United Way Worldwide extends its condolences today to the Gates family on the passing of Bill Gates, Sr., whose vision for a better world, commitment to public service, and civic and philanthropic leadership have improved the lives of millions of people around the globe.
In addition to tackling some of the biggest challenges of this generation as co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Mr. Gates was a lifelong supporter of United Way and held volunteer roles as President of the Board of United Way of King County (WA) and later as a member of the United Way of America Board of Trustees. From 2000 to 2006, he provided support and guidance on the strategic direction of the organization, and he continued to offer valuable advice and counsel as United Way of America’s first Emeritus Trustee.
“Bill Gates Sr. was one of the most impressive people with whom I have ever worked,” said United Way Worldwide President and CEO, Brian Gallagher. “His intellect was off the chart, but it was matched by his compassion and the genuine care he had for all people. He had a profound impact on United Way and me personally.”
As chair of the governance committee at United Way of America from 2002 to 2003, Mr. Gates was instrumental in rebuilding the organization’s Board of Trustees and, according to Mr. Gallagher, “helped set our North Star.”
“Bill was the driving force behind the creation of the Mary M. Gates Learning Center at United Way Worldwide, which today hosts more than 10,000 participants per year, and thousands more virtually,” Gallagher said. “Bill’s voice mattered in the world, and it will be missed.”
Mr. Gates’ service on the United Way Board was preceded by that of his son, Bill Jr. and his late wife, Mary M. Gates, for whom the Mary M. Gates Learning Center is named.