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盖茨夫妇如何改变数十亿人的生活?

黎克腾 2019年04月28日

盖茨基金会正改变数十亿人的生活,但如果没有背后盖茨夫妇独特的愿景,这个基金会不会有今天如此强大的力量。

如果想看看一股不可阻挡的力量与易受感动的人们相遇会发生什么,看看比尔及梅琳达·盖茨基金会的影响便可知一二。

从1995年1月到2017年底,二人旗下的慈善事业(连同早期的盖茨家庭基金会,2000年已并入比尔及梅琳达·盖茨基金会)捐赠金额已达到惊人的455亿美元。(我曾试探性地询问基金会,能否能给我一份成立以来每笔捐赠的会计报告。然后我收到一个41487行的电子表格。)

全球医疗专家认为,在450亿美元的捐助对象里,有两个其发起并一直支持的项目是迄今为止最成功的国际公私合作项目。第一项便是前述全球疫苗免疫联盟,帮助发展中国家为7亿儿童接种了预防疾病的疫苗。第二项是抗击艾滋病、结核病和疟疾的全球基金。该基金通过社区伙伴关系,已为1700多万人提供了艾滋病毒逆转录病毒疗法,护理500万结核病患者,仅在2017年就治疗了1亿多例疟疾病例,此外还协助预防了数不清的三种疾病感染病例。(除各国政府,该基金会也是世界卫生组织最大的捐赠者。)

For evidence of what happens when an unstoppable force meets a profoundly movable human being, one has simply to measure the impact of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

From January 1995 through the end of 2017, their namesake philanthropy (along with earlier Gates family foundations that were merged into the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in 2000) has deployed an extraordinary, barely countable $45.5 billion. (When I asked the foundation, partly as a hypothetical, if they could send me an accounting of every single grant they’d doled out since inception, I got back a spreadsheet with 41,487 line items.)

That $45 billion has launched, and then continually supported, what global health experts widely acknowledge to be two of the most successful international, private-public partnerships ever formed. The first is the aforementioned GAVI, which has helped developing countries immunize 700 million children against preventable diseases. The second is The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. The fund, through its own community partnerships, has put more than 17 million people on retroviral therapy for HIV, cared for 5 million people with TB, and treated more than 100 million cases of malaria in 2017 alone—even as it helped prevent an untold number of infections in all three diseases. (Apart from national governments, the foundation is also the largest donor to the World Health Organization.)

盖茨的资金主要通过全球根除小儿麻痹症计划发挥作用,目前这种可怕的疾病已接近根除,全球只有阿富汗和巴基斯坦两国野外仍有脊髓灰质炎病毒活跃。1988年还有125个国家出现病例。

根除疾病的任务跟基金会几乎所有项目一样,运作成熟且由数据驱动。盖茨资助疾病监控人员经在热点地区污水系统中抽样检查,看是否有潜伏的脊髓灰质炎病毒,然后利用数字卫星数据了解特定地区儿童数量,从而计算接种推广小组要走访多少家庭。

基金会还花费超过十亿美元,减轻古老且长期被忽视的热带疾病(NTDs)造成的负担,相关疾病可能引发失明、贫血到四肢肿胀等。尽管取得了进展,但仍导致地球七分之一的人口患病。基金会强化了发展中国家的卫生系统,也不断推动农业创新。(比尔在搞怪又乐观的盖茨笔记博客上有一篇博文开头写道,“我从不掩饰对化肥的热情。”)

基金会还在美国发起了全国性关于教育改革的对话,背后有数据支持,也有大量投入的资金支持。(基金会每年花费3亿美元用于K-12学习,也在推广高效学习法。)盖茨夫妇还改变了家庭慈善事业的性质和规模,2010年与沃伦·巴菲特合作,说服其他亿万富翁在有生之年或在遗嘱里捐出至少一半财产。如今已有近200个家庭加入了名副其实的“捐赠誓言”。

“他们每个举动都会产生乘数效应,”有一次电话采访中,沃伦·巴菲特如此评价盖茨夫妇,数十年来巴菲特一直是盖茨夫妇的好友。后来他向盖茨基金会捐赠了50万股伯克希尔·哈撒韦的B股,当时价值约16亿美元,从此自己的财富也实现了乘数效应。

