Supporting work in more than 100 countries, run by 1,211 employees, and with grant payments totaling $30.1 billion, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has become a modern figurehead for advocacy. “Inside the Gates” is a podcast series that provides a glimpse into the grants facilitating the organization’s impactful work.
The grants given by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation range from assisting global development to keeping kids in school in the United States. GAVI Alliance was granted $1.5 billion for expanding childhood immunizations. Gateway to College received $7.28 billion to expand a program that enables colleges to serve students who need remedial academic help.
How does the Foundation decide to whom they want to give their grants? Insights from “Inside the Gates,” as well as a newly streamlined evaluation structure, reveal this process.
The Foundation develops all of their grants and contracts using a four-phase process: (1) concept development, (2) pre-proposal, (3) investment development, and (4) management & close.
Concept development happens within the organization, “in consultation with foundation colleagues, researchers, policymakers, and other partners in the field.” Strategies –such as financial services for the poor, tobacco control and emergency response –are developed. More than two-dozen strategies have emerged from the goal of having the greatest possible impact with the greatest number of people.
Once strategic goals are set, the Foundation approaches organizations that they feel are well suited to the work. Request for proposals are also available online if the Foundation wishes to broaden their network or fund multiple organizations for a project.
The third phase, investment development, involves the legal and financial analysis teams from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. After a proposal, a budget, results framework and tracker are approved, the funded organization can begin their aid activities.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation prides itself on “maintaining quality interactions and clear and consistent communication” between a program officer and the grantee. The final step in the grant process is a final report that serves as a summary of the results achieved and lessons learned.
Since the premiere episode in 2012, the monthly “Inside the Gates” podcasts have highlighted grantees and employees of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Listening to these podcasts reveals the ins and outs of this organization and the projects it sponsors. People like Trevor Mundel, President of the Global Health Program, discuss the impact of effective grantee engagement on the foundation’s work. Others, such as Peter Kithene, an intern at the Gates Foundation, share their stories about working in third world countries and pursuing their dreams in the nonprofit community.
Overall, this podcast series, as well as the recently overhauled grant process give the public a better idea of what the Gates Foundation is doing to change the world. To listen to the podcasts and read in more detail about Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Grants, visit Inside the Gates.
– Grace Flaherty