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Bill Gates: Life and Contributions Essay (Biography)

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Updated: Jun 2nd, 2022

Bill Gates early life

Bill Gates is a philanthropist American who was born in 1955. His father, William H. Gates, his mother, Mary Maxwell, and his two sisters, Kristianne and Libby, were great people, who provided him with a suitable atmosphere for exploration. Although the three children strived for excellence, Bill Gates proved to be more brilliant than his sisters were, and he began outshining them in education.

Bill Gates studied at Lakeside school, which was lucky enough to be a beneficiary of a Settle computer company that offered computer classes. The computers marked a new beginning for his career, as Bill Gates spent adequate time working at the computer terminal in his school (Lenkowsky 18).

At the age of 13, he was already doing some elementary computer programming, and he became friends with Paul Allen, who was also interested in programming. The two would spend their free time generating programs, and occasionally, they hacked computer programs to obtain free computer time.

This was very selfish of the two boys, and before long, the computer providers barred their school from using the computers. However, only the mischievous boys could debug the program; therefore, they offered to do it as they generated some useful programs for the affected institutions.

Gates and Allen went into business in 1970, and they earned $20000 for developing a computer program to monitor traffic in Settle. The achievement triggered them to begin their company immediately, but they had to go to university to fulfill the dreams of their parents.

Bill Gates joined Harvard University to study and become a lawyer as his parents wished, but the literary spent more time in the computer lab than he did in class. Fortunately, Bill Gates was a quick learner, who could take some few minutes to study the class notes and outperform his classmates in tests.

On the other hand, Bill Gates’ ally, Paul Allen, joined the Washington State University, but he cut off his stay at the university to follow his passion. He started working for Honeywell Company, and before long, Bill Gates also terminated his studies to join him at the workplace. After learning about an Altair 8800 mini-computer kit, the two boys had wild thoughts of what a computer was capable of doing.

They immediately contacted Micro Instrumentation and Telemetry Systems (MITS), the company that had made the computer Altair. Although they did not have the simplest idea about the Altair, they declared to be working on a program that would run the Altair computer.

Ed Roberts, the president of MITS at that time, believed in the boys, and he ordered them to go ahead and present a demonstration of the program. Although the boys had never operated an Altair, they scrambled to formulate the software, and fortunately, the trial software worked perfectly. MITS hired Gates and Allan to work for the company, and by 1975, the two had already formed a partnership called Microsoft.

In less than a year, the Microsoft Company was blossoming, and Bill Gates became the Chief Executive Officer (Lenkowsky 16). At first, the company distributed its software free, but later on, Microsoft retained the rights for the software that they developed.

Within no time, the company had employed 25 people, who could develop programs and market them to facilitate the success of the company. Microsoft’s growth exploded, where, the number of staffs increased, the revenue shoot, and the founders resolved to incorporate the company.

Bill Gates’ donations to Africa

Bill Gates attributes his philanthropic efforts to his wife, Melinda Gates, and his mother Mary Maxwell. Since Mary Maxwell was a civic leader, Melinda easily influenced Bill Gates to consider giving part of his wealth to charity. To have a clear indication of what the other part of the world needed, the couple toured Africa in 1995, and they resolved to donate part of their wealth to help the poor Africans.

Their tour revealed that poor health, hunger, and poor technological infrastructure were the core problems that Africans encountered. Therefore, the couple resolved to work towards improving the health, agriculture, and innovation infrastructure in Africa.

Bill Gates and his wife reassessed the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to incorporate Africans into being beneficiaries of the program that aimed at supporting education, improving health, and helping poor communities across the globe (Gates 6).

GAVI (Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization) is a group that aims at saving children’s lives and protecting the health of people living in poor countries. The group achieves its mission by providing immunization and increasing healthcare accessibility in Africa. Poor sanitation in overtly populated slums increases the possibility of spreading diseases, and due to the lack of simple medical procedures, countless African children die frequently.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation donated $957 million to GAVI Alliance to support its operations. The foundation is committed to supporting GAVI Alliance as long as it exists to help the poor Africans. So far, the foundation is delighted, as the prevalence of diseases like polio and measles have reduced significantly in Africa.

The World Child Health Care program also gives tributes to Bill Gates for his continued support for the program that vaccinates children against poverty-related illnesses. Bill Gates’ donations to international AIDS Vaccine Initiative play a great role in ensuring that there are efficient HIV vaccines globally.

The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) is an organization that aims at improving seeds and soil for African farmers. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has donated more than $264.5 million towards the success of the program (Gates 15). This program might be helpful in enabling Africa to sustain its rapid population growth through the adoption of modern agricultural practices instead of traditional ones.

Moreover, Bill Gates donated $25.5 million to Heifer International, a project that aims at linking farmers, processors, distributors, and consumers. The project works towards protecting the farmers from molestation and improving food security in East Africa.

Currently, the foundation’s efforts in supporting agriculture have proved to offer the greatest opportunity in Africa. New farming technologies are on the rise in Africa, and in the near future, millions of farmers in Africa will earn a better living through improved agricultural practices.

Bill and Melinda have often funded ideas that help students and teachers to improve their learning activities. Bill Gates donated $1.7 million to the UN Population Fund for developing states to facilitate their programs in poor nations. The program promotes computer technology, and the beneficiaries of the program are infinite.

Funds set aside to introduce the life-saving and life-enhancing technologies that were absent in Africa have enabled well-trained health workers to handle their role professionally. Currently, millions of Africans are transiting from poverty into enhanced lifestyles due to improved education, enhanced healthcare, and superior technology achieved from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s donations.

