Seattle is a town that definitely knows how to give back to the community. This is especially evident with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Yesterday, my cohort and I had the privilege of getting a tour of the Foundation and meeting with Janet Sawaya – Senior Impact, Advocacy, and Policy Officer at the Foundation.
Upon just walking into the Visitor Center, you can immediately see that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation hopes to impact people not only abroad but in the United States. The Gates Foundation is one of the world’s largest private philanthropy foundations that has an endowment of currently over $38 billion dollars.
The Center thrives to be extremely interactive, which it clearly is through all of its exhibits. The Gates Foundation hopes this atmosphere will allow you to think of a way to help change the world. While in the Innovation & Inspiration Gallery, we were able to create our own inventions from building blocks, Tinkertoys, and other materials. Also, there we took photos in the photo-booth that instantly appeared on the display screens inside the gallery. Everything in the Visitor Center inspires people to think about the way you live. This ranges from our easy access to restrooms, clean drinking water, medical care, education, and so on.
Not only does the Foundation support charitable causes worldwide, but it is also sustainable. The building itself in downtown Seattle is comprised of more than 13,000 feet of recycled wood, more than 2,300 pairs of used blue jeans to improve acoustics in the walls, and the building’s roof has two acres of living roofs- which help decrease pollution and retain rain water runoff.
Prior to our conversation with Ms. Sawaya, I did not know that the Gates Foundation was a large reason as to why computers are in the library system in the States, and in 30-40 countries. This is one of the countless projects that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation have sponsored but have been too humble to spotlight. This project is helping to close the technical divide in developing countries especially.
After viewing the Gates Foundation, I am more confident than ever that by earning my Masters in Social and Sustainable Management will I be able to thrive in the business world and create a positive social impact.
Until next time,