Georgia Institute for Non Profit Leadership

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The Servant Leadership example of Bill & Melinda Gates


Servant Leadership


The largest financial example of Servant Leadership to change the world is being led by Bill and Melinda Gates via their Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

They decided to put more than $35 Billion into a foundation they created to address a wide range of global issues. The issues they want to change range from improving education in the United States, addressing the inadequate health care in poor countries, developing new vaccines and preventative measures against AIDS and other diseases, and a working to eliminate extreme poverty globally.

Why did Bill and Melinda Gates decide to radically change their lives, and leave their previous life experiences behind to become Servant Leaders. Here is Bill Gates Harvard commencement speech of June 2, 2007 for his powerful and inspiring answer:
“If you believe that every life has equal value, it’s revolting to learn that some lives are seen as worth saving and others are not. We said to ourselves: “This can’t be true. But if it is true, it deserves to be the priority of our giving.”

So we began our work in the same way anyone here would begin it. We asked: “How could the world let these children die?”

The answer is simple, and harsh. The market did not reward saving the lives of these children, and governments did not subsidize it. So the children died because their mothers and their fathers had no power in the market and no voice in the system.

But you and I have both have a voice for them.

We can make market forces work better for the poor if we can develop a more creative capitalism – if we can stretch the reach of market forces so that more people can make a profit, or at least make a living, serving people who are suffering from the worst inequities. We also can press governments around the world to spend taxpayer money in ways that better reflect the values of the people who pay the taxes.

If we can find approaches that meet the needs of the poor in ways that generate profits for business and votes for politicians, we will have found a sustainable way to reduce inequity in the world. This task is open-ended. It can never be finished. But a conscious effort to answer this challenge will change the world.”

Bill gates Melinda

How much we give, either in money or time is not the mark of a Servant Leader. The mark is that we want to give, and lead others by our example to give also. We all, rich or poor, young or old can become Servant leaders in this brave new world. I believe that socially responsible for profit businesses, and non- profits organizations will be the new model for commerce in this century. Both models will address our local and global issues and carry us forward into better more conscious and enlightened times.. Each one of us has the potential within us to be a servant Leader.



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Georgia Institute for Non Profit Leadership Atlanta, Georgia Stephen C Monahan, President
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