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David Bley: Farewell and With Thanks

November 26th, 2020

The time has come for me to say thank you and farewell, as October 31 is my last day the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

These past 14 years in philanthropy have driven clear community impact and my own personal growth. This blog post on “Privilege, Pessimism, Optimism and Equity” aptly reflects my thinking about opportunities, impact, and the arc of history. This work has brought me much meaning and joy, and my relationships with all of you have mattered most of all. I hope that I have stewarded my responsibilities well over the years.

While I plan to take some time off, I also plan to continue to work on those things I am passionate about – equity, opportunity and justice. The urgency of the moment – COVID-19, new energy to address racial inequity, and national policy questions – continues to drive me, and I’m excited to use my talent and time in new ways.

While we seek a new director, Allan Golston, the President of our U.S. Programs, will serve as acting director for the Pacific Northwest team – now renamed the Washington State team. The foundation will conduct a search, open to internal and external candidates, and once hired, the new director will undertake a review of our strategy to recommend where and how the foundation can have the greatest impact, with a place-based approach, a focus on equitable opportunity, and in the context of the changes caused by current events.

In the meantime, follow us on Twitter @GatesWA and review our latest Ideas to stay up-to-date on the foundation’s work.

I feel a great sense of gratitude for this journey with every one of you. I am also excited to look forward and continue my life’s work to leave the world a little better than I found it.

David Bley

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