Bill and Melinda Gates used their 10th annual letter to answer tough questions about their work at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation - and to defend funding for health work and global aid, just a day after President Donald Trump's budget proposed slashing resources to these areas.
Melinda, however, was more scathing in her criticism of President Trump himself.
Bill and Melinda's new Q/A session is a bit heavier and more philosophical than other outreach endeavors we've seen such as Bill's AMA's or secret Santa interactions. "It's more the specific comments he's made over and over again about specific people or minorities or women that just do not reflect the values I see across the United States". "Cash-strapped school districts are more likely to divert money and talent toward ideas they think we will fund".
But for this year, the co-founders of the world's richest philanthropy have instead opted to answer a selection of critical and skeptical questions about the foundation's work and the power it wields. "We didn't think we'd have to explain things so strongly in that framework to maintain the USA generosity level", he said.
"The questions that we get from other people - they sharpen our focus and they help us hone what we're doing", Melinda Gates said in their office overlooking Lake Washington outside Seattle. "Equality is an important national principle", she wrote. "World leaders tend to take our phone calls seriously ..."
The Gateses say they're going in a less prescriptive direction on USA education by funding efforts through regional networks of schools, which will lean more heavily on educators at the local level.
Values are different from interests, Pearson said.
"Even before we got married, we talked about how we would eventually spend a lot of time on philanthropy", he wrote in the letter. Are we working with people on the ground? At the Foundation, it's computer science plus biology, chemistry, agronomy, and more. Millions of people give back by volunteering their time and donating money to help others.
In a 2014 Reddit "Ask Me Anything", Gates wrote that "a lot of our failures have been backing science that didn't work out". "I'll spend hours talking to a crop researcher or an HIV expert, and then I'll go home, dying to tell Melinda what I've learned".
(It's not always clear what's been successful and what hasn't, but our foundation team works hard to assess our impact, course correct and share lessons.) Although we've had some success in getting the world to pay more attention to health and extreme poverty, it would be hard to argue at this point that we made the world focus too much on them. But now it's impossible to imagine. By now the foundation's work has become inseparable from who we are.