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Press Release


Alexandria, VA (October 13, 2010) –Bill Gates, Sr., Bill Gates, III, Libby Gates Armintrout, major donors and United Ways across the globe join United Way Worldwide in Alexandria today to officially open the Mary M. Gates Learning Center.  The building features state-of-the-art worldwide communications and learning technology.

The Mary M. Gates Learning Center was made possible through a generous gift from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in honor of the late Mary M. Gates, who provided leadership in volunteering, advocacy and giving for United Way on a local, national and international level. The Center is built on Mrs. Gates’ belief that learning, sharing and working together will make the world a better place.

“The Gates family’s engagement with United Way and community is phenomenal – and it begins with Mary,” said United Way President & CEO Brian Gallagher.  “Mary’s United Way legacy will focus on learning.  She was always a champion of connecting people and nurturing the best ideas.”

“My mother would be so happy to know about this Center,” said Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Foundation. “More than anything else, it was my mother’s infectious enthusiasm for the United Way that made it a family tradition, and that made giving one of the most rewarding and fun parts of my life.”

Other major contributions for the Mary M. Gates Learning Center came from Deloitte, Nationwide Insurance Foundation, the Principal Financial Group and several generous individual donors.  Microsoft Corporation gave a much-needed donation of technology and software.

“Mary M. Gates was a visionary leader in the United Way movement," said Pamela Passman, Corporate Vice President and Deputy General Counsel for Microsoft Corporation. "The Microsoft Corporation is pleased to support this state-of-the-art facility that will integrate technology tools and resources into the Center to improve service delivery and to promote cooperation and innovation in meeting human needs in communities in the U.S. and worldwide."

Cutting-edge technology in the Center includes high-definition video conferencing, webcasting and webinar rooms.  Construction has been completed with the goal of attaining LEED certification for high performance green buildings.  Today’s dedication will include a demonstration in a Worldwide Interactive Session focused on income/financial stability.  The host will be Dr. Michael Sherraden, a microfinance expert and social development professor who was named one of Time Magazine’s 2010 Top 100 Most Influential People.  United Ways from San Francisco, Mumbai, India and the Vaal Region of South Africa will all connect with United Way Worldwide through the Center’s technology.

This event is by invitation only.  Media wanting to attend this event should contact United Way.  The dedication and interactive session will be streamed live on the Web: