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Melinda Gates resigning from Gates Foundation, to get $12.5B to launch her own charity

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Melinda French Gates, the ex-wife of Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, announced Monday she is leaving the charity the pair created more than two decades ago to start her own philanthropic endeavor —  and it will be funded with a $12.5 billion payout as part of her exit.

She made the stunning announcement to step down from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, one of the world’s biggest private charitable foundations, in a post on X.

The billionaire benefactors parted ways in 2021 after 27 years of marriage but had pledged to continue their philanthropic work together.

Their final divorce order filed in a Seattle court had no details on an agreement reached between the two on how to divide their marital assets.

“Under the terms of my agreement with Bill, in leaving the foundation, I will have an additional $12.5 billion to commit to my work on behalf of women and families,” Melinda Gates wrote on social media platform.

She did not disclose more details about her plans.

Melinda French Gates, the ex-wife of Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, announced that she will resign from the charity that the two founded. REUTERS

Gates — the fifth richest person in the world with a net worth of $153 billion, according to Bloomberg — released a statement that coincided with that of his former spouse, thanking her for “her critical contributions to the Foundation from its very beginning.”

“I am sorry to see Melinda leave, but I am sure she will have a huge impact in her future philanthropic work,” Microsoft MSFT.O co-founder Bill Gates said in a post on X.

Her last day at the foundation will be June 7.

“After careful thought and reflection, I have decided to resign from my role as co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation,” Gates said in a statement.

“This is not a decision I came to lightly.”

With her departure as co-chair, the foundation will change its name to Gates Foundation and Bill Gates will be its sole chairperson, said CEO Mark Suzman.

“After a difficult few years watching women’s rights rolled back in the U.S. and around the world, she wants to use this next chapter to focus specifically on altering that trajectory,” Suzman said.

The foundation is one of the most powerful and influential forces in global public health, having spent more than $75 billion since its inception to bring a business approach to combating poverty and disease.

Melinda French Gates and Bill Gates finalized their divorce in 2021. EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

From 1994 through 2018, Bill and Melinda gifted about $59.5 billion to the Seattle-based foundation, its website said.

Bill Gates said he is “fully committed to the Foundation’s work across all our strategies, and to realizing the opportunities we have to continue improving the lives of millions around the world.”

Melinda Gates, who has a net worth of $11.3 billion according to Forbes, manages some of her investments and charitable work through her Pivotal Ventures. The investment company, founded in 2015, focuses on women and families.

Gates met Melinda French shortly after she started working at Microsoft as a production manager in 1987.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation boasts an endowment that exceeded $67 billion as of 2022. REUTERS

They got engaged six years late and were married on Jan. 1, 1994. They share two children.

 In April, Page Six reported that Melinda Gates was “no longer dating Jon Du Pre,” a former Fox News correspondent whom she started seeing in 2022. The update came after Melinda sparked engagement rumors by wearing a massive diamond ring.

Bill Gates has reportedly been dating Paula Hurd, the widow of former Oracle CEO Mark Hurd.

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