Signals | February 16, 2017

Bill and Melinda Gates: Why saving children’s lives is the best deal in philanthropy

The team at


In December, he asked for a report. “I’m not the only one who’d like to read it,” Buffett wrote. The Gates’ response is chock full of data, not just about how the foundation is doing, but how the world is doing. Here are the numbers they watch:

  • 122 million. That’s the number of children’s lives saved since 1990. Fewer children under the age of five are dying each year. That means fewer families – and countries – in poverty. “When a mother can choose how many children to have, her children are healthier, they’re better nourished, their mental capacities are higher—and parents have more time and money to spend on each child’s health and schooling,” Bill wrote. “Saving children’s lives is the best deal in philanthropy.”
  • 86 percent. That’s the percentage of children worldwide who receive basic vaccines. Vaccines are “the best deal within the deal,” writes Melinda. Vaccines are the biggest reason for the drop in child mortality. For every dollar spent on immunizations, says Bill, reaps $44 in economic benefit.

Photo credit: Seth Wenig/AP