The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, and 15 other foundations, governments, and United Nations agencies announced today they would increase their support of family-planning programs by $2.6-billion in an effort to help an additional 120 million women gain access to contraception.
The Gates fund, whose co-founder, Melinda Gates, has made family planning her philanthropic priority, plans to double its annual giving for such programs to $140-million per year over the next eight years, to a total of $1.12-billion.
Bloomberg Philanthropies is committing $50-million to the effort.
This is New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's second big financial commitment to family planning. In February, after the Susan G. Komen for the Cure temporarily cut its support to Planned Parenthood, the mayor pledged to match up to $250,000 in gifts to the group.
The commitments were announced at the London Summit on Family Planning, which is co-hosted by the Gates foundation and the British government.
Organizers say the new financial commitments could result in 200,000 fewer women dying in pregnancy and childbirth, more than 110 million fewer pregnancies, and 50 million fewer abortions worldwide.
“When I travel and talk to women around the world, they tell me that access to contraceptives can often be the difference between life and death," Ms. Gates said in a statement. "Today is about listening to their voices, about meeting their aspirations, and giving them the power to create a better life for themselves and their families.”
Send an e-mail to Caroline Preston.