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A foundation states its case

January 14, 2007

Re "Gates Foundation to reassess investments," Jan. 11

In the recent coverage of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's investments, The Times implies that we have made secret investments. We have always been open about the investments we make. Every corporate stock and bond we invest in is listed on our public tax forms, which are posted on our website going back to 2002.

The stories you told of people who are suffering touched us all. But it is naive to suggest that an individual stockholder can stop that suffering. Changes in our investment practices would have little or no impact on these issues. While shareholder activism has worthwhile goals, we believe a much more direct way to help people is by making grants and working with other donors to improve health, reduce poverty and strengthen education.

Bill and Melinda Gates have always reviewed investments and will continue to do so. To explain our philosophy and clarify how we make decisions, we have posted a statement on our website, gatesfoundation.org.

PATTY STONESIFER

CEO, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Seattle

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