Though he’s most commonly known as the richest man in the world, Bill Gates is also one of the world’s most generous. Founded by Gates and his wife, Melinda, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation seeks to ease poverty and provide healthcare and education opportunities to people in poor countries.
As of 2009, Bill Gates is estimated to have around $50 billion. How did he get so rich? Gates began programming computers at age 13. In 1975, he founded Microsoft with a friend. In the 1980s and 1990s, Gates guided Microsoft through important changes with personal computers, e-mail and the Internet.
Bill and Melinda Gates married in 1994. They founded the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in 2000, supplying billions of dollars to global health and education projects. The Foundation has awarded over $20 billion in grants. Most recently, the Foundation announced a $335 million initiative to improve national high school standards and teacher quality.
In 2008, Gates retired from Microsoft to work with his wife to devote more time to charity. For using their wealth to help people around the world, Bill and Melinda Gates are nominees for TFK People of the Year 2009.