“他们每个举动都会产生乘数效应。两人行动目标一致。”——沃伦·巴菲特,伯克希尔·哈撒韦董事长兼首席执行官。

但是比尔和梅琳达·盖茨的影响还不只在金钱方面。巴菲特提到了之前的想法:“他们夫妇俩也有乘数效应,合在一起力量大。两人的行为目标一致,只是做事风格不一样,”他说,一边为自己一针见血指出本质笑起来: “他们直接就来找我,就这么简单。”

“他们很注重结果,大多数人都不知道如果没有他们坚持,很多事都不会发生,”U2主唱博诺表示。他和盖茨夫妇一样坚持推动全球医疗卫生进步,发起的(RED)基金和ONE运动都获得了基金会资助。“从我的了解来看,他们对收入的唯一兴趣只在于能改变其他人的生活,”他补充说。“他们不求认可,只是不断坚持做事。就好比,他们搭好摄影棚又找好了摄影师,但太注重结果,有时有忘了让自己出镜。”

过去20年里,他们工作帮助改变了数亿人的生活。如果现在资助的研究能帮助预防治疗艾滋病、耐多药结核病、疟疾、被忽视的热带疾病和流感,还能多影响数十亿人。如果提升妇女权力、提供卫生设施、促进农业和教育(以及提供教育机会)的工作获得理想的结果,造福世界更是无可估量。

正因如此,《财富》杂志将比尔和梅琳达·盖茨选入2019年全球最伟大领袖名单。说实话,入选只是一次,但两人的领导能量绝对是双倍的。

The Gates money, put to work through the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, has helped bring that horrific paralyzing disease to the brink of elimination, leaving only two places on the earth, Afghanistan and Pakistan, where the wild poliovirus remains active. In 1988, the disease could be found in 125 countries.

The eradication quest is, as nearly all foundation efforts are, sophisticated and data-driven. Gates-funded disease hunters have plumbed sewage systems in hotspot regions to check for lurking poliovirus and used digital satellite data to understand how many kids were in a given area—and, therefore, how many houses inoculation teams needed to visit.

The foundation has spent more than a billion dollars to date to reduce the burden of ancient, and long neglected, tropical diseases (NTDs) that can cause everything from blindness to anemia to an elephantine swelling of limbs—and that, despite the progress made, continue to debilitate one-seventh of the earth’s population. It has fortified health systems in developing countries and brought new innovations to agriculture. (As Bill begins one of his wonkily upbeat GatesNotes blogs, “I’ve never been shy about my passion for fertilizer.”)

The foundation jump-started a national conversation in the U.S. on education reform: one backed by data, as well as dollars—though there have been many of those, too. (It spends $300 million annually on K-12 learning, and on learning about learning.) The Gateses have even changed the nature and scale of family philanthropy—partnering with Warren Buffett in 2010 to convince other billionaires to give half or more of their money away during their lifetime or in their will. Today, nearly 200 families have joined the aptly named “Giving Pledge.”

“Every one of their actions has a multiplier effect,” says Warren Buffett in a phone interview about the pair, with whom he has been close friends for decades. His own fortune became part of that multiplication as well, when he donated 500,000 Berkshire Hathaway B shares to the Gates Foundation—a gift then worth about $1.6 billion.

“Every one of their actions has a multiplier effect. They act with a unity of purpose.” – Warren Buffett, Chairman and CEO, Berkshire Hathaway

But the impact of Bill and Melinda Gates is due to more than money. Buffett returns to his earlier thought: “The two of them have a multiplier effect—the two of them together. They act with a unity of purpose and with a difference of style,” he says, chuckling at the truth of his own line: “That just came to me—and it’s really true.”

“They are so results-orientated that most people have no idea all the things that would not be happening without them,” says Bono, who, like the Gateses, has been a tireless champion for global health, and whose own (RED) and ONE campaigns have received funding from the couple. “For as long as I’ve known them, their only interest in their income is the outcomes it can generate for others in terms of changing lives,” he adds. “They don’t ask for acknowledgment; they just get on with it. They set up the scene, hire the photographer, but are so focused on results, they sometimes forget to be in their own photograph.”

Their work over the past 20 years has helped transform the lives of hundreds of millions of people—and will surely affect billions more if the research they’re funding now helps prevent and cure AIDS, multidrug-resistant TB, malaria, neglected tropical diseases, and the flu. It will help immeasurably more if the work they’re doing now to empower women, provide sanitation, boost agriculture, and improve education (as well access to education) comes to full fruition.

For all that, Fortune has chosen Bill and Melinda Gates as our 2019 World’s Greatest Leader. The pick, pointedly, is a singular one; the power of their leadership is definitely double-barreled.

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