The New York Times reports on the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's growing use of direct equity investments in companies whose work jibes with the philanthropy's key goals in medicine, education, and other areas. The $43.5 billion foundation has made about a dozen program-related investments in recent years, the largest being a $52 million stake it purchased last week in German biopharmaceutical firm CureVac.
The foundation now has $1.5 billion on hand for loans, equity investments, and volume guarantees, up from $400 million when it began the investment program in 2009. "The way I look at it is, we are trying to solve some pretty hard problems, and we need to bring everything to bear," Gates CEO Sue Desmond-Hellmann said. "If we don't involve private industry, we’re leaving out a powerful tool."