If there is any one charity organization most people have heard of, it might very well be the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Conceived in 2000, the B&MGF is widely considered one of the largest private foundations in the world. It is known for its robust endowment, its thorough transparency and its unwavering commitment to creating and sustaining a high quality of life in some of the world’s worst conditions, especially in Africa, the Middle East and India. Its celebrity-business-magnate-co-chair, Bill Gates, is pretty well known, too.

All of this makes for an attractive working environment; employees relentlessly fight against poverty and have the opportunity to work alongside driven and accomplished coworkers. These jobs, however, are difficult ones to land. Here is some advice geared toward the future Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation employee.

Know your potential position, inside and out

It is a good idea to familiarize yourself with the job’s perks – the designated quiet areas, the spacious atrium, the walls made of whiteboards and carefully crafted environment – but it is even more important to understand your place within the B&MGF process and why it is so critical. Whether you want a communications job advocating and publicizing policy or a vaccines job administering lifesaving shots in Africa, know why you would be integral to the larger picture. This deepened understanding will enable you to recognize the skills and passions you possess that are job-relevant. It will also test your commitment; are you really devoted to the B&MGF project, or do you just really like luxurious atriums? “Both” is an acceptable answer.

Don’t think of it as a nine to five gig

While there is a huge variety of workweek schedules among Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation jobs, it is best to partially ignore the logistics, placing extra emphasis on the organization’s humanitarian vision. There may be tasks to complete and mundane paperwork to file, but the fight against global inequality and extreme poverty is not something relegated to eight hours on weekdays. During “off-hours,” for example, problem solving, studying and teaching can be accomplished to fuel workday endeavors. Anyone dedicated enough to relieving global poverty to work tirelessly for the B&MGF might consider such activities perfectly typical anyway.

Know the issues

Working for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation requires that your passion for global poverty reduction has led you to a deep understanding of the issues. It takes accumulated knowledge and a commitment to continued learning.

“It is work that not only relies upon candidates with solid educations and related experience,” begins some advice found on the B&MGF website, “but also a rare dedication to the greater good that exceeds the importance of a specific title.” As is additionally noted on the site, one needs to demonstrate experience, discipline and humility before being seriously considered for the job. Fortunately for you, hanging around The Borgen Project, getting familiar with points of concern and topics of interest, is a great way to build the vocabulary and the mental framework necessary to talk fluently about global poverty and its eradication. You are already on your way.

— Adam Kaminski

Sources: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation 1, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation 2, Seattlepi
Photo: NBBJ


act now

30 Ways to Right a Wrong


  • Call or Write Congress: Congressional leaders often support poverty-reduction legislation when as few as 7-10 people in their district contact them in support of it. View How to Call or How to Write/Email.
  • Email Congress: Links to ready to send templates on global poverty bills.
  • Lobby Congress: Arranging a meeting with Congressional staffers is surprisingly easy and an important part of our democracy.
  • Mobilize: One is good, but ten is better. Politics is a numbers game and more people contacting a leader in support of an issue/bill means more action is demanded from the leader and their staff.
  • Bird Dog: Attend events where Congressional leaders are speaking and publicly ask them to support poverty-reduction efforts.
  • YouTube Congress: Send your leader a video of constituents requesting action on a bill.


  • Build Buzz: If you’re talking about it, political leaders are acting on it. Help build buzz for downsizing global poverty!
  • Pitch to the Media: Email interesting story ideas that incorporate the issues to local and national reporters.
  • Write a Letter to the Editor: These serve the purpose of educating thousands of people and if you mention the Congressional leader’s name in the letter he/she will read it in his/her regular summary of news coverage.
  • Call Talk Radio: You’re one phone call away from getting the issue in front of thousands of people. Visit the talk show’s website to find the call-in number.
  • Give a Speech: Speak to local groups and classes.
  • Submit Content to Newsletters: From apartment buildings to dentists, there are no shortage of businesses that send newsletters. Send some interesting tidbits about global poverty to the person in charge of the newsletter and ask them to incorporate the topic and/or make it a regular fixture (i.e. monthly poverty fact).
  • Transform Empty Windows: Ask the owner of a vacant building for permission to cover the windows with Borgen Project logos and/or poverty facts.
  • Post Fliers: The Borgen Project is known for being tech savvy, so it might surprise you that we’re huge fans of good, old-fashioned flier-ing. Post fliers in coffee shops and windows of interested businesses.


Post on your Leader’s Facebook & Twitter: Most congressional leaders now use social media to communicate with voters and monitor what the public is saying. Friend/Follow your leaders and post encouraging comments when they support poverty bills or encourage them to support such bills.

Tweet and Status Update: Share interesting links, videos and articles about the issues via your status updates.


  • Run a Marathon: Utilize your running events to raise funding for The Borgen Project. Let people know you’re running for the cause and ask them to sponsor your efforts.
  • Accomplish Random Feats: Attempt to pogo stick across your city, climb a local mountain backwards, etc. Do something unusual to raise awareness and funding for the cause and ask people to contribute.
  • Host a Living Room Summit: Bring your friends together to support the cause. Host a house party.
  • Organize a Garage Sale: Turn your junk or your friends and family junk into funding for the cause.
  • Donate your Birthday, Wedding, or Graduation: Make “in lieu of gifts” your new favorite phrase. Ask your family to donate to the cause instead of getting you presents or add The Borgen Project to your gift registry.
  • Host a Non-Event Fundraiser: This creative concept is appreciated by would-be guests and party-planners alike. Instead of hosting an expensive fundraiser, ask your guest list to stay home the night of the “non-event” and donate the ticket price.
  • No Dress Code Day at Work: Ask your boss or company to allow a day when employees can dress casually if they put $5 in a donation jar.
  • Arrange an Informal Tournament: Badminton? Ultimate Frisbee? Turn your favorite leisure activity into a tournament or competition.
  • Take the $1,378 Challenge: Starting at $1 the first week, give/raise $1 more each week. Within a year (52-weeks) you will raise an impressive $1,378!


  • Amazon: Turn your Amazon shopping into funding for poverty-reduction.
  • Shop for Borgen Wear: Buy merchandise at the online store.
  • Divert: Catch yourself before making unnecessary purchases and divert the money saved toward the cause.