News & Politics

Melinda French Gates Will Give Multimillion-Dollar Grants to a Bunch of DC Groups

Gates pledged $1 billion this week to entities supporting family and women’s welfare.

Photograph by Chatham House/Flickr.

Philanthropist Melinda French Gates announced this week in a New York Times op-ed that she is resigning from the multibillion-dollar foundation she cofounded with ex-husband Bill Gates—and she’ll use $1 billion of her exit package to fund organizations and individuals supporting women and families, including a slew of DC-based groups.

French Gates—who split with the Microsoft cofounder in 2021, but continued to chair the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation alongside him—will leave the organization in early June, receiving $12.5 billion from Gates upon her exit.

In her Times op-ed, French Gates pledged $200 million to nonprofits and $20 million each to 12 individuals “working on behalf of women and families around the world, including on reproductive rights in the United States.”

“As a young woman, I could never have imagined that one day I would be part of an effort like this,” French Gates wrote. “Because I have been given this extraordinary opportunity, I am determined to do everything I can to seize it and to set an agenda that helps other women and girls set theirs, too.”

Here are the DC-based grant winners:


The Nonprofits

Community Change

Founded in 1968 in honor of Sen. Robert F. Kennedy (D-NY), this nonprofit is geared toward organizing low-income and minority communities.

Institute for Women’s Policy Research

This nonpartisan think tank aims to “develop comprehensive, women-focused, policy-oriented research,” with a particular interest in the gender pay gap and family leave.

National Partnership for Women & Families

Helmed by Michelle Obama’s former policy director, this I Street advocacy group provides expert testimony for issues regarding women and families before Congress.

National Women’s Law Center

The nonprofit advocates for issues such as abortion rights or workplace protections through both research and litigation.

New America

Describing itself as a “think-and-action tank,” the former New America Foundation does research and advocacy on a variety of social issues, with a particular focus on family welfare and tech policy.

States United Democracy Center

Founded in 2020 in response to President Trump’s attempts to undermine the electoral system, the center “promotes nonpartisan legal and policy strategies to protect the freedom to vote,” according to its website.

Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund

Administered by the National Women’s Law Center, this fund—spurred by the MeToo movement—provides funding and media assistance to those pursuing workplace sexual harassment claims.

Washington Center for Equitable Growth

This research and grantmaking organization aims to “determine the channels through which rising economic inequality affects economic growth and stability in the United States.”


The Individuals

Alfiee Breland-Noble

Breland-Noble, a psychologist, is CEO and founder of the Arlington-based AAKOMA Project, a research nonprofit that primarily focuses on the mental health of youth of color.

Gary Barker

Barker is president and CEO of advocacy group Equimundo, which conducts research into gender equality and explores how men develop attitudes toward violence, care, and gender roles.

Richard V. Reeves

A senior fellow at Brookings Institution, Reeves is also president of the American Institute for Boys and Men, which conducts research and policy development specifically toward improving welfare of males.

Arya Hodjat
Editorial Fellow