Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Location: Po Box 23350, Seattle, 98102 WA

EIN: 56-2618866

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44%

56%

What was the overall relationship with the funder?

How many hours did the grant application process take?

20 hours

Median

31%

69%

How would you rate this funder's accessibility?

46%

54%

How successfully do you think the funder is accomplishing its current philanthropic goals?

Important Information

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Top descriptors for this funder

8Bureaucratic6Difficult to work with5Doesn't "get" nonprofits and issues5Inadvertently exerts negative influence in the field5Positive leader in the field4Culturally incompetent4Risk averse3Risk taker3Gives more than money2Worth the time to pitch2Repeat funding1"Gets" nonprofits and issues

Advice from a Friend

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Mar 10, 2020

Grant Applicant - applied in 2019

My biggest criticism of this funder is that their grantmaking is opaque. They have a list of grantees they work with and if your organization is outside of that circle then it will be very difficult for you to have a way to engage with this donor. What this funder needs to understand is that there is value in going outside your traditional circle of grantees. That there is value in engaging with practitioners in the field, not just for the purpose of giving grants, but also to have a broader dialogue so that you can hear and receive input from both grantees and non-grantees. Otherwise, you are operating in an insular self selected closed off space where the agenda is driven by you as opposed to the broader field.

Cons

Difficult to work with, Bureaucratic

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Feb 20, 2020

Grant Applicant - applied in 2017

In ten years of grant writing and over 1,000 proposals and reports written, I have never seen a more absurdly complex and bureaucratic reporting process. This foundation is absolutely tone deaf and not consistent with any other funder out there. The financial spreadsheet looked like it was created by a room full of people with Ph.ds in mathematics. Even our CFO was baffled by it. We had to have a conference call with them just to figure out what they wanted us to do. They tried to get us to use some conference call software that we do not have access to. They don't seem to have any understanding of how non-profits operate. Our grant was over many years and by the time the final report was due, no one from the time the grant was applied for even worked at our organization anymore.

Cons

Doesn't "get" nonprofits and issues, Difficult to work with, Bureaucratic

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Nov 29, 2019 1

Reviewer 3496 - Grant Applicant - applied in 2019

I would warn people to take the sheer level of unnecessary bureacracy into account. Depending on your organization, it may not be a good use of time. We decided it was worth trying for on balance, but definitely take the time to consider that decision.

Cons

Inadvertently exerts negative influence in the field, Doesn't "get" nonprofits and issues, Culturally incompetent, Bureaucratic, Risk averse

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Oct 02, 2019

Grant Applicant - applied in 2018

Be very informed, know just what you want and how your project aligns with the goals of the foundation. Having a connection will help.

Pros

Positive leader in the field, Gives more than money, Risk taker, Insightful, Friendly, Builds relationships, "Gets" nonprofits and issues, Responsive

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Mar 19, 2019

Reviewer 4436 - Grant Applicant - applied before 2014

To be honest, of all the grants we won which were 6, Gates was the easiest. We applied the year before and didn't get the grant but the next year we did. It took only 6 months to get the money from application to cash in the bank which is very fast for grants in our field.

Pros

Risk taker

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Nov 24, 2018

Professional in the field

first research, then call.

Cons

Inadvertently exerts negative influence in the field, Doesn't "get" nonprofits and issues, Culturally incompetent, Bureaucratic

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Aug 17, 2018 1

Reviewer 7956 - Grant Applicant - applied in 2017

I just don't think it is right to exploit nonprofits leaders that plan to help their homes countries.

Cons

Doesn't "get" nonprofits and issues, Difficult to work with, Bureaucratic

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Jul 19, 2018 1

Grant Applicant - applied before 2014

Consider yourself fortunate to get funding from Gates. One of the great things about them is they give multi-year support. If you were able to successfully complete the budget templates, you should be able to complete all of the subsequent reports. Too bad there are so many reports. And I hope you did a better job than we did and it won't take 30+ hours to complete each report.

Pros

Positive leader in the field, Gives more than money

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Feb 27, 2018

Reviewer 299 - Professional in the field

My comments are focused on their work in GLOBAL HEALTH.

Don't bother applying unless you are an academic, and one in their already vetted community. Despite their RFPs, they are not innovative or risking-taking in terms of implementation or funding new initiatives.

Cons

Inadvertently exerts negative influence in the field, Doesn't "get" nonprofits and issues, Difficult to work with, Culturally incompetent, Bureaucratic, Risk averse

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Jan 10, 2018 3

Grant Applicant - applied in 2015

It is critical to have an inside view of their strategy. Everything flows from their own internal program goals. Recognize that when you are BMGF grantee, they own a little piece of your soul.

Cons

Inadvertently exerts negative influence in the field, Difficult to work with, Culturally incompetent, Bureaucratic, Risk averse

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Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation