The Gates Foundation Attacks US Poverty

Grand Island, Nebraska, city officials noticed in the past several years that a large number of employees and students were traveling great distances by bicycle or foot to get to work or school. Thus, Laura McAloon, the municipal administrator, seized the opportunity to research the creation of a bus system to address those transit requirements. The International City/County Management Association and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation also provided funding for the study. It sent McAloon and other local officials to Washington, D.C. to study about programs aimed at rescuing their community’s impoverished citizens.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation revealed last week that it will increase its efforts to combat poverty in the United States by contributing $100 million. This investment is a portion of the $460 million the foundation promised to donate to this area of need over the course of four years in 2022. According to the foundation, it wants to accelerate the rate at which donations have an influence.


At the Gates Foundation, Ryan Rippel serves as the founding director for economic strategy. Its strategy has changed significantly, he added, and grantees now have more authority to choose how to carry out their own work. The foundation’s total budget for the previous year was $7 billion, of which the investment represents a modest portion. However, it has expanded swiftly. According to Rippel, the extent of their work will depend on whether they are able to improve economic mobility for the 50 million Americans who earn $29,160 annually but are barely above the poverty line.

The foundation will provide funding to groups that increase local government support through the use of evidence-based policies that increase economic mobility. This involves enacting laws that facilitate the employment of skilled individuals without college degrees, assisting those in need of government assistance, and pressuring employers to modify working conditions in order to promote a better work-life balance. The Urban Institute, Families and Workers Fund, Prosperity Now, Pacific Community Ventures, Opportunity, and Results for America are among the recipients.


The Urban Institute presented the studies and resources they have created to assist counties and cities better comprehending obstacles to economic mobility during a conference held in Washington, D.C., in May. There, Grand Island resident McAloon understood that more data needed to be gathered for her 53,000-person city. They had altered their goals and started a data collection and analysis initiative by the end of the meeting. This involved collaborating with the human resources divisions of significant local firms and conducting surveys of the populace.

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