Booster shot – $2B donation

Microsoft chief Bill Gates and his wife, Melinda, gave $2 billion in the first half of 2001 to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, boosting its assets to $23.5 billion and underscoring his plans to be a big player in global health policy, The Wall Street Journal reported June 7.

The foundation, the biggest in the U.S., has in the past three years become a major new source of funds for global health initiatives, especially in developing and distributing vaccines for diseases affecting developing countries.

The new gift raises questions about the foundation’s possible role at the United Nations General Assembly later this month, the Journal said.

Gates and his wife both have voiced support for the call by U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan for a global fund for $7 billion to $10 billion a year to fight AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis, the Journal said.

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