Monday, January 08, 2007

More Questionable Investments By Gates Foundation Revealed

Part II of LATimes report on Gates Foundation's questionable investments:

Money clashes with mission
The Gates Foundation invests heavily in sub-prime lenders and other businesses that undercut its good works.

The conflict is one of many that a Times investigation has found between the foundation's investments and its good works. The Gates Foundation reaps vast profits every year from companies whose actions contradict its mission of improving society in the United States and around the world, particularly the lot of people afflicted by poverty and disease.

The Times has found that the Gates Foundation had major investments in:

• Mortgage companies that were accused in lawsuits or by government officials of making it easier for thousands of people to lose their homes.

• A healthcare firm that has agreed to pay more than $1.5 billion to settle lawsuits accusing it of medical lapses and fraud going back a decade.

• Chocolate companies said by the U.S. government to be profiting from the slave labor of children.

Critics fault the Gates Foundation most for failing to use the power of its immense wealth to improve the behavior of the companies in which it invests. At the end of 2005, the foundation's endowment stood at $35 billion. In June 2006, Warren E. Buffett, the world's second-richest man after Bill Gates, pledged to add about $31 billion.

That $66 billion will give the Gates Foundation more than 10% of the assets of all of the charitable foundations in the United States and provide it with unmatched muscle and potential moral authority. Though it does a vast amount of good with its grants, the foundation declines to use its influence in efforts to reform companies whose business practices flout its goals.

1 comment:

thdblog said...

Looks like the Gates Foundation has reversed course, they are going to reassess their investments.

See LA Times (or link via our blog)