Gates Foundation a big player in Seattle economy | KUOW News and Information

Gates Foundation a big player in Seattle economy

Apr 25, 2017

You may think of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation as a global philanthropy, but a new study commissioned by the foundation shows the Seattle-based organization funneled $1.5 billion into the local economy in 2015.

That includes about $300 million in direct grants each year between 2011 and 2015 to local nonprofits, including Northwest Harvest and the Seattle Foundation, as well as significant investment in global health organizations headquartered in the Seattle area.

Melinda Gates confesses she was surprised to see these numbers.

“I obviously know the specific grantmaking we’re doing in the Northwest,” Gates said. “But if you’d asked me to guess a number, I wouldn’t have realized it was as large as $1.5 billion.”

Gates and her husband established the foundation in 2000. Since then, they’ve given out more than $36 billion around the world.

The foundation’s endowment is currently valued at almost $40 billion.