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Melinda French Gates steps down from Foundation, offers grants for mental health

Bill Gates / YouTube

EL PASO, Texas (KVIA) — Melinda French Gates, the ex-wife of programmer Bill Gates, has announced her resignation from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation effective June 7. She now plans to donate large amounts of money to different women's causes -- including women's mental health.

In an op-ed written for the New York Times, French Gates said that her focus in the past has mostly been on areas outside the United States. However, she hopes to put more money into women's causes in the USA, citing a lack of money and support for many organizations within the country.

One of these areas is mental health, something the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Goalkeepers has been working on for some time.

While specifics have been somewhat unclear, new details are coming to light on how she plans to donate in the near future -- many appear to be focused on women's causes.

French Gates says she plans to give over a billion dollars from now until 2026 advancing women's issues globally, through the Pivotal Ventures organization, which is owned by French Gates. That includes more than $200 million to reproductive rights causes. Other funds will go to pay-gap inequalities, and more than $250 million will go to mental and physical health initiatives.

The $250 million for mental and physical health will be "...awarded through an open call, launching later this fall, with Lever for Change to identify organizations working to improve women’s mental and physical health worldwide," the Pivotal Ventures website states.

"For too long, a lack of money has forced  organizations  fighting for women's rights into a defensive posture while the enemies of progress play offense," the website quotes French Gates. "I want to help even the match."

Her organization has been working on mental health options for younger people, finding their voice, using technology and researching school challenges.

The National Institute of Mental Health says that women often experience depression, anxiety and anxiety disorders more commonly than men. In addition, they have their own unique challenges especially around menstruation and pregnancy.

The Office of Women's Health says that 1 in 5 American women experienced a mental health condition in the past year.

Avery Martinez covers mental health in the Borderland as part of ABC-7’s Be Mindful initiative. He is also a Report for America corps member. RFA places talented, emerging journalists in newsrooms like ABC-7’s to report on under-covered issues and communities. Report for America is an initiative of The GroundTruth Project, an award-winning nonprofit journalism organization dedicated to rebuilding journalism from the ground up.

Article Topic Follows: Be Mindful

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Avery Martinez


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