Educational improvements in the United States

Bill Gates identified a loophole in the education system in the United States, and he resolved to fill it. He discovered that many American classrooms had some deficits in achieving the goal of producing students with a great future. Bill Gates found out that reviewing the teacher evaluation and improvements systems would play a great role in improving education in the United States (Stevenson 241).

Although some teachers would receive negative feedbacks because of the poor performance of their students, Bill Gates discovered that education is a unique experience for every student. Latinos and African Americans, for example, are disadvantaged people, who have a lower ability to grasp things as compared to pure Americans.

Moreover, inappropriate learning environments contribute to the students’ inability to obtain maximum benefits from their teachers. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (B&MGF) did some excellent job in addressing the problem by supporting the opening of small schools, which reduced the student-to-teacher ratio significantly towards the benefit of the students (Hill 46).

The program to open smaller schools than the existing ones facilitated the division of overtly populated schools and the education sector is experiencing positive results from it. According to Bill Gates, the right student-to-teacher ratio in schools eases the process of including multiple measures in evaluating the performance of teachers.

Bill Gates has always insisted on technology as the key aspect of improving education it the United States. He has employed major efforts to ensure that students can access computer education with ease. Bill Gates assures the ministry of education that new technological innovations can enable instructors to teach the most difficult concepts enjoyably.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation found it worthwhile to support Game Science at the University of Washington to enable students to understand the concept of refraction. Moreover, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation constantly funds higher learning education institutions to construct information science buildings. Cornell University was lucky enough to be one of the beneficiaries of the Gates Foundation.

The university received about $60 million to construct an information science building, and it named the building after the funders.

The Gates Tower in Massachusetts Institute of Technology is an information technology center that the Gates Foundation funded, and Carnegie Mellon University received $20 million to construct the Gates Centre for Computer sciences (Gates 19). The information science buildings would offer students the chance to interact with computers and make new inventions and innovations.

The other approach that Bill Gates has used to improve education in the United States is developing ways to reach students who encounter challenges and frustrations while struggling to achieve their dreams. It is noteworthy that poverty is one of the greatest challenges that students from unprivileged families encounter. Bill Gates has employed various approaches to address the needs of the poor through the D.C. Achievers Scholarships.

In 2007, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation spent $122 million to sponsor poor Columbian students to go to college (Gates 21). Through the Gates Cambridge Scholarships, Gates is able to support brilliant students to pursue the courses of their choice at Cambridge University.

Bill Gates also reaches the high achieving minority students through the Gates Millennium Scholars program. Therefore, poor and brilliant students can always win scholarships in at least one of the programs.

The value of the project

This project is very important to me, as it reveals that heroism is more than giving the surplus monies that one has to the community; it is sacrificing and giving beyond people’s expectations (Byrne et al. 82). Bill Gates happens to be a person who has inspired me throughout his life, where, his early life is a great revelation that I cannot just sit down and wait for miracles to happen.

Bill Gates’ early life is extraordinary, as his adventurous trait enabled him to achieve his dream. The incidence of Paul Allen and Bill Gates hacking a computer program to obtain free computer time is a clear indication that aggressive people have to find all ways and means to obtain what they want. The early life of the philanthropic man plays a great role in inspiring and motivating my academic learning.

Although he spent most of his time in the computer lab while in college, he still scored highly in his exams to impress his parents, who wanted him to become a lawyer. This scenario encourages me to work hard and have exceptional performance in spite of the numerous extracurricular activities that I may be attending to while in school.

The boldness that the two had to convince MITS’s manager that they were working on a program to run the Altair computer drives my cowardice away. The entrepreneurship traits that enabled him to establish and manage the Microsoft Company at a tender age inspire me to conclude that I am the manager of my own life. I believe that I can do much more than people expect of me, as long as I strongly believe in myself.

Bill Gates was such a selfless man, who was able to entrust his college friend, Steve Ballmer, to lead the Microsoft Company while he concentrated in his philanthropic work. Very few people can take such a risk, and that is the major reason as to why this project is important to me. Bill Gates sacrificed his lucrative career for the sake of the helpless people in the world.

He took a tour to Africa, and his sympathetic trait triggered him to donate billions of dollars to charity. The entire scenario inspires me to reconsider every step that I take in life.

I am obligated to ensure that my deeds are beneficial to at least one person, and I intend to keep on stretching a helping hand to the needy according to my ability. Although I may not be as rich as Bill Gates is, I believe that every simple act of generosity will help someone in one way or another.

The most insinuating thing about Bill Gates is that in spite of his numerous grants to charity organizations, he is still one of the richest men in the world. I can, therefore, attest that giving does not make one poor, but it helps in replenishing the sources of income. The philanthropic life of Bill Gates is very important, as it obligates me to work hard, learn from my mistakes, and never give up in anything.

I always feel obligated to give back to the community instead of living luxuriously while other people are suffering. Indeed, I value the entire project as it enables me to streamline my lifestyle and be an ambitious person, who will help in saving people’s lives in the future.

Works Cited

Byrne, John, Julia Cosgrove, Brian Hindo and Adam Dayan. “The New Face of Philanthropy.” Business Week 38.9 (2002): 82. Print.

Gates, Bill. “Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation: 2012.” African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition & Development 11.7 (2011): 1-25. Print.

Hill, Paul. “Bill and Melinda Gates Shift from Computers in Libraries to Reform in High Schools.” Education Next 6.1 (2006): 44-51. Print.

Lenkowsky, Leslie. “Will Bill Gates Become One Of History’s Great Philanthropists?” Chronicle of Philanthropy 18.1 (2006): 16-19. Print.

Stevenson, Siobhan. “The Political Economy of Andrew Carnegie’s Library Philanthropy, With a Reflection on Its Relevance to the Philanthropic Work of Bill Gates.” Library & Information History 26.4 (2010): 237-257. Print.

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