution of US$750 million to the international
Vaccine Fund to help fight diseases such as diphtheria, whooping cough, measles, poliomyelitis and yellow fever. The Gates Foundation has quickly become a major influence upon global health; the approximately $800 million
that the foundation gives every year for global health approaches the annual budget of the United Nation's World Health Organization and is comparable to the funds given to fight infectious disease by the United States Agency for International Development.
As of 2006, the foundation has an endowment of approximately US$26.9 billion. To maintain its status as a charitable foundation, it must donate at least
5% of its assets each year. Thus the donations from the foundation each year would amount to over $1 billion at a minimum.
After Buffet's donation is accounted for, the charity will be required to give out a minimum of $2.8 billion dollars a year,
which averages out to be about $90 every second.
Located in Seattle, with 234 employees.