Eco downturn knocks off Gates foundation assets worth $9 bn | business | Hindustan Times
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Eco downturn knocks off Gates foundation assets worth $9 bn

business Updated: Jun 07, 2009 10:43 IST

Software czar and billionaire Bill Gates, too, is not immune to the economic downturn as the charitable organisation Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation launched by him, has seen its assets dwindle by over $9 billion in just one year.

The assets of the foundation, co-chaired by three individuals, including Bill Gates and his wife Melinda Gates, fell to $29.89 billion for year ended December 31, 2008.

According to the foundation's annual report, it had assets of $38.9 billion.

In just one year, the assets of the foundation have eroded by over $9 billion, mainly on account of the economic slowdown.

"Endowment assets available for charitable activities totaled $29.5 billion. This includes a 20 per cent reduction in the endowment portfolio value during 2008 as a result of the general economic decline," the report said.

The contributions to the entity stood at about $2 billion for 2008. Of the total, nearly $1.8 billion came from legendary investor Warren Buffett in the form of shares in his flagship company Berkshire Hathaway.

Bill Gates gave around $183 million in contributed investment management services to the foundation last year.

In 2007, the contributions to the foundation touched $3.1 billion.

The foundation's website shows that it had endowment assets worth $27.5 billion as on April 1, 2009.

"Endowment includes $1.6 billion from the first installment of the gift from Warren Buffett recorded August 24, 2006, the second installment of $1.76 billion recorded on July 11, 2007, and the third installment of $1.8 billion recorded
on July 1, 2008," the website said.

Last year, the foundation shelled out grant payments of USD 2.8 billion against USD 2 billion in 2007.

The entity has a $5.3 billion liability for future- year payments on already approved grants.

"In 2009, we expect total cash payout for grants and other charitable expenses to be approximately $3.5 billion, excluding certain one-time capital expenses related to construction of the new campus and development of a new IT system," the annual report said.

The foundation is working on many programmes in India including Avahan, a national HIV prevention initiative which was established in 2003. Avahan to date has committed $258 million, the website said.

In October 2006, the foundation created a two-entity structure. One entity, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation distributes money to grantees while the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Trust manages the endowment assets.