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Bill and Melinda Gates are pushing back against a new wave of criticism about whether billionaire philanthropy is a force for good.
The couple, whose foundation has the largest endowment in the world, say they are not fazed by recent blowback against wealthy giving. It's come in high-profile moments at the World Economic Forum, the shifting political conversation about taxes and socialism in the U.S., and best-selling book "Winners Take All," which calls the influence of high-dollar giving an "elite charade."
Attack - Philanthropy - Attack - Wealth - Melinda
"I'm not sure that the attack has been on philanthropy. I think the attack has been on wealth," Melinda Gates said in an interview with The Associated Press last month.
Some critics have long challenged the couple's nonprofit work, which relies on the tax-exempt fortune they hand to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and involves directing how grant money is spent on issues ranging from global health and development to U.S. education and poverty issues.
Foundation - Contributions - Diseases - Polio - Malaria
Though the foundation's worldwide contributions to combatting diseases like polio and malaria are indisputable, some see the couple's influence as unchecked and resulting in mixed success .
The latest criticisms are more existential, challenging whether their level of wealth is good for society and whether it's functional to rely on the generosity of the very rich to fix its problems.
People - World - Wealth - Belongs - Result
People are more aware of how much the world's wealth belongs to the uber-rich. As a result, philanthropists' role in social change is facing a more scholarly review, said Stacy Palmer, editor of The Chronicle of Philanthropy, a trade publication covering nonprofits.
"It's good that we all question it," Palmer said. "It makes philanthropists think harder about: 'Am I doing the right thing?'"
Criticism - Bill - Melinda - Gates - Tuesday
The latest criticism comes as Bill and Melinda Gates on Tuesday released their annual letter reviewing their work and vision, which this year focused on surprises in their...
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